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Kasare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1301
Experience:  Solicitor, 10 yrs plus experience in civil litigation, employment and family law
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My first marriage was dissolved and made final 4th Oct' 1963,

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My first marriage was dissolved and made final 4th Oct' 1963, due to my adultery with woman unknown. Because of this I gave everything from the marriage, including all money (little though it was) house and all contents plus family car to my ex- wife.
On 26th Sept' 1963 I was ordered to pay £2 per week maintenance during our joint lives. Which I still pay as an annual amount. Plus £2.50 per week for each of two children, which ceased at age 16
I remarried to my present wife on 2nd Dec' 1964. and we had our 50th wedding anniversary Dec' 2014.
My question is in the event of my death could my first wife have any kind of legal claim on my estate in any sort or form?
My wife and I have made a will in each others favour which is still current.
Apologies for length of question.
Kind regards
Good afternoon John, thank you for your question, I will assist you with this.
Has your first wife ever remarried or cohabited with anyone?
Are you still paying this maintenance to your ex wife? Have you not sought to amend/cancel this order/payment given that you were obviously married to your first wife for such a short period of time?
Can you confirm you live in England/Wales?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello Kasare

No she has never remarried as far as I know. I don't know whether

she has cohabited with anyone due to complete lack of contact.

Yes I am still paying this maintenance on a yearly basis. No I have never sought to amend/cancel payment at any time.

yes I live in England.

Hi John
Your ex wife can make a claim against your Estate under the Inheritance Act (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (the Inheritance Act) for as long as she has the benefit of her spousal maintenance payments. If her maintenance order were to come to an end then the ability to claim against your estate also comes to an end.
She would only be eligible to bring a claim provided she had not subsequently marriage or entered into a civil partnership.
I am presuming that the agreed consent order (those many years ago) did not dismiss her claims under the Inheritance Act?
If your ex did try to make a claim against your estate, she would need to demonstrate that the Will failed to meet reasonable financial provision for her and she would need to commence the claim within 6 months from the date of the Grant of Probate. If she failed to meet this deadline, then she would have to apply to the Court for permission to make a claim.
She will only be able to make a claim against your estate provided you were domiciled in England and Wales at the date of the death.
If she were to to put forward a successful claim, the Court will grant her “reasonable financial provision” from the Estate. In the case of a former spouse, reasonable provision is likely to be limited to the maintenance previously ordered and paid.
I hope this assists.
hi John
Is there anything else I can assist you with on this matter? If not, please do not forget to accept or rate my answer (positively always preferred!) as I will not receive credit for my answer otherwise.
Many thanks and best wishes
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Kasare

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Kasare, thanks for the information received, there are a couple of points of which I am unsure.

What exactly is the agreed consent order you mention?

What would be considered a reasonable financial provision that I am supposed to make, especially after 50 plus years has elapsed?

What would be considered a reasonable provision relative to the maintenance previously ordered and paid ?

Hi John
The "consent order" may have been given another name many years ago, it was essentially the court order with the agreement of the financial aspects of your divorce.
To be honest, given the size of the maintenance awarded, it is unlikely that your ex wife would make an application against your estate as it would cost her much more than she would potentially gain, but it is a possibility.
The reasonable financial provision is, as I said previously, likely to be limited to the amount of annual maintenance you continue to pay.
You could make an application to the Court to vary the current order - to set it aside so you no longer have to pay anything to her and therefore she would not be able to claim from your estate upon your death. Obviously there are costs involved in making this application and only you could decide if you think it is worth it (i.e. if you think she would make a claim on your estate).
If you did not want to make a court application, but you wanted to prevent any potential claim made by her then you could consider making a payment from your estate - as a codicil to your will - of the annual maintenance sum for a period of x years (I dont know how old she is or details of her health) - but essentially this would be a lump sum payment of the annual payment times say for example 5 or 10 years (i.e. £520 or £1040). Alternatively you could contact her in writing asking if she would be agreeable to a lump sum payment now in full and final settlement of all and any claims she would have in respect of maintenance against you/your estate. If she were to agree, you should ask her to sign the letter confirming her agreement.
Does that assist?
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