When can you challenge a will? How a will can be contested.
The idea of a will is that you can decide who inherits after you’ve died, but there are – limited – circumstances in which it can be challenged.

It seems that a combination of the tough economic conditions and a rise in the number of second marriages and has meant that more people are willing to contest or challenge a will than before. But the process of challenging a will can be lengthy, emotionally draining at best (and incredibly divisive at worst) and expensive. And there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the financial benefit you believe you’re entitled to at the end of it.

Reasons why you can challenge a will
In the UK there are only limited circumstances when you can challenge a will. These are:

• Because the will is invalid. This can be for a variety of reasons, such as the person whose will it is (called the ‘testator’ in the jargon) was unduly influenced or coerced or because they did not have the mental ability to know what they were doing or because the will wasn’t signed or witnessed correctly.

SAVVY TIP: Most challenges using ‘undue influence’ as a reason are a result of concerns about a carer, neighbour or – sometimes – one family member putting pressure on the person. An increase in cases of dementia has seen a corresponding rise in the number of families challenging wills on the basis of a lack of mental capacity.

• Because a family member wasn’t provided for. Husbands, wives, civil partners, children and dependants can make a claim if they haven’t been left anything/enough in the will.

SAVVY TIP: In England and Wales, the Act that the challenge comes under is the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. In Scotland husbands, wives, civil partners and children have ‘legal rights’, which basically means they are entitled to a share in everything you own that’s not land or buildings no matter what is written in the will.

When do people contest a will?
There are lots of different situations when someone might challenge a will, but the kind of trigger events can be:

• Step families. Say a parent dies after a short second marriage and leaves everything to his wife, who in turn leaves it all to her children. This may mean his children with his first wife get nothing and they may challenge the will.

• Families that are not close (either geographically or emotionally). A parent may leave much or most of their assets to a carer, a neighbour, a charity or even the local restaurant. Family members may suspect she or he has been put under pressure to do so.

SAVVY TIP: Paula James, a partner with law firm Thomas Eggar, says that an elderly person who relies on a carer or his/her neighbours can – sometimes – be vulnerable. “I’ve known cases where someone has been worried that their neighbour or carer will stop coming round if they don’t leave them something in their will. Sometimes they want to leave them some money, at other times they’ll come under pressure to do so.”

Who can make a claim?
While a number of family members have the right to challenge a will, there’s no guarantee that you’ll succeed.

• If you’re a husband/wife or civil partner. If your husband/wife/civil partner left all their money to charity or someone outside the family, the courts could intervene if they thought you hadn’t been provided for.

• If you’re a young child. A judge could rewrite the will if a dependent child wasn’t being provided for.

SAVVY TIP: These are the rules for England and Wales, in Scotland, 'legal rights' - as described above - apply.

• If you’re an adult son or daughter. You would have the right to bring a claim but (in England and Wales) you’d only succeed if you could show that you’d been dependent on your parent financially.

SAVVY TIP: Adult children with mental health problems or a mental disability who had been provided for by a parent while they were still alive would be able to make a claim, but an adult child with independent means would be unlikely to succeed.

Warning! Legal action can be expensive and time consuming
Taking legal action is never likely to be cheap, but the cost of contesting a will, particularly in England or Wales, can be hefty.

• The dispute may have a long history. Quite often the disagreements are not just about the will but are the culmination of a long-standing family feud. This means that it’s even harder to reach a settlement.

SAVVY TIP: A number of solicitors will encourage both sides to use mediation to settle disputes about wills (as it’s cheaper and can increase the chances of reaching an agreement), but not all families will use it.

• The law can seem unfair. Sometimes parents can favour one child or cut close family members out of the will altogether, but unless there’s a reason why they should be provided for, there may be little you can do.

SAVVY TIP: Paula James of Thomas Eggar says that some parents give a lot of money to one child throughout their adult life and then try to redress the balance in their will by leaving their money to the other child. "In fact, the child who's received money throughout their adult life has a very good chance of making a claim precisely because they've not been financially independent."

Related articles:

Complaining about a solicitor; when you can complain

Understanding lasting powers of attorney

How to pay less inheritance tax

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27-07-2010
13-01-2013
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Posted by Val dated 2010-08-05 07:18:38
My daughter and granchildren are adult and independent. Through a rift we have no contact. I would like to leave a small gift to my grandchildren, but would not want to give any cause for any of them to challenge the rest of my will, so is the gift a sensible thing to do? Thanks - Val
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2010-08-05 20:41:04
Hi Val, Thanks for your question. I'm going to forward it onto Nicola Plant, the wills and trusts expert. I'll add a comment here when the answer goes live (or include the comment, if there's space.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2010-08-10 22:02:14
Hi Val, Here's Nicola Plant's answer - I hope it's useful: Provided you are of sound mind you are free to leave your estate to whoever you wish. However, you cannot prevent certain categories of
individuals (usually dependants) from bringing a claim against your
estate in certain circumstances. Adult children and grandchildren would not automatically be entitled to or successful in a claim, but that wouldn't necessarily stop them from trying. Putting a gift in your will might be enough to stop this, but any attempt to make the gift conditional on them not bringing a claim would fail.
Posted by BUTTERFLY dated 2011-03-15 10:08:43
HELLO I HAVE BEEN WITH MY PARTNER FOR TWELVE YEARS WE ARE NOT MARRIED. HE MADE A WILL BEFORE HE MET ME AND ALL HIS ASSETS INCLUDING THE HOUSE IS LEFT TO HIS PARENTS. HE IS VERY LAZY WHEN IT COMES TO PAPER WORK AND NEVER GETS AROUND TO CHANGING HIS WILL. THIS WORRIES ME AS SINCE I HAVE BEEN HERE I HAVE PAID FOR EVERYTHING. ALL THE FURNITURE ALL DECOR THE FOOD THE BILLS ETC.I ALSO HAVE TWO CHILDREN WHICH I HAVE HAD TO SUPPORT ON MY OWN AS WELL. I WAS NOT ABLE TO CLAIM ANY BENEFITS AS THEY TAKE MY PARTNERS MONEY INTO CONSIDERATION ALTHOUGH HE DOES NOT GIVE ME ANY.WOULD I BE KICKED OUT THE HOUSE BY HIS PARENTS.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2011-05-08 23:31:47
Hi Butterfly. Thanks for your comment and huge apologies for missing it earlier. I'm afraid that unless your partner leaves a will saying that he wants you to have a share of the property, you have no rights to it. The only exception would be if you owned the property between you jointly and as joint tenants. From your comment I'm assuming that it's his house. If that's the case, he should draw up a will or you would not be entitled to a share in the property.

