How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Jo C. Your Own Question
Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71053
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
Type Your Law Question Here...
Jo C. is online now

if a will says that that the family home is to be sold after

This answer was rated:

if a will says that that the family home is to be sold after death as soon as is reasonable (not sure of precise wording ), to provide an inheritance for the children of the first marriage, what rights does the widow (second marriage ) have in terms of staying put in the house for a long time ?
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
How long was the widow of the 2nd marriage married to the deceased?
Does the will say anything about her living in the house?
Is that housing joint names or the deceased's sole name?
What other provisions has the deceased made for his 2nd wife?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I wish I had the exact wording of the will to hand, but this is very early days and I'm trying to get some idea of the position - I do realise it's not easy without detail.

q1. 7 months

q2. I believe ,for a short period to ready the house for sale

q3.I believe, in the deceased's name

q4 his share in their joint business, plus about £40,000 for the upkeep of the house until sale point.

How long was the 2nd widow with the deceased before they actually got married?
How much is his share in the joint business worth?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

q1. 10 yrs

q2. no idea - £300,000 ??

not sure this is worth pursuing, as I have so little precise information - what do you think ?

What is your interest? Are you the 2nd widow?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

yes, I am, but my interest is for my two children, who unsurprisingly wd be very pleased to receive their 50% each share of the house sale sooner rather than later.

I gather that in the will, there is a statement that the widow may stay in the house ' as long as she wants', but there is also a letter of wishes in which the deceased states that the house sale shd be as soon as is reasonable. I wd have thought that these rather cancel each other out - no ?

I don't think anyone expected the widow wd want to still be in residence a year further on, which seems to be her present intention.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

sorry, I meant to say I am the divorced ex-wife , enquiring for my children.

Thank you.
Unfortunately, for your children at least, the letter of wishes is not a legal document. It is just what it says and it is the wording of the will which applies. In that case, if the widow wants to stay in the property until she dies, she is entitled to do so.
If the widow (having been with her husband prior to marriage for 10 years) had not been left the house and sufficient monies in the will she could have brought a claim under the Inheritance Provision for Family and Dependents Act.
The children are still able to do that if they would reasonably have expected something in the will and were dependent on their father. It is not easy however to dispute a will where everything has been left to a spouse.
I'm sorry if this is bad news for you.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

one last point - although socially they were a couple, the widow was not resident in the property until a year ago, since she was and is the owner of her own house in a nearby city. I'm not sure what 'being together' is defined as in this situation.

I think I'm clutching at straws here.

It doesn't make any difference I am afraid because the will is quite clear and does grant her the right to live in the property.
It would be possible for the children to dispute the well if they think that either your ex-husband did not have mental capacity to do the will or that he was under some kind of undue influence.
Contested probate is not cheap and it could easily cost tens of thousand pounds if the challenge is unsuccessful.
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you