Q: My husband and I divorced several years ago. I continued living in the marital home, he went to live with his now wife. Recently he died, but it seems he did not make a new Will after we divorced, and his widow wants me out of my home so that she can sell it. How can this be when we had mirrored Wills, leaving the marital home to each other?
A: When your ex-husband remarried his previous Will would have been fully revoked. With no new Will being drawn up since then, he would have died intestate.
You do not say whether your ex-husband had any children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren. If he did, under the rules of intestacy his new wife will inherit up to £270,000 of his assets, plus all his personal possessions whatever their value, and half the remaining estate. The other half of his remaining estate would be shared between his children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren. If there are no children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren, his new wife will inherit his entire estate. Any jointly held assets would pass automatically to the surviving joint owner, so you should check who owned the property you live in and how the property itself was held.
An ex-wife cannot inherit under the rules of intestacy, but if your house was in joint names, i.e. held as joint tenants, then it passes to you outright as the surviving joint owner. If the property was held by you and your ex-husband as tenants in common, then you will own half and his half will fall into his estate and be divided in line with the rules of intestacy. If he held the property in his sole name, then it would form part of his estate and follow the rules of intestacy.
As your situation is not particularly clear, the advice of a solicitor should be sought to help you navigate through the various issues.
This question has been answered by Ulia Choudhry, a Solicitor with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194