Apologies again for missing this comment and I hope the answer helps.
Posted by hoya6 dated 2012-06-27 17:38:09
my mum & her partner were together 27yrs he died & left a will he left her the house car & residue & some bequests to others.he had no family only 2 1st cousins in the usa.one had already died so his share is left to his 2 adult kids who were not dependent on the deceased.he didnt even know one of them & sent xmas cards to the other.they are saying my mum should only have a life interest as it is 'family' wealth,but the will was done by a solicitor & the deceased was a very organised financially,he also kept a lot of records detailing his worth & these people would not have inherited had their father not died can they dispute the will?
Posted by Miller dated 2013-01-27 23:14:25
I have lived with my partner in the house that i own for 13 years who died recently. He has amassed quite a wealth in the last 13 years. Maybe more so as he did not have any housing overheads as I paid for all the bills and food etc. Will i be able to contest the will if it was written over 20 years ago?
Posted by buckley dated 2013-02-06 14:53:34
I have two adult children. One lives abroad and the other abroad or wherever work is, spends some time with me. My will is for an equal share. Is there anything that the house not be sold so my second child has a place to come back to on and off. Put it in trust!
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-02-14 17:15:16
Hi Buckley, Thanks for your question and sorry for the slight delay in replying. Could you give me some more detail about your situation. Would you be able to divide your estate in two without the house being sold? I'll try and get an answer for you...
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-02-14 17:21:34
Hi Miller, Thanks for your question and sorry for the delay in replying. You may be able to bring claim under the 'Inheritance: Family and Dependants' Act of 1975. I'd recommend that you take legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in wills and trusts and who has experience of 'contentious probate', as it is called. You have to do this within six months of grant of probate being obtained. I'm basing this suggestion on the fact that you don't live in Scotland, where the laws are different.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-02-14 17:23:18
Hi Hoya, Apologies for the huge delay but I've not been able to post due to a glitch. From the information you’ve given me, I think it’s unlikely that your mum’s late partner’s cousins will be able to contest the will. The fact they think of his money as ‘family wealth’ is neither here nor there, under English Law. They would have to show they were financially dependent on him or that he drew up the will when he was not of sound mind. The circumstances in which someone can challenge a will are quite limited.
Posted by Worried dated 2013-02-15 18:31:45
Hi, Would my father's girlfriend (who is not a UK citizen) be able to contest a will that left her out of any settlement. In other words, can a non-UK resident challenge a UK will ? Thanks for any help!
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-02-16 10:30:26
Hi Worried, Thanks for your question. The honest answer is that I don't know, but I'll try and find out for you. What I can say is that, even if she could challenge the will, there are limited circumstances in which your father's girlfriend would be able to do so. As a minimum they would have to have lived together for two years and she wouldn't be able to challenge the will just because she wanted a share of your father's money. I'll update this comments section once I find out if there is a bar to a non-UK person challenging a will drawn up here. I suspect not but I could be wrong.
Posted by Worried dated 2013-02-16 10:44:55
Great thanks, I appreciate the advice, very kind.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-02-16 11:35:55
Hi worried, No problem. It might take a day or two to find out, but if I've not updated this by Wednesday, do leave another comment to remind me!
Posted by karonga dated 2013-02-19 00:01:32
mother deserts her baby conceived during an affair to save face with family. Returns to UK. some years later reunites with said daughter but still does not reveal her to be her daughter and does not introduce to family as the daughter is the image of her. Instead wants to hide the fact that she had an affair whilst her husband was at war. The affair resulting in the birth of the one and only child she had over 2 marriages. Over a period of 25 years mother and daughter have communicated via mail, cards trips to UK paid for by the mother. The mother had stated that the daughter would benefit after her death and reveal the name of her father and family. The mother has now died and daughter wants to know if she may have a claim on the estate. The mother lived in UK and the daughter was left in Canada with her 1st husband.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-02-19 10:19:34
Hi Karonga, I'd suggest that you see if you can get hold of a copy of the will from the Probate Registry in the UK. You can do a search for this. It will only show you copies of wills once probate has been granted (ie once permission has been given to start the legal process of paying any debts and dealing with the finances your mother left behind). I hope that helps.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-02-22 18:13:20
Reply for Worried, Hi Worried, Sorry for the delay in getting you a proper reply. I double checked the answer with Nicola Plant, who is SavvyWoman's wills and trusts expert. This is what she said: "It’s the deceased’s domicile at death [which means roughly the country where they permanently reside] that’s relevant for the purposes of bringing a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. The girlfriend then needs to come within one of the classes who can make a claim . If she’d been co-habiting with the deceased for two years prior to death then she can satisfy this. She has six months from the date of the Grant of Probate to issue a claim, but can then have up to four months in which to serve the claim. Executors should, therefore, be wary about distributing assets in the estate until after 10 months from the date of the Grant.
Posted by nigel dated 2013-02-25 14:51:30
We've launched a hub called VideWill.com which enables people to video their intentions and the reasons behild their decisions to their own private hub. In the event of their passing the parties can watch and better understand the rational behind the distribution of assets.
Posted by Worried dated 2013-02-26 07:15:06
Thanks very much for the clarification, it's appreciated
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-02-26 08:03:20
Hi Worried, You're very welcome. Glad it helped.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-02-26 08:07:42
Hi Nigel, Thanks for the comment. I've had a look at your website and I'm a little unclear about exactly how it works, but I think the principle behind it is interesting. However, when many people baulk at paying £150 or so for a will, I wonder if they'll want to pay £100 a year for a message?
Posted by Kitkat dated 2013-03-05 23:02:23
Hi the father of my two children re-married and had another 2 children, he died and left all his estate to his new wife. My children did not recieve a penny and my maintance stopped and his new wife got the life insurance and paid her mortgage off circa £500k house and lives very comfortable whilst we were left with nothing -should our dependent children have been provided for or is it too difficult to contest? thanks
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-03-06 10:03:44
Hi Kitkat, I don't know how old your children are, and I'm not a lawyer so can't give you an expert answer, but I'd suggest that you talk to a lawyer who specialises in disputes over wills to see if this would be a possibility. Here's a link to the relevant act, which is the Inheritance (provision for Family and Dependants) Act. It does mention former wives who have not remarried, and children. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1975/63
Posted by Louise dated 2013-03-16 09:04:51
My Mum has been in a defacto relationship for approx 25 years living in the U.K. She now has dementia and was recently taken into hospital. The next day her partner died - had had left a will leaving Mum provided for but within 2 days the Executors (his nephews) said Mum was not allowed back in the house - all her stuff had to be cleared out and her partners will was null and void as they (the two nephews/executors) had taken their Uncle to the solicitors and a new will had been made. In his first will of which we have a copy - she is provided for. Have we any grounds to fight this?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-03-17 07:44:25
Dear Louise, Thank you for your commment and I'm so sorry to hear about your mother's situation. I was shocked when I read your comment. This is a specialist area of law, but I would have thought it was worth taking the advice of a solicitor who specialises in 'contentious probate' (ie challenging a will) to see if your mother has a case. See if you can have a chat with someone for free or on a low cost fixed fee basis to see if there is merit in your mother taking legal action. A couple of things - you said your mother was in a 'de facto' relationship for 25 years - do you mean that she and her partner had lived together? She will only have a case if she has lived with her partner for at least two years. The real difficulty will be in proving that her late partner was not of sound mind or had been coerced when he drew up a will. Unfortunately, the law in England and Wales allows someone to change their mind and leave money to whoever they choose. If you haven't already done so, ple
Posted by Tabatha dated 2013-03-29 13:32:55
Hello,. Me and my brother have rarely had contact woth our real father due to his wife forbideen him to see us. We have never had any money or support from him. we have been told by his wife that their will is made out to their other son ( our step brother) could me and my brother contest it?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-04-02 12:56:32
Hi Tabatha, Thanks for your question. I'm sorry to hear about your situation. It must be difficult not to have been allowed much contact with your father. I'm afraid - as the article above tries to explain - that it's possible and legally allowable for someone not to leave money etc to one or more of their children if they don't want to. The only exception to this is in Scotland, where children have 'legal rights' to inherit a certain amount, no matter what is in the will. If you and/or your brother are or were financially dependent on your father or you believe he was coerced into making his will, you can probably challenge it. However, otherwise, you may not have grounds for a challenge. As with all the information on SavvyWoman, this is guidance and not legal advice.
Posted by Lost niece dated 2013-04-02 13:53:11
My aunt had left me her home in her will for many years and we were very close as we were her only family on her parents side . After a stay in a secure hospital ( which I travelled many miles and spent 3 full weeks having her released) she turned on me for arranging her affairs so that she was being looked after and could not be exploited as I was too far away to look after her day to day well being. Her neighbour to whom she was friendly but not close took over and convinced her to rewrite her will and stop taking my calls . Not to benefit from it herself but to redirect the funds to another member of the family she thought should inherit . Mainly just to prove she was in charge . It has been 18 mths since I have had any contact. Do you think I could contest the will? As I love this house and I was in it as a baby so I have always called it home .
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-04-04 21:45:59
Hi Lost Niece, Thanks for your comment. I'm really sorry to hear about your situation. It must be very hard when you've been so close to your aunt. I don't know much about your situation but I would suggest it may be worth talking to a solicitor who specialises in wills and contentious probate. I don't know how high the 'threshold' is for you to be able to demonstrate that your aunt had been put under undue pressure and a solicitor who specialises in this area should be able to tell you. Use one who is recommended if you can, or look on the Law Society website. A solicitor who is a member of STEP (the Society of Estates and Trusts Practitioners) specialises in wills and trusts.
Posted by Mark G dated 2013-04-06 13:58:43
My natural mother died 20yrs ago. My step-dad died 2yrs ago and left everything to his natural son, my step brother. Can I contest the will?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-04-08 13:31:28
