Old will and a new partner, classic recipe for an inheritance dispute

Posted on: November 23rd, 2017

Inheritance disputes continue to make good press because more often than not they are laced with headline suggestions of rather grubby money grabbing entitlement.

Another such dispute was picked up by The Sun on 10 November involving a £1m estate.

The deceased, made a will many years ago which left his estate to his two daughters. It is reported that the claimant subsequently met the deceased and claims that they lived as man and wife for 7 years. The so called common law wife.

The legal basis for such common law wife claims is that the couple lived together in the same household as man and wife for two years before death or where residence is disputed, that they were being maintained by the deceased.

The daughters say that the claimant was not special to their dad and in fact he was a ladies’ man with a string of girlfriends. It may seem rather odd portraying your deceased father in these critical terms but, if accepted by the court, that characterisation is likely to defeat the claimant’s case.

This report is a reminder of the importance of keeping your will reviewed from time to time so that it reflects your current position, rather than that decades before, which may have been very different.

Chris Gambs is an Associate Solicitor in the Inheritance and Wills Disputes team. Chris can be contacted on 023 9236 4951 or chrisgambs@coffinmew.co.uk