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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7405
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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When I met my husband in 1983, he was seperated from his wife

Resolved Question:

When I met my husband in 1983, he was seperated from his wife and living in his marital home with his two children. I was single with no children. The divorce was settled 1986 and my now husband bought out his wife's share of the house. One child moved back in with her, the other stayed at home. I then moved into the home. Verbal agreement was that, as the house was valued at £75K, the first £75K would belong to my husband and any equity thereafter would be between us. There was a small mortgage on the property circ £20K. We each worked full time and each paid towards the bills etc. We then married in 1999. Whilst I have lived in the house I have contributed towards a new kitchen and two new bathrooms and a new boiler etc due to the property requiring updating. My husband paid the mortgage which was fully settled approx 5 years ago and the house was valued at circ £200K at this time. We recently decided to make wills and my husband wanted to "protect" his childrens interest in the property (as the home was his ex-wifes childhood home and both children expressed interest in living there as adults). The lawyer advised my husband that the house deeds were in his name and that there was no legal requirement for me to be given a share of the property at all. The will was drawn up stating that I could remain in the house until the end of my days on the provision that I maintained the property and did not move anyone else in with me. This would be imposible for me as the house is very large and isolated and I would simply be unable to afford to stay there under these terms. My husband has not yet signed the will but now believes that I have absolutely no rights to any financial share in the property. This has made me feel very vulnerable and I worry about being homeless in my old age. What are my legal rights with regards XXXXX XXXXX share of this property?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 4 years ago.

Do you mean your right to a share in the property now whilst you are both alive?

Or after your husband has passed?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi Tom, Both whilst my husband is alive and after he has passed - but I supose after he has passed is more important.
Expert:  Thomas replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for your reply.

If you divorce then the value of the property would be included as part of the matrimonial asset pool over which you would seek a financial settlement. You would negotiate and possibly involved the Court in determining what is a fair financial settlement. There is presumption that you each have a 50% interest in the asset pool but this can be rebutted depending on a number of factors.

If you do not divorce and remain married then your rights over the house are limited.

If your husband executes this will and then passes away then you would get what the interest in the property that the Will granted you. If this is a life interest that you describe then you would be able to live in the property subject to the conditions. If you are not able to fulfil the conditions in the Will then this could cause problems potentially leading to litigation if the beneficiary dispute your right to a life interest on these grounds. You may consider asking your husband to change the conditions of your interest under the Will if you can forsee it causing problems.

Your husband is free to change his will at any time too, so there would be nothing stopping him (were he so minded) to execute another will without the life interest.

In the event of your husband passing away and not providing for you then you may be able to make a claim against the estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependent) Act 1976. You must make the application within 6 months of the date of the grant of probate in the estate and you will need a solicitor to do it for you.

The Court will consider what is a "reasonable financial provision" for you and will take a number of factors in to account in determining what is fair (eg. size of the estate, other claims, resources and needs of other family members/dependants, responsibilities the deceased had to you), each case turns on it's own facts and there are no hard and fast rules to work out what you are entitled to.

There is nothing you can really do prior to death to get him to alter his Will however, apart from appealing to him for a fair settlement for you.

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If you wish for me to provide you with further guidance on any question you may have in the future then please submit a further question to the board requesting me either by my profile or by marking your question. “FAO Tom”.

Kind regards,

Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7405
Experience: BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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