Hi Mark G, Thanks for your question. As you may have gathered from my replies to earlier questions along similar lines, it's a grey area and challenging a will isn't easy. Unless your mother was from/in Scotland, where children have certain rights no matter what's in the will, you don't have any rights to inherit. You could talk to a solicitor, but my gut feeling (no more) is that you'd not be able to challenge the will without demonstrating that you had an expectation that you would inherit - either because your mum had supported you when she was alive and you thought that would continue after her death or were dependent on her financially. It's a complex area, so you might want to get professional advice.
Posted by casandra dated 2013-04-10 20:53:32
I am executor of a will which I have probate for. My late father had a lady friend who had lived with him for about 8 years. They were not close in his last 2 years and didn't share a bedroom. He didn't leave her anything in his will and she is now saying she is entitled to some money. As a guide, if she was entitled to claim, how would this be calculated. She has her own house and substantial savings. She was renting out her property while she lived with dad so she is losing her income from that as she is moving back into the property.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-04-11 06:24:15
Hi Casandra, Thanks for your comment. I'm afraid I don't know how much your late father's lady friend might be able to claim, if indeed her challenge to the will is successful. It's a specialist area so I would suggest that you talk to a solicitor who has experience of 'contentious probate' (ie when a will has been challenged). If you are worried about the cost, you could contact Lawworks, which provides free advice (but it's a limited service). I don't know how they select who they will provide free advice for, but you can copy and paste this link to find their website: http://www.lawworks.org.uk/
Posted by georgie dated 2013-04-13 19:04:40
due to a family dispute my father had no contact with me for 20 years in his will he left me a 7th portion of the proceeds of his land. It is being disputed that there was an error made by the solicitor and that I was not to received anything. The will was made in 2007 while he had his full mental awareness. My mother and other family members say the will is wrong and he meant me to have nothing. Does his will stand or can they make a declaration that my inheritance is invalid?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-04-15 06:58:35
Hi Georgie, Thanks for your question and I'm sorry to hear about the dispute. I can't give you advice, I'm afraid, as it's a specialist area, but in broad terms, your family would have to show that your father was coerced, didn't have mental capacity or that there was a mistake in the will, in order for it not to be valid. I don't know if you have any information about what the error could be that their solicitor is saying has been made on the will? The bottom line is that your inheritance couldn't be taken away because it's not what the rest of your father's family want.
Posted by Tom dated 2013-04-18 03:55:21
my wife and i want to leave our home and belongings to our daughter, she is not financially secure and has four children to provide for, one with learning difficulties and ill health, we have always been very close to her. Our son however is financially secure with grown up, independant children and has distanced himself from us over the years. We have told him of our plan for our will and he has threatened to contest the will after our deaths. Does he have a case? I would be grateful for any advice.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-04-18 07:17:27
Hi Tom, Thank you for your question. As I've said to others who've left a question, this is a complex area and I'm not a solicitor. However, unless your son could show that you weren't of sound mind when you made the will, or that you were coerced (or unless there's a mistake in the way the will has been drafted), he would have to show that he was either financially dependent on you or that he had an expectation that financial support would continue (so, of for example you gave him regular gifts of money while you were alive, he could try and show that he'd expected these to continue after your death). If he is financially secure and an adult, he can't just challenge your will because he doesn't like what you're doing.
Posted by Hayleymac87 dated 2013-04-29 18:52:20
Hi, my dad died 9 years ago, then his dad died 3 years after followed by my dads mum 2 years after. My dads sister (my aunts) who we do not speak to anymore, told me at my dads mums funeral that there was nothing left in the will all the money had gone on caring for their mum (my nan). At the time I was young and didn't want to challenge this. My aunts is living in my nan and grand ads house since they both died. Surely I should be entitled to half the house as my dad would of been left half but he died. Is it too late to challenge the will as it has been about 3 or 4 years since my nan died?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-05-03 09:13:03
Hi HaleyMac87, Thanks for your question and sorry for the delay in replying. Your first step should be to get hold of a copy of the will from your dad's mum and your dad. If your dad died without a will, you would stand to inherit (as I'm presuming your mum had already died). However, the fact that your dad had already died by the time his mum died would have meant that anything that was left to him by his mum would have passed to other relatives - either under intestacy rules if there was no will or through what was left in the will. If your dad's mum didn't make specific provision for you, my understanding is that you wouldn't have an automatic right to inherit based on the fact that your dad would have left you something if he'd been alive. It's worth having a conversation with a solicitor who specialises in this area as I can only give you general guidance and I'm not a solicitor.
Posted by cassie dated 2013-05-07 15:30:25
my husband was left money by his sister as were another brother and sister (she being the executer of the will) my husband got in toutch with another brother asking if he had received anything who then contacted his sister who was executer to find out he had been excluded from the will.She was really angry at my husband for telling the brother and is threatening to contest the will to give the other brother half of my husbands inheritance also she gave us a cheque which is in her name can she stop this ? as it hasn't cleared yet don't know where we stand
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-05-08 06:33:42
Hi Cassie, Thanks for your question and I'm sorry to hear about the stressful situation you and your husband find yourselves in. I'm not a lawyer, so this is for guidance only, but from what you've told me, I can't think that your husband's sister (the executor) would be able to challenge the will. I don't know what her justification would be? She can't challenge it just because she's angry with your husband (although the fact she's threatening to do so is rather sad and frustrating). The only way she would be able to challenge the will is if your husband's brother (who was excluded) had been provided for by the other sister while she was alive and could expect that to continue or if he was financially dependent on her. Also, bear in mind that these cases can be complex and costly, so I doubt she'd really want to take that on. As regards the cheque that's not yet cleared, I'm afraid she could get it stopped, although it would depend on how quickly she contacted the bank after she'd
Posted by cassie dated 2013-05-08 09:52:20
Thank you for confirming what I thought was true will have to wait until Friday and see if cheque clears fingers crossed ad regards the excluded brother he is financely secure
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-05-09 10:22:31
No problem. I hope the cheque isn't stopped..
Posted by sweetpea dated 2013-05-17 11:14:47
My husbands step mum has just died and as far as he knew he was going to be left a third of his dads half of the estate including proceeds from the house sale. His half brother has now said that his mother has left only a third of his dads half of one bank account to him and the rest goes to his two half brothers. My husband has not seen either will.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-05-20 11:08:09
Hi Sweetpea, Thank you for your question. If your husband is a beneficiary (which he will be) he has the right to see the will. Once probate has been granted (debts paid and the money and assets distributed) anyone can see a copy of it anyway. I'd suggest your husband asks if he can see a copy of it - as is his legal right. Unfortunately, at a time like this it's easy for families to fall out but hopefully your husband's half brother will realise that - as an executor - he should let your husband see the will.
Posted by Anna dated 2013-05-29 20:04:36
Hi my sisters husband has just died he has left his estate to her his wife but his 2 children are executors of his will and have not applied for probate she has asked them but nothing has been done she contacted the solicitor who has told her she can't do anything until they apply for probate but she needs the money to clear the mortgage where does she stand
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-05-31 09:03:11
Hi Anna, Thanks for your question. I'm afraid I don't know what you can do if you have an executor who doesn't apply for probate promptly. I'll see if I can find out and post an update here. It must be very frustrating for your sister. It would be worth contacting the mortgage lender, if she has not already done so, so she can explain the problem to them.
Posted by bec dated 2013-06-08 21:08:49
Hey there hopefully a straight foward question. Is it possible to dispute a will if therr is evidence that a new will has been made even if a copy of it cannot be found. Evidence for example being, a sample will filled out, credit card charge to a diy will company, emails stating a new will is being made etc? Thanks very much bec
Posted by Carol dated 2013-06-08 23:45:08
Hi My mother and her husband, both on their second marriage have been married for 25 years. Both have separate wills. Her husbands will states that his estate of 600k goes to his 4 children only and nothing at all is in place for my mother, in other words whats belongs to him is hes and whats belongs to my mothers is hers which all parties have accepted this arrangement but i do have a question later. My mothers estate 160k includes a house and a few acres of land, i have lived in her house for the last 18 years. The house will come to me and the land will be shared between me and my two sons. Question one, if something happens to my mother first could her husband contest my mothers will. Question two. if something happens to her husband first, could she contest his will due to him not making any arrangement for her after his death, the reason i ask this is because his property would have to be sold because their will be four beneficiary's, this in turn would leave my mother li
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-06-10 13:02:23
Hi Bec, Thanks for your question. I'm afraid I don't know if the fact that someone may have paid for a DIY will is enough to challenge an existing one. I'll ask Nicola Plant, SavvyWoman's wills and trusts expert, and see what she says. I'll update the comments box as soon as I get a response.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-06-10 13:08:40
Hi Carol, Thanks for your question. It's quite a detailed one and, as I've said in previous answers, I'm not a solicitor so can only give guidance. I'd say it may be possible for your mum to challenge her husband's will and vice versa, but it would probably depend on the agreement they've both signed to say they have their own wills. That might negate their ability to challenge each other. I would have thought this would be something they'd have taken advice on before they drew up their wills. If not, I would suggest they each talk to a solicitor who specialises in this area.
Posted by bec dated 2013-06-11 09:45:45
Okay thanks very much for taking the time to answer
Posted by John dated 2013-06-14 09:47:48
I am an only son with one surving parent, my mother widow of my father whose will have been proven. Should she make a will or leave me as beneficiary by sucession?
Posted by Keith dated 2013-06-14 15:18:05
On 10 June my mother passed away one at home in the UK aged 93 while I was in hospital in Ireland having eye surgery following a vitrectomy, the result of an assault. Due to a long standing burn injury to the other eye, my vision is now extremely poor. I am 63. My mother's solicitors inform me that my mother's will, when all gifts are executed, leaves 60% of the residue of the estate to my brother who is 70, 30% to his daughter and 10% to myself. Can I challenge this?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-06-17 13:26:31
Hi Keith, Thank you for your comment and I'm sorry to hear about your attack and operation. I hope you are on the mend. As I've mentioned in other comments, the aim of this article is to give a broad outline of the circumstances when someone can challenge a will. You can't just challenge a will because you think it's unfair or that your mother should have left you more. However, if you think you fit any of the criteria I've mentioned, it is worth pursuing. If you want to find out more about your options I would suggest you contact a solicitor, who will be able to advise you on the basis of your own circumstances - in detail.
