My dad left everything to his second wife

Is there anything I can do if my dad left everything to his second wife?

When making a Will in England and Wales we are all free to choose to leave our estate to whoever we wish. Unlike some countries, there is no legal obligation to provide for any particular family member or loved one. This is known in law as ‘testamentary freedom’.

However, if your dad left everything to his second wife, or your mum left her entire estate  to a new husband, legal options may be available to you under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

The Inheritance Act allows a disinherited child to bring a claim against their parent’s estate on the basis that they are in need of reasonable financial provision.

When considering an Inheritance Act claim, the court will take into consideration a number of factors, including the following:

  • The financial needs and resources of the child or children making the claim, both now and in the future;
  • The financial needs and resources which any other applicant or beneficiary has, now or in the future;
  • Any obligations and responsibilities which the deceased had towards the applicant or any other beneficiary;
  • The size and nature of the estate;
  • Any disabilities of any applicant or beneficiary of the estate; and
  • Any other matter, including the conduct of the applicant or other relevant persons.

The Court will also consider the relationship between you and your father or mother. If you have been estranged from them, then this is not a bar to bringing an Inheritance Act claim, but it is a factor which will be taken into account.

If a successful claim is brought under the Inheritance Act the Court may make a number of awards, including a lump sum, periodic payments, a lifetime right to live in a property, or transferring a property.

However, it is important to act quickly if you wish to make a claim as there are time limits.

How we can help

If you wish to bring an Inheritance Act claim then call our free helpline for a case assessment and details of no win, no fee funding. Call 0333 888 0409 or email us at [email protected] 

My dad left everything to his second wife