Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Go-ahead given to challenge mother-in-law's will

A divorced husband has been given permission to challenge his former mother-in-law’s will, and a Telford solicitor has welcomed the decision.

Mohammed Ahsan, of Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford, said the ruling by the Court of Appeal was a fair and just result.

The case involved a divorced husband who wanted to challenge the will as he claimed it had been forged in a bid to thwart the findings of his divorce proceedings.

“As part of their divorce settlement, the man’s wife had agreed that if she inherited more than £100,000 from her mother, anything over the £100,000 would be split equally between them.

“But after the mother died, she left £100,000 to the man’s wife, and the balance of the estate (around £150,000) was left to the wife’s children.”

When the husband initially tried to challenge the will, the courts ruled that the husband had no right to put in a claim.

And in the Court of Appeal, the wife’s solicitor said the only people who could challenge a will were those who had the right to administer the estate. But since the husband was not an executor and was not entitled to a share, he was not able to bring the claim.

“But the court said that cases like this must be dealt with justly and that the husband should be able to bring a probate claim to have the will dismissed,” said Ahsan.

“He said that if the case had been a general legal matter, rather than a probate case, it would have been obvious the husband would have had a right to make the claim. The judge said the man was not a mere busybody and that he had a real interest in challenging the validity of the will.

“The court said it would have been highly unjust if, for example, a will had been forged in an attempt to get round an order made as part of divorce proceedings, that the person affected could not challenge the will.

“It’s clear in this case that the husband can now press ahead with challenging the will in order to try to secure the payout he believes is rightfully his – a victory for common sense and a case that will be interesting to follow as it progresses.”