Posted by Keith dated 2013-06-17 20:11:32
Hi Sarah Thank you for responding. Having now had access to more documentation, I am of the opinion that influence was brought to bear on my mother as she changed her will
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-06-18 06:40:32
Hi Keith, I'm sorry to hear that. If there's any evidence she was 'coerced' or placed under undue influence, you may have a case. However, it's not very easy to prove. There's an article here that describes some of the challenges of proving undue influence: http://www.wrighthassall.co.uk/articles/2012/06/27/difficulty-alleging-undue-influence-probate-matter/ . Sorry not to be more helpful, but good luck if you decide to pursue it further.
Posted by merlin12 dated 2013-06-19 19:48:01
My aunt and uncle have no children but where very close to my mum. my mother has taken care of my aunt for years,she was in bad health yet mentaly ok, my uncle told mum, he was going to make my brother executor 15yr ago, as he thought maybe mum would be to frail when he died, leaving a thousand pounds to 27relitives including my mum.. he said he trusted my brother to do the right thing, both my aunt and uncle are now dead, my brother says the money gifted in the will is all mum is going to get and he says he is keeping the rest, property and money, I doubt we can do anything about it i am so angry for my mum. who is now in bad health. I expect there is nothing we can do to make my brother do the right thing as my uncle wanted. my uncle i know for sure did not mean for my brother to keep the lot, my uncle wanted my brother to take care of his mum.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-06-20 09:50:34
Hi Merlin12, Thanks for your comment. Apologies if I'm misunderstanding what you're saying, but did your aunt leave the remainder of her estate (after the 27 gifts of £1,000 had been paid out) to your mum? If the will spelled this out, that's what should happen. Have you seen a copy of the will? It's something you should be able to see...
Posted by Jane dated 2013-06-20 16:43:42
Hello. My 2 sisters are asking to see the will of my father who passed away recently, however I was the only beneficiary. Do I have a legal duty to provide them with a copy as soon as I receive the will? (Not going through probate)
Posted by Rosie dated 2013-06-21 01:02:33
My cousin died recently. I am her next of kin in Australia. She had no family, parents, children, spouse. She left her complete estate to charities. Her properties were mostly inherited from our mothers' side of the family. Would I be in a position to contest her will. If not apart from receiving a copy of her will am I entitled to know how her will is dispersed and what happens to her house in England in the meantime?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-06-21 12:37:18
Hi Jane, I'm not a solicitor but my understanding is that you don't have to provide a copy of the will if you're not going through probate, although I believe it may be able to reduce the time in which someone can challenge a will if that's a possibility. If the will was very clear and left everything to you, which it sounds like it did, it might be worth letting your sisters see a copy of it to put their minds at rest, but this has to be your decision.
Posted by Fred dated 2013-07-01 15:42:58
My mum died in Nov 2012 (my dad had previously died), her Will was granted probate on 31st Dec 2012. I completed form and payment for copy of it from probate in January 2013 (as I was not executor), did not receive it until today 1st July, looks like probates process of sending copy does not work. I now find out that I am not mentioned and want to contest but understand I should do this within 6 months of grant. As this is the fault of probate not sending me a copy, can I still contest stating that probate failed?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-07-04 10:13:30
Hi Fred, Thanks for your question. I'd suggest you contact a solicitor to get some advice from them. I don't know whether you can extend the six month time limit on the basis that you didn't receive a copy of the will. It might also be a good opportunity to talk about the basis for challenging the will and whether it is likely to succeed.
Posted by Anabelle dated 2013-07-08 15:37:13
I just recently got married again .my husband promised to make a new will and name me in it,what happens if he dies before chaning it?will everything go to his children form first marriage(who are grown up )?wiil I have any rights at all?
Posted by Anne dated 2013-07-08 20:53:38
My brother has claimed his legal rights.......1/8th of the moveable estate. In my father's will he was left 1/10th of the moveable estate. Can anything be done to prevent him from succeeding? Scottish Law apples here. Thank you.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-07-10 10:51:26
Hi Annabelle, Thanks for your question. The answer depends on whereabouts in the UK you live, however, I can reassure you that you would be unlikely to be left with nothing if your husband didn't make a new will. If you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, marriage revokes a will (but does not do so in Scotland). I've included a link to an article I've written which explains who inherits what if there is no will. You can read the article by copying and pasting this link: http://www.savvywoman.co.uk/c6-pages/c6s6.php?art_id=56 I hope it is useful to you
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-07-10 10:52:50
Hi Anne, Thanks for your question and I'm sorry to hear about the challenge. I do have a Scottish lawyer who is an expert on inheritance who I can contact. I will email her and see if she is able to answer the question on the basis of the information you have provided. If she is, I will add her reply in this section.
Posted by Rosie dated 2013-07-10 23:48:11
Haven't received an answer to my request yet Sarah. Perhaps you could tell me who to contact in England.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-07-13 05:48:23
Hi Rosie, Thanks for your question and I'm so sorry I missed it first time round. I'm not quite sure why that was, but I'm sorry I didn't spot it earlier. As I've said in response to earlier questions along similar lines, without knowing a lot more about your circumstances, it's impossible to say whether or not you can challenge your cousin's will. She is entitled to leave all her money to charities, if that's what she wants to do, and I'm afraid it doesn't really matter where she inherited it from in the first place. However, if you believe she was not mentally capable of deciding who should get what, or if you think she was coerced (or if the will has been drawn up incorrectly), you may have grounds for contesting it. Do you know who the executor of her estate is? If so, they would be worth contacting. Otherwise, you'll definitely have the right to see the will once probate has been granted (when it becomes a public document).
Posted by Rosie dated 2013-07-15 04:49:35
My cousin's solicitor has sent me a copy of her will and it does appear that I do not have grounds for contesting her will. Very many thanks Sarah for your reply to my comment.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-07-15 06:49:52
Hi Rosie, Thanks for your reply to my comments - it's much appreciated. I'm pleased you have been able to get hold of a copy the will, so at least you know where you stand. Sarah
Posted by t terrible dated 2013-08-07 22:14:46
My boyfriend and I made a will if either dies first everything goes to other person,house car etc.Can his sister stop the will where I can get the little money hes left for me.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-08-09 09:53:42
Hi T Terrible, Thanks for your question. In broad terms, unless your boyfriend's sister could show that she was receiving payments from your boyfriend before he died (and therefore could expect to be left money in his will), there is probably nothing she could do about it. There are strict rules about who can challenge a will and the circumstances behind it. It is easier, for example, for a child to challenge a will (or someone to do so on their behalf) if they've not been left money than for an adult sister or brother to do so. She can't challenge his will just because she'd rather the money went to her than to you, for example!
Posted by CeeDee dated 2013-08-09 15:28:03
My mum was in hospital for about a month before she passed away and 7 days before she died my auntie went in to hospital with a solicitor and my mum wrote a new will leaving loads of stuff to my auntie. My auntie and I do not see eye to eye and have had many arguments. I just find it a bit odd that suddenly my mum decided to change her will just 7 days before she died. I can't prove she wasn't of sound mind but she was definitely on many drugs to relieve pain. I want to contest the will because Im not even sure its my mums signature on the bottom of it. What should I do? THANKS
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-08-10 10:04:04
Hi CeeDee, Thanks for your question. I don't know the answer off the top of my head, but I would suggest that you look at the website of an organisation called Action on Elder Abuse (if you copy and paste this link, you'll find it: http://www.elderabuse.org.uk/) or get in touch with them. They have expertise in the area of financial abuse of elderly people, including those who may have been put under pressure to alter their will and may be able to tell you what to look for. I'll see if I can do some more digging about this and will update this article if I find out anything helpful.
Posted by Meg dated 2013-08-14 20:42:47
Hi, please can you advise if there is anything that can be done in this situation; my uncle and his wife were both spinsters who married late in life. They had no children and a few years ago my incle advised all his nephews and nieces of inclusion in their joint will a few years ago. Sadly my uncle died some time ago and the family home which he bought and livedin with his mother for a long time prior to his wife joininghim after their marriage His wife, our aunt has recently died and had alzheimers over the last 3-4 years and it has come to light that her brother from South Africa came over in 2011 and took her to write a new will during the time she was vunerable in the will bequeathed everything to him uncluding the home and family contents of my side of the family he has obviously ensured nothing that was originally discussed and intended for my uncles side of the family in their joint will has been honoured. The gentleman has died and all of the contents of the will including
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-08-15 06:21:43
Hi Meg, Thanks for your question. It sounds like a very difficult situation. I'm afraid the last part of your question was cut off (there is a word limit on the comments box). Would you be able to add the last part and submit that again? I think I can work out what you're going to say, but it would be really useful to see the entire question for myself. Sorry for any inconvenience.
Posted by Meg dated 2013-08-15 21:22:22
Hi, sorry I didn't realise the wording limit. All the contents including the family house and of particular sadness family ornaments belonging to Nana. Uncle had said if anything happened to him there was a box in the loft with papers etc he wanted his side of the family to have, the box has been removed so we have no way of knowing what it was he wanted us to make sure we found. We are deeply saddened that the house now has gone to who it was never intended for and course our family heirlooms. The money is substantial and if course we feel cheated from what was in the will they had made together previously, again though it is the family home which my uncle said was to be shared by his side of the family as a holiday home and grannies possessions which are remembered fondly. Kind regards
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-08-17 07:02:40
Hi Meg, Thanks for adding the rest of the question. I'm really sorry to hear about what's happened. It sounds very upsetting. I'm not actually sure whether you will be able to do anything now. There are time limits for challenging a will and as both your aunt and her brother have died, I don't know whether you would be able to make a claim. Even if you are within time you would have to be able to show that undue influence (and not just a change of mind) occurred. I would suggest you contact a solicitor or submit a question via the 'ask the expert' panel, to Nicola Plant who is the wills and trusts expert. We can't guarantee that all questions will be answered but we try and answer as many as possible.
Posted by Meg dated 2013-08-18 09:11:48
