Where There’s a Will…

Q When my husband got divorced in 2012, he made a will leaving everything to his two sons by his previous marriage. I have been married to him for 18 months after living with him for 3 years. My husband suffers from heart disease and I am concerned that he has not made a new will. If anything were to happen to him, would his two sons be able to claim our house, and would I be evicted?

A No, they would not be able to automatically claim the house and evict you. Once you get married, any will that your husband previously made is then cancelled. The only exception is where the will was clearly made, “in contemplation of marriage” so that the intended spouse was taken into consideration. So (assuming that your husband’s earlier will was not made in contemplation of marriage to you), your husband’s will would be invalid should anything happen to him. His estate would be divided as if he had never made a will and under these rules, you would receive the first £250,000 of his estate and a life interest in half the remainder.

You do need to be aware however, that if his children are still dependent, it may be possible for them or their mother to make a claim on their behalf, if this does not leave them with reasonable maintenance provision. Given that this uncertainty is far from ideal, you should discuss your feelings of vulnerability with your husband.

I would recommend that you consider first of all transferring the house into joint names and secondly, that you make mutual wills. It would still be possible for his share in the house to be left to his children by way of a tenancy in common. This is something which you should discuss with a solicitor.

Please contact us if you would like more information about these issues or any aspect of family law on 01656 645525 or family@berrysmith.com