A widow has been allowed to claim against her husband’s estate 26 years after grant of probate

The case of Thakare v Bhusate [2020] sets a new landmark in the length of time Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (IPFDA) claims can be brought after death. The previous record of six years was set in 1994, and normally claims must be brought within six months.

Mr and Mrs Bhusate married in 1979 when the deceased was 61 and the widow was 28. The deceased was twice previously married and had five children. The couple went on to have one child before Mr Bhusate died without leaving a will. The case differed from many intestate cases because of the widow’s acrimonious relationship with her step-children, which left the estate ‘in limbo’, meaning 25 years passed after the claimant’s husband died without a will before she was able to claim from the estate.

While the facts of this case are extremely specific, the circumstances highlight the importance of writing a will. Many people still believe that their estate will default to their spouse if they die without a will, but this case goes to prove that this often not what happens in reality. In order to gain from her husband’s estate, Mrs Bhusate will have had to pay years of legal fees all of which will have been deducted from the estate, leaving less money for everyone entitled to a share.  

If you don’t have a will or your family circumstances have changed since you last made one, please get in touch with our Wills Trusts and Probate team on wills@mlplaw.co.uk or 0161 926 1592.