Thank you, yes it is really sad and the family only wish we knew what her brother had done before now so at least we could have questioned him about his actions.I thought it would be improbable to do anything about it now but felt it was worth asking the question otherwise I would always be questioning whether something could still be be done now that the will has come to light. Thank you for taking the time to read and answer my query it is much appreciated. Kind Regards
Posted by Curious dated 2013-08-21 20:59:24
My mother and her sister had a friend from childhood who has just been declared mentally incompetent. The friend made a will in 1960 leaving some of her money to a cousin and most to my mother and my aunt. Now the cousin is trying to re-write the will in her own family's favor before the old lady has died. Can she do this?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-08-25 09:08:48
Hi Curious, Thank you for your question and sorry for the delay in replying. From what you have told me I would be very surprised if the cousin of your mother's childhood friend was able to get her will rewritten. It is very clear in law that the person for whom the will is being drawn up (called the 'testator') must have mental capacity, otherwise the will is invalid. Solicitors are aware of this - or should be.
Posted by Judith dated 2013-08-27 07:28:26
If a wife has been advised she can contest her deceased husbands will, by her solicitor, aNd the whole process of handing granting everything to my dad(as indicated in the will) has been frozen due on her saying she contest. Is here a On my way! In which she must start the process, basically it has been over 6 months since she stated she was contesting and we have heard nothing since.
Posted by Judith dated 2013-08-27 07:34:48
If a wife has been advised she can contest her deceased husbands will, by her solicitor, and the whole process of granting everything to my dad(as indicated in the will) has been frozen due to her saying she will contest. Is there a timeframe In which she must start the process, basically it has been over 6 months since she stated she was contesting and we have heard nothing since.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-08-28 08:08:22
Hi Judith, Thanks for your question. The honest answer is that I don't know. I will see if I can find out from Nicola Plant, the wills and trusts expert, and leave an update here.
Posted by Andy dated 2013-09-01 10:40:41
My nans will states that her estate is to be spilt 50/50 between my father and uncle. My father is terminally ill if he should die before my nan would my uncle get 100% or would my dads 50% pass to me and my sister?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-09-02 06:22:45
Hi Andy, Thanks for your question. The answer would depend on how the will was written. Normally it would say what should happen if one person who's due to inherit dies. I know of situations where the other person (in this case, your uncle) would inherit the whole amount and others where the will specifies someone else entirely. Sorry not to have a definite answer.
Posted by Sue Crole dated 2013-09-05 13:02:06
I'm dying of cancer,have a 20 yr old son who I think can provide better than the girls father. For their schooling and well being n individual needs,I also have a 15 yr old who's great with her sisters. What's our legal rights to make sure the girls get what they need n my son n daughter want for them. Their dads not nasty, his just not ever been interested in their education, my son n daughter are. What do I do.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-09-10 08:37:04
Hi Sue, I was really sorry to read your comment and to find out you are dying of cancer. I can't imagine what that must be like to go through. Apologies for the delay in replying to you - I did upload a comment but it didn't seem to 'stick'. I'm not a family law or wills and trusts solicitor so I would suggest that you talk about this with a solicitor (if you have one) or submit a question free of charge to Nicola Plant, SavvyWoman's wills and trusts expert. It's free to do if you sign up for email newsletters. I hope that helps.
Posted by Katee dated 2013-09-13 19:21:31
My mum died a number of years ago and her second husband has just passed away Are we entitled to anything
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-09-14 06:22:38
Hi Katee, Thanks for your question. The straightforward answer will depend on what is in your stepfather's will and whether or not he had one. You should be able to see a copy of the will if you are named in it (ie are going to inherit) and after probate has been granted, which means after the legalaties have been sorted out.
Posted by Bubba dated 2013-09-14 13:16:52
Our Uncle has died and left his house to my brother. My Uncles sister in Law wants to contest the will even though probate has been granted on the grounds that a previous will left the house to her. Does she have a claim against the will?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-09-15 08:45:49
Hi Bubba, Thanks for your question. In general terms, as I outlined in the article, a will can only be challenged in certain circumstances, such as if the person who drew it up wasn't of sound mind, had been put under undue pressure or if he or she didn't provide for someone who should have been provided for (when a challenge to the will would be made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act. This Act isn't a 'blank cheque' for relatives to make a claim and there are strict time limits involved as well. Without knowing a lot more, it's hard to say but I would say a challenge to the will would be by no means easy.
Posted by Clownfish dated 2013-09-16 09:45:31
Hi Sarah, Can you help? My Dad died suddenly of a heart attack 12 weeks ago whilst on holiday age 56. He and my mum are divorced and there is my sister and myself as children. age 30 and 32. He was living with his partner in our family home for the last 17 years, we often discussed what would happen if he died and he said he would want me to make sure his partner had a house to live in and an income which is understandable. His estate is approx 1.6million and he always said he didn't want it to end up with her son so set things up in trust. She now has turned around and says she want 500k lump sum from the estate?? That would leave me and my sister with about 275k after tax bill etc... this is not about the money so much but trying to carry out my fathers wishes. I offered to buy her a house in trust in his grandchildren name upto 250k and pay her 25k a year, is this unreasonable and if went to court would she actually get 500k?? Her solicitor first asked for 750k! thanks in advanced
Posted by clownfish dated 2013-09-16 09:53:03
cont... oh there is a will that leaves everything to his two children Me and My sister. I guess I jsut need to know is she being totally greedy or is that a value thats reasonable if it went to a court of law? Or woudl my offer to leave her in the house where she and my dad lived and giver her a 25k a year income be acceptable? Like my dad asked me to do and she admitteed he said to her as well, its only since she visited family and solicitors she has doen a U-Turn and now want cash lump sum. thanks again for any advice.
Posted by John Davie dated 2013-09-17 06:49:46
I am Power of Attorney for my sister. My sister and her husband were left beneficies of a will. Her husband died leaving it all to her. The Testator has since died and another will only days before death has emerged leaving half to my sister and half to someone else. Can I challenge this Will. The relationship of my sister to Testator is my sisters husbands mum married a man who was the brother of the Testator.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-09-17 08:58:46
Hi Clownfish, Thanks for your question and sorry for not responding yesterday. I'm sorry to hear about the sudden death of your father and about the dispute that seems to be arising from it. I'm really sorry but I wouldn't be able to give you advice about how much your dad's partner might be entitled to. I think this is something you should take advice about from a solicitor who specialises in contentious probate. Do bear in mind that under current law, partners who aren't married don't have any absolute rights to inherit when their partner dies so it would be up to your dad's partner to show what she is entitled to. The amount she is asking for now could be an opening negotiating position, but, as I said, I'm not a solicitor and do think it would be worth your while taking advice, especially because of the amounts involved.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-09-17 09:05:35
Hi John, Thanks for your question. If you want to challenge the will on your sister's behalf, you would have to show that the testator had been put under undue pressure to draw up a new will or that he/she was was not of sound mind when the will was written. From what you've told me (and I'm not a solicitor, so this is just general guidance), the relationship between your sister and the person who left her money was rather a distant one. People do change their wills all the time (or draw up new ones) and often it's because they have grown close to someone since drawing up the earlier will. You may be able to challenge the will, but I'm afraid I can't help you further about your chances of success.
Posted by Kerry James dated 2013-09-19 09:15:38
My Mother has died recently and left her home which we lived in together and a lump sum to me as her only child. She has also left a lump sum to her partner of 10 years. He now wants a share of the house as well. I do not want him living in the house and have asked him to leave which he does not want to do. He is making no financial contribution to the home and I cannot afford to provide for him. He does have his own job. He says that he will contest the will to secure a share of the house which was owned by my mother. Is he able to do this?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-09-20 08:48:46
Hi Kerry, I'm sorry to hear about the death of your mother - that must be very hard. From what you've told me, and assuming your mother's partner had lived with her for two years before her death, I think your mother's partner may be able to contest the will, but it doesn't necessarily mean he'd succeed. I would suggest that you talk to a solicitor who specialises in wills and contentious probate (ie disputes about wills). Many solicitors will give you an initial consultation free of charge or at a nominal charge. The answer I've given you here is general guidance and, as I've said to others who've left comments, I'm not a solicitor so can't give you detailed advice. I hope this is helpful, though and thanks for your question.
Posted by donna dated 2013-09-21 14:23:52
hi my dad died 2yrs ago suddenly from cancer, he married 3 months before he died, he would never of got married again, he left the house to my brother but my brother had to pay the amount outstanding on the mortgage but his new wife must live there rent and bill free till she passes and my brother is paying rent and bills for another house where he lives with his partner and family even though my step mum has her own property and rents it out, my cousin and my brother and my step mum went to the solicitors to make the will, my sister and i was not told they were going and did not know about the will until a few months after my dad passed away,my sister and i have always been close to my dad but we were completely cut out of the will and this is not like my dad, i feel he was mislead from my step mum and my cousin as he is very close to my step mum, i feel my brother who is a lot younger than my sister and me was pressured into agreeing because he did not want to upset my dad, do we h
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-09-23 08:45:39
Hi Donna, Thanks for your question and I'm sorry to hear about the death of your dad. I'm afraid I can only really repeat what's in the article and say that you may be able to challenge the will, but you would either have to show that your dad wasn't of sound mind or had been put under undue pressure when he drew up a new will or you'd have to make a claim under the Family (Inheritances) Act and demonstrate that you should have been provided for in the will and/or that your brother shouldn't have to pay the mortgage costs etc. It's something I'd suggest you speak to a solicitor about. She or he would be able to give you an idea of whether you might succeed.
Posted by karen dated 2013-10-01 12:48:33
I have not spoken with my late father who died earlier this year for 15 years. In his first will everything was left to me. He changed this will a year before he died and left everything to my step brother, who I never had a relationship with. He has also left the house to him too, but my dads wife can live their until she dies. Dad was 86 and wife is 83. I have placed a caveat on probate, estate is worth around £200,000. I am expecting a response from this ion the next few days. What would my chances be for contesting this will in this way. And am I looking at a large legal bill? I have not been financially dependant on him for years, as I am 64 years of age.
Posted by penny dated 2013-10-02 12:27:06
