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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 7617
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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My uncle passed away suddenly a few months back. Unfortunately

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My uncle passed away suddenly a few months back. Unfortunately he never made a Will. He was married for 2 years and seperated for the last 10, no children involved but never legally divorced. When they seperated they agreed a settlement in writing which we have now been told does not count as a Will was never made and in the eyes of the law she is still his legal next of kin. His success came after their seperation and we as his family do not feel she morally has any entitlement to his estate. We have also been informed that we do not have any grounds to contest her entitlement. She has a common law partner of 5 years. Do we have any rights in this situation as we are a very close family and it would destroy my uncles siblings to see her swallow up his success and legacy?



Thanks for your question.


The basic position is that if he did not make a Will then his estate would pass according to the intestacy rules which would mean that his wife would inherit his estate.


An inheritance can be contested under Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependent) Act 1976. The application must be made 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 difficulty is that if you/other family members were not dependent on your uncle to maintain you/them and that you need a provision to be made then it is not advisable to attempt to make a claim under the Act


The Court would consider what is a "reasonable financial provision" for the dependent claiming and would ll 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 a person would be entitled to.


On the facts, if there are no genuine members of the family who were depednent on your uncle then an attempt to make a claim under the act would not be advisable. Given that the situation is manifestly unfair I would suggest phoning a local contentious probate solicitor and asking for a fixed fee appointmentand getting some specificy advice from them on the merits of any possible claim after coming to a view on whether any of you were depednent on him to any extent. That said, I would steel yourself for a negative response.


I am very sorry that it could not be better news, it's an appalling situation by the sounds of it.


If this is useful please kindly click accept so that I may be rewarded for my time. It will be gratefully received and you will be free to ask follow up questions.

Kind regards,



Thomas and other UK Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Thank you- I half expected that response but it was good to get a second opinion. It is an unfortunate situation and I appreciate your sympathetic approach.


Many Thanks

Hi Donna,


Thank you for your very kind accept. As I say, I would still take specific advice, preferably on a free half hour appointment or otherwise for a fixed fee.


Good luck.


Kind regards,



Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Thank you I'll look in to that.


Kind Regards


You're welcome.