How to challenge your husband’s will

Can I challenge my husband’s will?

Contentious probate lawyer Naomi Ireson answers the question, ‘Can I challenge my husband’s will?’ 

Many married couples make what are known as ‘mirror wills’. In a mirror will each spouse makes financial provision for the other when the first spouse passes away.

Because mirror wills are designed specifically with this purpose in mind it is rare for them to lead to a dispute breaking out when one of the spouses passes away.

However, not all couples make mirror wills. Some spouses make their own arrangements, quite independent of their other half. This can lead to problems occurring when that spouse passes as there is a real risk that it can leave the survivor without sufficient financial provision from their estate.

While husbands can lose out if their wife’s will fails to provide for them, the majority of these cases involve wives wishing to challenge their husband’s will.

So, can a wife challenge their husband’s will? The simple answer is ‘yes, they can’. And for that matter, a husband can also challenge his wife’s will.

On what grounds can I challenge my husband’s will?

A wife can either challenge the validity of their husband’s will or make a claim under the Inheritance Act.

While they are two very different legal approaches, in certain circumstances you may be able to pursue both actions in parallel.

How do I challenge the validity of my husband’s will?

If you want to challenge your husband’s will on the basis that it is invalid then you can look at factors such as whether your husband had the required mental capacity to make the Will; whether he was coerced into making it; or whether he simply did not understand that he was making a will. Whatever the circumstances of the invalidity challenge, we would be happy to help.

Making an Inheritance Act claim against my husband’s estate

It may be that your husband’s will is valid but any money and assets left to you as his spouse in that will are not sufficient for you. In this case a claim under the Inheritance Act can be considered.

The Inheritance Act can allow you to make a claim against your husband’s estate even if you were divorced from him when he died, providing you have not remarried.

When a wife brings a claim for financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 they are likely to be treated generously by the courts. Any claim under the Inheritance Act is not limited to what you need from your husband’s estate. You will be claiming a sum which is reasonable for you to receive from your husband’s estate. A 50/50 division of assets is very common, but not always applicable in every situation, so it is important to seek specialist legal advice.

What will it cost to challenge my husband’s will?

Legal costs are dependent upon the type of claim that is being brought, the complexity of the evidence and whether or not the claim is contested. It is therefore very difficult to say with any certainty what it will cost to challenge your husband’s will without knowing the details of the case. However, we will be happy to consider the specific facts of your case and provide you with guidance on what it is likely to cost to challenge your husband’s will.

What are the funding options?

There are a number of funding options that are open to you in addition to the standard hourly rate, ‘private client’ funding arrangement. For instance if you are due to receive some money from the estate then we can work on a deferred basis so that you only have to pay the legal costs when you receive your legacy. Where the case is a strong one then we are likely to be able to work on a No Win, No Fee basis.

If you are successful in challenging your husband’s will then the court may order that his estate pays your legal costs in addition to making the financial provision claimed.

How do I go about making a challenge?

We are regularly instructed by wives who need to bring a claim against their husband’s estate and have achieved excellent results.

We offer a free case assessment service, so all you need to do to start the ball rolling is to give us a summary of the details of your case.

You can do this by sending an email to us at [email protected] or by calling our free legal helpline on 0333 888 0407.

How to challenge your husband’s will