My uncle met this care giver while he was sick at his place.the care giver got involve with uncle.in 2-3 monthy they went to sign for marriage.we as family we think this lady(care giver) took advantage of the situation.knowing that if my uncle dies,she inherit everything.my uncle passed on yesterday 01.10.2013.how do we challenge her?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-10-03 06:42:05
Hi Karen, Thank you for your comment and question. If you haven't talked to your father for 15 years it could simply be that he changed his mind - something that he is entitled to do. The law says that someone can leave money to who they like (although there are some situations where it can be challenged - obviously). As I've said in the answer to other, similar questions, I'm not a solicitor so I can't advise/guide as to the chances of success and certainly can't give any advice about the potential size of legal bills. You say you are not dependent on your late father financially, which could make it harder to challenge the will. I would talk to a solicitor who specialises in this area to get advice about your chances of success. It's a different matter if you think your late father was put under pressure or of unsound mind.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-10-03 06:46:12
Hi Penny, Thanks for your question and I'm very sorry to hear about the death of your father. The first thing is to try and find out if there is an existing will and if your father has left his money and property to the care giver. I would talk to a solicitor who specailises in wills and contentious probate (as this area is called), and find out what they think you should do next and how you want to challenge the will. If he has died without a will, his new wife would inherit up to a certain limit. In that case, you might have to consider a different approach. I hope that his helpful.
Posted by thereza dated 2013-10-04 07:29:43
My mother has made a will in my sisters name and has left me and my brother out of everything. Can I challenge the will
Posted by Heart broken dated 2013-10-04 13:07:59
My dad passed away earlier this year ,ten days before he died he married his girlfriend of just over five years .heleft her in total £70000 and six months stay in his home will utility bills paid for .she is now contesting the will but we know my father had always made it clear that what was his was his and whomever he met would have to bring something to the table .she had lied to him and we believe she is in the uk as a visa overstay from the USA .she is contesting the will refusing to leave the house any being very difficult she is claiming she needs about 37000 a year to live on .my father we are sure made it clear he was not going to be responsible for her upkeep after he died and was honest about not having long to live .will the law still base her claim on the cost of living here or can we push for them to consider deporting her on the grounds that she would still not have enough to support herself in the uk if she got half of our fathers estate .
Posted by Heart broken dated 2013-10-04 13:15:07
Also our mother died intestate a year before he met this woman .the family house and mothers assets went to our father ,we used her inheritance tax threshold which was about £300000 towards our late fathers estate ,can we put a ring ? Around the property or reduce our fathers estate by that amount to protect our family legacy as our father had always kept it in his will tthat we would have the property ? Sorry for all the rambling it's a living nightmare
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-10-05 07:41:36
Hi Thereza, Thanks for your comment and question. I"m afraid I won't be able to give you a very helpful answer - just to repeat what I've said to others who have asked similar questions. It is certainly possible that you could challenge the will but you would have to show that your mother was of unsound mind, put under pressure or you would have to challenge the will under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act. Talk to a solicitor who has experience in challenging wills (not all do) as it really is down to individual facts as to whether or not you're likely to succeed.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-10-05 07:47:06
Hi Heart Broken Thanks for your question and I'm sorry to hear about the death of your father, and the stressful situation that's resulting from it. I"m afraid that your questions are way beyond my knowledge or expertise and are quite detailed. If your mother didn't use her inheritance tax allowance (because she left her money and assets to your father), your father's executors can use it to reduce the inheritance tax your father's estate will pay. I've written an article that explains this, which you may find useful. You can copy and paste the link to read it: http://www.savvywoman.co.uk/c4-pages/c4s5.php?art_id=254
Posted by Mick dated 2013-10-06 21:29:57
my father died recently leaving everything to my sister. He and my mother had a very unhappy marriage with longstanding issues.He became ill due to stress as mother was disabled on advise of social worker she went into care for a short while for which she blamed brother and I after which she came home and they separated but remained in the family home. As she had been trying to get him to leave he made a will leaving everything in equal shares to me and siblings. Mother no longer spoke to me or brother or wanted us back in house. At this point sister began visiting more although she to had over the years fell out with parents and then reconciled. Mother died 2yrs ago father recently. Now been told all of estate left to sister as brother and I did not visit. New will made 4 yrs ago when mother was stillangry and father on medication for depression & anxiety father always manipulated by mother. Sister now says they reconciled but did not tell us prior to this father always said he want
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-10-07 07:18:27
Hi Mick, Thanks for your comment and I'm sorry to hear about the difficult situation you find yourself in. I'm afraid the end of the comment was cut off as there is a word limit on the comments box. Could you add a second part to your comment so I can try and respond to your question? Many thanks.
Posted by Mick dated 2013-10-07 15:45:52
Sorry didnt realise. Parents appear to have reconciled sister says it was not her place to let us know although she had on mamy occasions also had fall outs. Father always said it was his intention that there should be a three way equal split.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-10-08 05:18:18
Hi Mick, Thanks for adding the additional information. As with the other questions/comments, I can't give you a definitive answer. I would advise you to contact a solicitor who specialises in wills and disagreements about them (contentious probate). He or she will look at a range of factors, including any evidence that your father may have been put under pressure to make the new will. People do change their wills and - as you'll have seen from this column of comments - leave out one or more children. Sometimes this can be challenged in law successfully and at other times the will is deemed valid. I'm sorry not to have a more helpful answer. I will try and write another article on this subject to add some more detail about when you can challenge.
Posted by Mick dated 2013-10-08 08:19:48
Thank you for that
Posted by BOO dated 2013-10-10 21:59:59
I am the only survived daughter of my father who died in the year 2012 at the age of 78 but he willed all his properties to 5 charities and left nothing for me. i have challenged the will already.The will was witnessed by three employers of one of the banks he was using when alive Is there any chance that this can be overturned.Please advice me.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-10-11 16:01:38
Hi Boo, Thanks for your question and I'm sorry to hear about the death of your father. I'm afraid I will have to give you the same answer that I have given many people who have left comments, which is to say that I would have to know a lot more about your situation (and be a solicitor) to be able to give advice about specific circumstances. You say you've already tried to challenge the will and I assume you did this with a solicitor. I would either go back to them and ask if there are any other options for challenging the will or ask another solicitor for a second opinion.
Posted by sheilamac dated 2013-10-21 08:05:53
my father passed away, my sister has told me he has left her the house , i am a benificairy in the will , my sister will not provide a copy of the will , she is now starting to redecorate the house nad has removed all his belongings , do i have a right to see the will , there is only my self and my sister would i have a legal right to claim half of the property
Posted by sheilamac dated 2013-10-21 08:08:24
my father passed away, my sister has told me he has left her the house , i am a benificairy in the will , my sister will not provide a copy of the will , she is now starting to redecorate the house and has removed all his belongings , do i have a right to see the will , there is only my self and my sister would i have a legal right to claim half of the property forgot to mention scottish law
Posted by Sandi dated 2013-10-21 14:06:22
I am 63 and married with no siblings. Recently I came across a copy of my Mother's will (she is 89 and still alive) and was horrified by the Codicil she has recently added to it. She has stipulated that any monies not allocated to various far flung relatives and charities, are to be kept in Trust for me until such time as I divorce my husband, or he dies. Obviously, she does not favour my Husband, but I am deeply distressed to see this in black and white, and the fact that she has made no provision for the fact that, at some point, I might be in need of funds while I am still with my Husband. I have always been a dutiful daughter and she has always referred to us as being "close". People advise me to contest the Will when the time comes, but do I have grounds to do so? Your advice would be much appreciated.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-10-23 05:41:10
Hi Sheilamac, Thanks for your question and sorry for the delay in replying. I'm not an expert in Scots law but I'll try and find an answer for you. I know in English law you don't have the right to see the will if you're a beneficiary, although you can ask the executors and - if they won't show you - ask them why not. You should be able to see a copy of the will once probate has been obtained, as all wills become public documents. However, you may wish to do so sooner. I'll update this if I find out anything different.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-10-23 05:46:45
Hi Sandi, Thanks for your question and I'm sorry to hear about your mother's will. I'm afraid your question is rather too specific for me to answer via the comments section. I'd suggest that you either have a preliminary meeting with a solicitor who specialises in wills and trusts or submit an 'ask the expert' question to SavvyWoman's wills and trusts expert, Nicola Plant. We don't guarantee to answer all questions, but she may be able to help.
Posted by Sarah Hants dated 2014-05-12 14:42:35
My dad passed away in November 2013. I have a sister and 3 step siblings. Up untill my dad remarried some 20 odd years ago I was in his will. Then when he married I was removed. Then when his wife died in 2006 I was put back in the will. The problem I have is the step siblings and my sister are all receiving a quarter of my step mothers estate and then I receive a fifth of my dads estate. Amounts not known yet as property being sold. Do I have the grounds to contest the will as was previously in it, then removed, then re added. Seems very unfair that the step siblings get alot more especially when I was my dads care giver over the last 3 years of his life. Also my dad did say that he had made sure that it would all be equall, which I have now discovered is not the case
Posted by devastated dated 2014-05-14 14:29:36
My mother is on her death bed and I have just found out that she has signed her house over to my brother. Unfortunately my mother suffered a stoke 2 years ago and has not had her full capabilities to make decisions like that. I feel that my mother has been manipulated into doing this and want to know if there is anything I can do to stop this.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-05-18 20:10:59
Hi Sarah,
Thanks for your question. I'm sorry to hear about your dad's death. I would suggest that you talk to a solicitor who specialises in challenging wills (called 'contentious probate'). The grounds on which you can challenge a will are quite limited, especially if the children are grown up. Your father would be within his rights to leave money to whoever he wanted to (pretty much) - it may not be fair but that doesn't make it illegal. Having said that, a solicitor who knows all the details of your circumstances may be able to advise you if there are any grounds you can use to challenge the will. Find out how much an initial meeting would cost.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-05-18 20:19:22
