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Deceased man’s bank account frozen due to family dispute

A court has ordered that a deceased man’s bank account should be frozen because of a family dispute over his estate.

The case involved a man who had died intestate, that is, without having made a will. His bank accounts containing £500,000 were closed down by his eldest son, from his first marriage.

The man’s second wife then contacted the eldest son to discuss how the money in the accounts was to be divided. However, he disputed the authenticity of her marriage to his father, leaving her to fear that she and her four sons would receive little or none of the estate.

She asked the court to freeze her husband’s bank accounts until she could begin legal proceedings to assert her right to inherit.

The court ruled in her favour, saying that she had a good arguable case that she and her sons were entitled to a share of the estate. The fact that the eldest son had questioned the validity of her marriage suggested that he might try to put the money beyond her reach.

In those circumstances, it was right to grant a freezing injunction to prevent any dissipation or secretion of the money that had been held in the accounts. This was conditional on the wife giving various undertakings in relation to issuing a claim and completing witness statements.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of wills and probate.