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Harris, Family Law Expert
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
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Evening,I have a friend who's a Thai lady that came to the

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Evening,I have a friend who's a Thai lady that came to the UK around 2006 marrying a British gentleman. This husband died October 2015.The husband left a will dated 2006 in which he leaves the wife £50,000 and the remainder to his (sole) son. The son is the executor of the will. The estate amounts to some £480,000 with £380,000 being the value of the marital home.My question: I though a long-standing marriage would imply an equal share of all assets between spouse and husband, but the son as executor seems to be leaving the wife just the amount specified in the will.Should the total assets of £480,000 actually be viewed as £240,000 belonging to the wife and £240,000 to the deceased's estate?If so, what should she do now to contest the son's "execution" of the will?Thank you!
Hi, thank you for your question. Unfortunately, it is not the case that in a long-standing marriage there is implied equal share of all assets between spouses. I think you have this confused with what would happen in the event of divorce, where there is a starting point of a 50-50 split of all matrimonial assets. As long as the will meets the meets the following general criteria, it will be held as valid:made by a person who is 18 years old or over; andmade voluntarily and without pressure from any other person; andmade by a person who is of sound mind. This means the person must be fully aware of the nature of the document being written or signed and aware of the property and the identify of the people who may inherit; andin writing; andsigned by the person making the will in the presence of two witnesses; andsigned by the two witnesses, in the presence of the person making the will, after it has been signed. A witness or the married partner of a witness cannot benefit from a will. If a witness is a beneficiary (or the married partner or civil partner of a beneficiary), the will is still valid but the beneficiary will not be able to inherit under the will.The husband is free to leave whatever he wants to any persons in his will. However, his wife can pursue an application to court if she feels that there was not sufficient provided for in the will, especially if she was dependant on him during the marriage. This is complex area of law and she will need representation to pursue this application. There are strict time limits for this - and she must pursue an application within 6 months of grant of probate or letter of administration has been issued.Please provide a positive rating if you found this information helpful. I will not be credited with answering this question without a positive rating. Thank you
Harris, Family Law Expert
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 2851
Experience: Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
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HiJust to add to the above your friend has an excellent case under the Inheritance )Provision for Family and Dependents) Act to have a much larger share of the estateMore information here
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I forgot to mention that the marital home was obviously in the deceased husband's sole name.So it is/was "his".My intuitive "issue" is that on a *divorce*, as far as I can google, even if assets are in one person's name this can be altered such that the other party might be entitled to more than what he/she legally owns. And my mention of a 50/50 split (or things approaching this) was from reading about what happens when a long standing marriage dissolves by divorce.So it would seem logical that dissolving the marriage by death would have similar implications from an asset-split point of view? Why is this different?Secondary question - the son may be quite uncommunicative (or the Thai lady's command of English may be to blame). But how can we check what is the date of the grant of probate?Tertiary question: the husband seems to have made some further documents after the will - granting more to the wife. As I can understand, the son says these have not "been accepted" by the court. Is there a requirement for wills / supplementary documents / variations to be registered or otherwise made official in order for them to be considered?
Thanks - my colleague has pointed you in the direction of some further information which would be useful - it is correct that if there has not been adequate provision in the will, she can pursue an application to court to contest this as a spouse and the criteria the court will look at is similar to the distribution of assets on divorce. The grant of probate will be issued here: In relation to the further documents, as long as this was ratified in the formal way as with a will, then it will be valid.