Hi Devastated
, Thanks for your question. I was sorry to read your comments. Anyone making a decision on behalf of someone who lacks 'mental capacity' (ie the ability to make decisions), must act in their best interests. I'd suggest that your first port of call should be to contact a charity called 'Action on Elder Abuse'. They know this area of law inside out and may be able to suggest next steps for you. Their contact details are here: http://www.elderabuse.org.uk/
Posted by Jessica dated 2014-06-06 12:26:31
My husband's Will comments on the fact that I'm not good with money, and directs the executors to setup an Annuity with some of the funds that I inherit. They cannot do that without me signing the documents, so we are at a standstill as I do not want the Annuity and the Executors say they must respect the wishes of the deceased. What needs to happen next? How do I get things to move forward and get my money?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-06-07 09:17:49
Hi Jessica,
Thanks for your question. I'm afraid it's a bit too specific for me to answer as we can only give general guidance. I don't know whether you have a solicitor who deals with wills and probate, but I would suggest you contact one. I'm sorry not to be more helpful.
Posted by Patricia Hall dated 2014-06-15 22:13:07
Hello, I am married to a man that has 2 adult children and 1 teenager and I would like to know if he was to leave everything to me could his children contest to the will.
Posted by Caren dated 2014-06-17 16:39:05
My partner of 26 years, died and left a property (along with some debts) to me. We both had our own house and chose not to always live together. We made mirrored will and I have not as yet changed mine. Basically leaving everything to each other and whichever one of us died last then all to be divided between 4 grandchildren. All done and signed by solicitors. His two successfull adult children have put caveats in place how long can caveats continue to be renewed. My partners house is now in a state of disrepair I am also executor.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-06-21 09:25:18
Hi Patricia,
Thanks for your question. If your husband were to die while his children were finnacially dependent on him (for example if they were still in education etc), they could certainly challenge the will. Even if they were older they might be able to challenge the will if he had given them money - especially on a regular basis. It's hard to be definite about this, but it is possible. If they were financially secure when he died it would be harder for them to make a case, especially if he hadn't regularly supported them financially.
Posted by twiglet dated 2014-06-21 12:49:04
Hi my father has written a will, and according to him he said that in the will, the house and any other monies that is over would be between myself and my sister, the thing is he has a partner that has been living with him for 6 yrs. She said that she is going to sell her house, and if and when that my father passes away before her? Would she be entitled to a share in my fathers house.,
Posted by jrxm dated 2014-06-21 20:18:27
my father in law recently died; his 'friend' we believe has over a period of years put pressure on him to leave his estate entirely to her despite for years saying (to many people) the house would go to the daughters. We know she has consistently bad mouthed and lied to neighbours about the daughters. Would we have a case to challenge the will?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-06-22 15:09:46
Hi Caren,
Thanks for your question and I'm sorry to hear about the situation following the death of your partner. In answer to your question, a caveat lasts for six months. I hope that's helpful.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-06-23 13:39:00
Hi Jrxm,
Thanks for your question. I'm sorry to hear that you feel someone has put pressure on your father to leave his house and property to them. You may be able to challenge the will, but you would have to show that your father had been put under duress and/or didn't know what he was signing up for. I would suggest that you talk to a solicitor who specialises in challenging wills (it's called 'contentious probate') to find out what your options are. The difficulty may be in showing that your father was put under duress - even if you have a strong belief that was the case.
Posted by Tired niece 29 dated 2014-06-24 02:27:04
Hi my uncle passed away last year 29 June. He had no children just 2 brothers my dad and another uncle. My cousin is currently living in the she was there up until my uncle died. My dad lives in America along with my other uncle. My cousin has the death certificate along with all the other documents. My dad wants to give his brothers house to myself and my husband is this possible. Does my cousin have the right to stay there?
Posted by Claire Voutsinas dated 2014-06-28 08:31:17
My father died years ago and left his estate to his sister.I managed to get 20.000 through negation .my brother received nothing .We have every reason to believe the estate was substantial .Is it too late to contest my Fathers will.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-06-29 08:21:31
Hi Tired Niece,
Thanks for your question. I think some of the detail may have been missing from your question, but if your uncle died with no will and had no children (or grandchildren) and no parents who are alive, his possessions and property will pass to his brothers. If they weren't alive what he owned would pass to the children of his brothers. What he has will be passed equally to his brothers. My understanding is that if your father wants to give the property to you and your husband, he could only do this if your uncle agreed as he is entitled to half of it. Your cousin doesn't really come into it as your uncle had brothers who were still alive at the time of his death. As with all the information on this site, this is general guidance only and I'd suggest you talk to a solicitor (or that your father does) to explore this in more detail.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-06-29 09:27:16
Hi Clare,
Thanks for your question. There are normally strict time limits by which you can challenge the will using the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act. I believe that you may be able to challenge it if you believe duress was used or if he was not of sound mind at the time. However, demonstrating this took place can be difficult. If you believe there is a substantial sum of money at stake, I would talk to a solicitor who specialises in contentious probate (disputes about wills), but if you decide to challenge the will I have to warn you that it can be costly and time consuming - assuming that you have the legal right to challenge it at all.
Posted by Grahamh138 dated 2014-07-11 00:52:25
Hi. My fathers second wife does two years ago. They had a mutual will. The will is split three ways between myself and my brother and one step sister. Since my step mother passed away we have found that she was embezzling money from my dad and she was a fraudster. Her family were involved. They have had a lot of money over the years. My dad wants to cut the step daughter out of the will and only wished for his natural sons to receive his estate. We know he can gift cash each year but he wants to sign his mobile home over to his sons so it's not in he will. How can he do this?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-07-13 07:45:14
Hi Grahamh138,
Thanks for your question. I'm sorry to hear about what you've found out since your step mother died. That must be very upsetting for all of you. Your father is free to make another will. I'm assuming by 'mutual' wills you mean 'mirror' wills - where, one the husband, wife or civil partner dies, money goes from them to the remaining spouse or civil partner, and when he or she dies it passes to - usually - the children? Your father could make a new will and, if he is worried that it will be challenged, could follow the tips in this article - 10 ways to make sure your will isn't challenged http://www.savvywoman.co.uk/c6-pages/c6s6.php?art_id=1098 . It would be useful for him to record why he is changing it. One other deterrent I've been told about is for the person who's written the will to leave a small amount to the person they don't want to include in the will, but to say that they will not receive this if they challenge the will. This information is for guidance onl
Posted by Tracey dated 2014-07-21 09:35:49
My mums brother died of a brain tumour several years back. My parents nursed him at home so he did not have to die in a hospice. He wrote out a will leaving everything to my mother, but his wife tore it up. Shortly after he died my parents sold a car he left them as they had no where to keep it. The aunt totally turned on them and asked them not to come around anymore. At that time my cousin and his girlfriend moved in with her. Since he was there she had no further need of my parents. Anyway to try and shorten this, she died a couple of weeks ago and my parents get the impression that someone who used to work for them is in charge of her estate. They could not get an answer from this woman as to what is going on with my uncles estate. My cousin appears to have come into some money though. She did apparently leave a will, infact there were two, my parents were named in the first but towards the end she obviously wrote them out. We assume that as she inherited her husbands estate that t
Posted by Joyce dated 2014-07-21 19:08:48
My father died without getting his will signed. He had remarried several years ago and we haven't had anything to do with his wife. He said he was leaving a amount of money to his 4 grandchildren so would we be contacted by a solicitor if she was going to honour his wishes because we haven't heard anything and we know probate was granted in May. Is there anyway we can find out what was wrote in the will
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-07-22 13:05:51
Hi Joyce,
Thanks for your question. Once probate has been granted, anyone can see a copy of the will. The Gov.uk website has information on how to get hold of a copy of a will. Here's a link to it which you can copy and paste in your browser bar: https://www.gov.uk/wills-probate-inheritance/searching-for-probate-records
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-07-22 15:00:14
Hi Tracey,
Thanks for your question and apologies for the fact that the word count in the comments box meant the question was cut off. I think I can gather enough from your question. I would suggest that you make an appointment with a solicitor who specialises in contentious probate (disputes over wills). If you want to challenge the will, it can be a very costly process - both financially and emotionally. The more evidence you have about your uncle's intentions, the better.
Posted by Joyce dated 2014-07-22 20:11:15
Hi thanks for your reply and link. I'm just checking with you that I can see a copy of my fathers will even though it wasn't signed ?
Posted by Penny dated 2014-07-22 21:11:22
My late husbands will was read few months back. He left mentioned and gave all but one of his landed property to his children and left the last landed property off the will.His first wife is divorced and the second wife is late.I have been his only wife for over twenty years now. What are my chances of contesting his will
Posted by looptotheloo dated 2014-07-25 21:46:39
Jeez I hate money and the trouble it causes! Can you help please... my father in law died last year...10 yrs prior to this after my husband's mum died his dad took him down to the bank and put his name on the account and said that whatever was in it was his when he passed away...unfortunately no will was left and it doesn't look like anyone else (fil others children by a diff mum) were informed and now we are being threatened with solicitors arrrrghhh what to do!!!??? Help please :/
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-07-27 10:00:55
Hi Joyce,
Thanks for the reply to mine... Sorry, I gave you some duff information in the last answer (or didn't explain it clearly). If the will wasn't signed, it won't be valid. That means it won't be taken into account and so you wouldn't be able to see a copy of it by going to the Probate Registry. You may be able to ask to see it but I'm afraid I don't know enough about this area of law to know if there is a way you can demand to see it. Sorry not to be more help.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-07-27 10:05:26
Hi Penny,
Thanks for your question. As I've said on all the answers, I'm not a legal expert, but as the widow, you could challenge the will if little or no provision has been made for you. You can do this under the Inheritance - 'Provision for Family and Dependants' Act. Challenging a will is rarely easy. It can be financially and emotionally costly.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-07-27 10:31:46
Hi Looptotheloo,
