07 January 2019

The Dispute Resolution department at Battens have recently successfully concluded a case on behalf of an ex-husband against his late wife’s estate. That may seem surprising, but it is possible for divorced people to claim money from the estate of their deceased former spouses.

The ex-husband had been happily married to his wife for many years. However, their relationship broke down and they formed new relationships with other people. Several years went by and the wife decided that she wanted to bring her marriage to an end formally.

Divorce proceedings were commenced and the parties entered into negotiations with a view to dividing their assets between them. Unsurprisingly, they disagreed as to who should receive what from their combined pot.

A decree absolute was pronounced, ending the couple’s marriage, but the wife sadly died the very next day. The couple’s financial claims against one another had not been finalised though, meaning that their assets had not been divided by the Court.

Consequently, the husband was unable to claim a share of the marital assets, because the wife had left everything to her new partner in her Will. The husband was therefore left without the assets he would have been entitled to had the wife not passed away so soon.

The husband was short of money and sought a financial settlement from his deceased ex-wife’s estate. Her partner, who was the executor of the deceased ex-wife’s Will, refused to make an equitable settlement.

The husband issued proceedings to claim money from the estate of the deceased, and the partner’s solicitors put up a stern fight, arguing the wrong law for several years.

How we helped:

The husband sought the advice of Battens’ Inheritance and Probate Dispute Services. Peter Livingstone identified the correct legal analysis and were able to negotiate a settlement giving the husband the financial security he should have had.

For any queries about this case study, or to speak to a specialist solicitor please call Peter Livingstone on 01935 846235 or visit our Inheritance and Probate Dispute Services page.