Elizabeth Adams v Julian James Lewis (Administrator of the Estate of Frank Adams dec): ChD 26 Jan 2001

The widow’s claim under the Act was contested by three daughters where the widow received a specific legacy and the will gave trustees a power to apply any part of the residue during the lifetime of the widow to provide and maintain a suitable residence. The court reduced the specific legacy and made an order transferring the matrimonial home to the widow absolutely, thereby awarding her approximately one half of the value of the estate. The marriage had been very long, and the assets held in the husband’s name.
Held: Whilst the amount the claimant would have received on a divorce was only one factor, it can be a most important one. Too great a concentration on deeds and resources blurs the distinction between sections 1(2)(a) and (b). Having noted that there were sufficient assets in the estate to have provided for both parties on a divorce and that on divorce the court would have been looking for a clean break and that the case did not involve inherited assets there was stated to be no apparent reason why the court should depart from an equal division of the assets. It was stated that whether the divorce court would have awarded the applicant the matrimonial home or whether it would have sought to achieve equal division by some different route would have depended upon the needs and wishes of the parties.


John Behrens


Unreported, 26 January 2001, (2001) WTLR 493


Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 1(2)(a) 1(2)(b)


England and Wales


ApprovedRe Besterman, decd CA 1984
In the case of an application under the Act by a surviving spouse, maintenance is not the only, or even the dominant, consideration to be taken into account by the court. ‘In an application under section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 the . .
CitedStead v Stead 1985
The court declined to award a widow a large capital sum from her husband’s estate. . .
CitedWhite v White HL 26-Oct-2000
The couple going through the divorce each had substantial farms and wished to continue farming. It had been a long marriage.
Held: Where a division of the assets of a family would satisfy the reasonable needs of either party on an ancillary . .

Cited by:

CitedMoorhead v Moorhead ChNI 11-Jan-2002
The deceased’s widow complained that her husband’s will had not made proper provision for her as was required by the order which ‘ In the case of a spouse reasonable financial provision means such financial provision as it would be reasonable in all . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Family, Wills and Probate

Updated: 16 May 2022; Ref: scu.213640