A widow who was excluded from inheriting her husband’s £500,000 estate, under the terms of a will he made four years before he died in 2009, has contested the will, alleging that the brain tumour from which her husband was suffering meant that he lacked the mental capacity to create a valid will.
The couple had married in 1991 and separated in 2003. In 2005, the husband wrote a new will, which left his assets to various family members. As well as challenging the validity of the new will, his 61-year-old widow is also claiming that provision should be made for her out of the estate.
As is always the case in such disputes, the two sides gave widely varying accounts of the circumstances. The woman claimed that her relationship with her late husband was not fully over and that he had promised her that he would leave her the matrimonial home. Her husband’s relatives claimed that the marriage was over and that his unhappiness with his wife’s behaviour was the reason why he had changed his will.
The case will go to a full hearing later in the year.
A dependant of a deceased person can make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 for financial provision to be made for them if a will fails to do so. Recently, decisions by the courts have led to sums being provided under the Act for people whose ‘dependence’ on the deceased seems limited indeed.