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Are you entitled to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (Inheritance Act)?

Under certain circumstances a Will can be challenged where the testator fails to make adequate provision for e.g. a spouse or partner.
In the case of Martin v Williams, the widow of Mr Martin succeeded in her appeal against an award which was made in favour of her deceased husband’s long term partner. The High Court decided that the widow was entitled to a life interest in her deceased husband’s half share of property.

Mr and Mrs Martin were still married at the time of Mr Martin’s death, but were separated with Mr Martin living with his partner for many years. He owned the property they lived in as tenants in common in equal shares. Mr Martin’s share would have automatically passed to Mrs Martin on his death, however his partner made a successful inheritance claim and was awarded the 50% share.

Mr Martin had a will and left his residuary estate to Mrs Martin, but Mrs Martin appealed the decision to give the 50% share in the property to Mr Martin’s partner.

The Court allowed the appeal based on the facts and the incorrectly assessed monetary position of the partner. It was held that Mrs Martin would have the 50% share in the property, with the partner being given a ‘life interest’ in the same so that Mrs Martin could not sell without her consent and render the partner destitute.

For advice on wills please contact director Graeme Perry in our Tax & Private Client department.