fbpx

High Court Aids Widow Left in Precarious Position by Husband's Death

7th January 2022 By

If someone on whom you depended for support has died without making reasonable financial provision for you, you should consult a solicitor without delay. In a case on point, the High Court came to the aid of a widow who was left largely reliant on benefits following her husband’s death.

Prior to his death, the husband made a will bequeathing the whole of his estate to his widow. Their matrimonial home was, however, owned equally by the husband and one of his brothers as joint tenants. When the husband died, his interest in the property fell outside his estate and passed to his brother automatically under the principle of survivorship. As a result, the brother became the property’s sole owner and no part of it passed to the widow.

The widow and her child remained living in the property, but their position was precarious. Although she had inherited a modest investment property from her husband, it was subject to a substantial mortgage and she needed the rental income it generated to cover its costs. She testified that she had few other resources and was otherwise dependent on benefits.

After she launched proceedings under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, the Court found that the husband had failed to make reasonable provision for her as his financial dependant. The most obvious and primary claim on his estate was to provide for his wife and child and, in particular, to ensure that they had a home to live in.

The Court directed that the husband’s half share of the matrimonial home should revert to his estate to the extent necessary to yield a cash sum of £80,000 that would be paid to his widow. That would be sufficient to discharge the mortgage on the investment property, leaving it free for occupation by the widow and her child.

If she was unable to take on paid work, the widow’s dependence on benefits was likely to continue. However, the Court noted that its order would improve her position in rendering her the unencumbered owner of the investment property. The Court hoped that its ruling would alleviate friction between the widow and members of the husband’s family.

Source: Concious

Latest News

Challenge to Will's Validity Rejected by High Court

12th April, 2024 By

The best way to ensure your assets will be distributed as you wish is to have your will professionally drafted by a qualified solicitor. In a recent case, a challenge to the validity of an elderly man's will was dismissed by the High Court. The man had previously made a will in 2011, leaving most of his estate equally to his three children. In 2018, by which time one of his sons had predeceased him, he made a further will, leaving the residue of his estate to his other son...

Defiance of Family Court Orders Will Always End Badly

10th April, 2024 By

Custodial sentences very rarely come into play in the family courts. Where there have been repeated breaches of court orders, however, judges may have little choice but to clamp down. This was illustrated in the High Court during committal proceedings that stemmed from a child custody dispute. The background to the case involved contested proceedings between the father and mother of a young child. These concluded with a court order establishing that the child – a daughter – would live with the mother. Three months later the daughter travelled with...

Claim for SDLT Relief on Annex Unsuccessful

8th April, 2024 By

When buying a property consisting of more than one residence, it may be possible to claim multiple dwellings relief (MDR) against Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). However, there are certain conditions that must be met for an MDR claim to succeed, as a recent case illustrates. A property was purchased for £1.8 million. Prior to the purchase, the buyer had agreed with the seller that he would be allowed to carry out works to construct a self-contained annex at the property. The buyer's SDLT return included a claim for MDR...

Divorce – Alleged Bigamy Raised in Financial Remedies Dispute

5th April, 2024 By

The issue of bigamy and its potential impact on a person's ability to seek financial remedies in a divorce came under the legal spotlight recently. A husband made an application to strike out his wife's financial remedies claim on the basis that she had committed bigamy and deceived him into a marriage when she knew she was not free to marry. This deceit, he claimed, was so egregious that, as a matter of public policy, she should be debarred from pursuing any claim for financial remedies against him. The husband based...