Divorced husband allowed to challenge former mother-in-law’s will
A divorced husband has been given permission by the Court of Appeal to challenge the will of his former mother-in-law.
The issue arose out of the divorce settlement between Colin Randall and his former wife Hilary. Mrs Randall had agreed that if she inherited anything from her mother, she would keep the first £100,000 and share the remainder equally with Mr Randall.
However, when the mother died several years later, her will showed that she left exactly £100,000 to Mrs Randall and the remaining £150,000 was left to Mrs Randall’s children.
Mr Randall began legal proceedings but was told he did not have sufficient interest in the will to mount a challenge.
However, the Court of Appeal has now ruled in his favour and given him permission to proceed.
Lord Dyson said it was an essential part of legal proceedings to deal with cases justly and that “justice in the general sense requires the husband to bring a probate claim to set aside the will”.
Lord Justice McCombe said: ‘It appears to me to be highly unjust that if, in circumstances similar to the present, a will had been forged in an attempt to defeat an order made in divorce proceedings, the party affected could not challenge the validity of the will in probate proceedings.”
We shall keep clients informed of developments.
Please contact Meg Wilton if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of wills and probate.