Divorced husband granted permission to challenge former mother-in-law's Will

Published: 9th June 2016

A divorced husband who questioned the validity of his former mother-in-law's Will has been granted permission to challenge the Will by the Court of Appeal.

The Will, which left the divorced husband with nothing from his former mother-in-law's estate, has come into question as the husband believes it has been intentionally worded in such a way so that it breaches an order made during his and his former partner’s divorce settlement.

As part of the divorce settlement, the ex-wife had agreed to split equally any money inherited over the sum of £100,000 with her ex-husband. However, when her mother passed away, her Will left the ex-wife exactly £100,000 and the remaining assets, totalling £150,000, were left to her children.

The Litigator working on behalf of the wife dismissed her ex-husband's claims, saying that her ex-husband didn't have sufficient interest in the Will and had no right to administer her estate so therefore had no standing to challenge its validity.

However, Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson said that 'justice in the general sense requires the husband to bring a probate claim to set aside the Will'.

He also added: 'If this claim did not fall within the probate jurisdiction but fell within the general jurisdiction of the court, it is obvious that [the husband] would have a sufficient interest in the subject matter of this litigation to bring the claim. He is not a mere busybody. He has a real interest in challenging the validity of the will.'

Lord Justice McCombe and Lady Justice King also agreed, with Lord Justice McCombe saying: ‘It appears to me to be highly unjust that if, in circumstances similar to the present, a Will had been forged in an attempt to defeat an order made in divorce proceedings, the party affected could not challenge the validity of the will in probate proceedings.’

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