Thanks for your question (and comment, which I agree with!). Normally, any money in a joint account passes to the other person named on the account, whether or not there is a will and no matter what is in the will. However, it can be challenged, especially if the other person's name was added for convenience (see this legal firm's blog http://www.hughjames.com/news/firm-news/2012/06/joint_ownershipsurvivorship/#.U9TTuKhRbok ). It's also the case, sadly, that sometimes people will tell one relative what they plan to do with their money, but not tell anyone else. It would help if there was any evidence that he intended that the money passed to your husband, but that may not be available...
Posted by Looptotheloo dated 2014-07-27 23:59:22
Thanks for the reply Sarah as we so cannot afford legal advice! No no proof of course but He was not put on for convenience as my husband wasn't responsible for paying any of his dads outgoings...blimey WE are so going to write a will NOW to stop our children having to deal with this! So I am just about to reply to my husbands siblings messages threatening the legal route any suggestions of what I should/shouldn't say? Also can they actually take us to court over this and is it going to cost us? By the way we are not money grabbing people in fact we were marched down the bank by these people to try to have their names added to the account the day before their dads funeral :o thanks in advance for your much needed advice :)
Posted by An dated 2014-08-03 10:20:13
My mother died in December 2011 and my father passed away in January this year. I am one of 6 children where four of us are horrified about our treatment at the hands of our two older siblings, who are acting as Executors to our parents' estate. Before my mothers passing they took her to a solicitor to register a new will in spite of the fact that she did not have mental capacity due to her illness from Alzheimer's disease. Acting as Executors to our parents' estate they have continued to withhold basic information from the rest of us, who have still not been allowed to see copies of either of our parents Wills. We have made repeated requests to our brother and sister, but to no avail. We haven't yet taken legal action but believe this may be the unavoidable next step because of the situation as we have reason to believe that our parents resources and assets (contents of bank accounts, ISA's and furniture has been removed from the house) are being used by the Executors for
Posted by Mark dated 2014-08-04 07:11:49
My dad left my mom me and my brothers in 1983 and remarried and had another 2 children , my dad told me I could not inherit from him and I'm not in his will I'm his first born son , anyway my dad has now passed away 19,7,2014, my question is where do I stand
Posted by Sharon dated 2014-08-04 08:11:42
I set up an EPA several years ago. I am now changing my will. Can the new will be challenged on the grounds that it was made after the EPA. If yes,should I now take out a new EPA or LPA?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-08-04 14:35:02
Hi Looptheloo,
Thanks for your follow up comment and I'm so sorry it's taken me a few days to reply. I'm afraid I can't really advise you about what to say as I'm not able to give you one-to-one advice - and I'm not a contentious probate solicitor. Just to reinforce what I said earlier, I have found this article on the Law Gazette website that says that one person may not be entitled to money in a joint account if there's no evidence that the person whose name was orginally on it wanted them to have the money. This seems to apply particularly where a sole account was converted to a joint one. Sorry not to have better news for you.. http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/law/probate-resulting-trust-and-joint-bank-accounts/56341.article
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-08-04 14:57:17
Hi An,
Sorry to hear about the situation you find yourself in. You don't have any right to see a will before probate has been granted. Once probate has been granted, a will becomes a public document and anyone can see it. You can do this at the Probate Registry. If you want to take things further in terms of legal action, it sounds like you have no other option but to talk to a solicitor who specialises in contentious probate. If your older siblings have pressured your mother into making a new will when she didn't have the mental capacity to make it, the will is invalid. I'm surprised a solicitor was happy to do this work but, sadly, not all solicitors have high ethical standards. Be aware that if you decide to challenge the will, it could be quite a costly exercise. I hope that's helpful
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-08-04 15:06:06
Hi Mark,
Thanks for your question. You don't have any automatic right to inherit from your father, I'm afraid. Family members may be able to challenge a will under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act. However, this can be an expensive process. Talk to a solicitor who specialises in this area.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-08-04 15:08:48
Hi Sharon,
Thanks for your question. A will and an EPA are designed to do two different things, as I'm sure you know! As long as you had mental capacity when you drew up your new will, I don't see why it would be challenged because it was drawn up after the EPA. However, it might be a good idea to write a letter of wishes explaining why you've made another will or why you've included people who were previously left out and vice versa.
Posted by anna dated 2014-08-05 15:06:46
My nan has just died. My dad died 6 yrs as ago. The beneficiary solely is my uncle. Had my dad been alive, he would gave received 50%. Can my brother and I contest the will to claim our dads share?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-08-06 08:12:57
Hi Anna,
Thanks for your question. I'm afraid I don't know whether or not you can contest the will on the basis that, had your dad lived, he would have received half your nan's estate. Did your nan ever talk about changing her will after your dad died or that she wanted you to benefit from her will? My advice would be to talk to a solicitor specialising in 'contentious probate'. I would say that challenging a will is often costly (financially and emotionally) so think seriously before you start any legal action.
Posted by Angelface dated 2014-08-07 13:26:40
My daughter is 15 her grandmother passed away a few weeks ago, according to my understanding my daughter inherited the grannys property, but her uncle is living in the house, but the uncle refuses to give me a copy of the will, how do i go about getting a copy of the will? as i dont know who the executor is or where the will is,
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-08-10 10:06:34
Hi Anna,
Thanks for your question and sorry it's taken a few days to reply. The information I can give you is for general guidance only (as with all the information on SavvyWoman) and I'd suggest you speak to a solicitor who specialises in disputing wills (called 'contentious probate'). I am not sure whether there would be a basis for you challenging your nan's will. Normally wills are written in such a way that if the beneficiary - who's supposed to receive the money or property - dies, their share goes to someone else. Talk to a solicitor who can tell you whether you have the basis for a claim. But be aware that if you do, it could be costly as well as being emotionally difficult for all parties.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-08-10 13:50:09
Hi Angelface,
Thanks for your question. You or your daughter can see a copy of the will once probate has been granted, but you don't have a right to see a copy of it, unless you're an executor, before then. I'm not sure what else to suggest, as there seems to be little incentive for your daughter's uncle to go through probate if he can continue living in the property. Your best route may be to talk to a solicitor specialising in wills and trusts to see how you can take things further. You can do what's called a 'standing search' at the Probate Registry, which lasts for six months, and which means you would see a copy of the will when probate was granted. It's useful if you don't know when that may be.
Posted by Victor dated 2014-08-11 02:46:46
Hello Sarah. My name is Victor, I was led to your site looking for advocates for a mentally vulnerable women being relieved of her financial security. I am seeking and I would like to correspond with any recommended lawyers and/or advocates who can assist a New Zealand woman who under extreme mental duress and dis-ability was relieved of a HUGE amount of money which she was unable to deal with/cope with/process at the time due to her associating this money with extreme traumatic sexual abuse and categorizing it as "blood money", donated to a well known New Zealand charity, that was awarded to her after her father was sentenced by the Australian government as monetary compensation for a lifetime of SEVERE csa (child sex abuse) and torture via her pedophile father and his child rapist sex offender associates - and if she can possibly recover/receive any assistance in regards to this to improve her current quality of life. She did this via a lawyer in private consultation and di
Posted by Victor dated 2014-08-11 02:47:48
...private consultation and did it without advocacy, therapy, counseling or support, as a result she is still on welfare struggling to this day without any chance of her own home which is what this money was intended for. I am her husband and have been with her for the last 16 years, within which time she was compensated and received this money and then donated it secretly away (without my nor any family or support persons awareness). We are still married and together to this day. She was not even capable to discuss the issue of this money however now after several years of therapy I believe she is now able address it, with appropriate assistance. If I am remotely getting close to someone who can point me in the right direction at the very least just that in itself would be really helpful. I can also be emailed at: v.hansenatinbox.com Thank you, Victor.
Posted by Pol dated 2014-08-12 12:30:45
Hi, My grand parents gave their house my my Unkle and his wife, until such time of their death. It was agreed that upon this time the house would be sold to make provision for the 7 grandchildren. My Unkle died a couple of years ago and now his wife (they have no children) has left the house to her sisters children. My uncles will has vanished!
Posted by em dated 2014-08-16 23:33:59
My sister passed away and left over 300 thousand to her only son and 100 thousand to her husband both joint on her will (he husband is not the father to her son her ex husband is) her son my nephew has suddenly so sadly passed away 1 and a half years after my sister passed...now my nephews dad has came out of the wood work...epmtied my nephews property on the same say of his death took both his cars and items that we're my sisters and deceased dads and grans... he has had very little to do with my nephew and up bringing and has history of beating my sister which is why they divorced ..its on police record too... he is also now a known drug dealer and has been in prison for it and money laundering... my sister and nephew will be going insain to know the ex husband is taking everything that was originally my sisters..also he is not letting the family that was closest to my nephew have any say in arranging the funeral ...its so heart breaking what can we do to stop this from happening if
Posted by Estonia12 dated 2014-08-17 14:10:53
Hello
Posted by Estonia12 dated 2014-08-17 14:14:40
Hello a very good friend if mine who is 17 sadly lost her father 2 weeks ago ... Now as it is. Her father left everything to his wife my step mum .... Am aware I can make a claim on the will as I was just mentioned in the will as a beneficiary if both my father and step mother died ... That being the case if I make a claim what is the procedure and do I make it now before grant if probate applied for or after grant received ? Thank u for yr time
Posted by Estonia12 dated 2014-08-17 14:16:33
Was just reading my post : to make clear it is my friends step mum not mine
Posted by paul dated 2014-08-17 20:36:20
through my sister and her family me and mum fell out about 2 years ago, i tried to contact her but they wouldnt let, they accused me of hurting her and wanting to put her a home, which is not true in the slightest, i am utterly heartbroken that she would think this right before she died, they didnt even tell me she had died! i was the main beneficiary in the original will but since she has been coerced and influenced (lied to) in changin the will which excludes me, i was unemployed and ill a lot and relied a fair bit on my mum for support, since we fell out its been hard, relyin on a kind friend who lets me stay at her place. my mum always promised me that i would be taken care of and she would leave me the house. i am in turmoil now and don't know what to do, can anyone help me? can i contest the will?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-08-18 09:13:35
Extra comment for An and Angelface - I've just written an article about when you can see a will - there may be situations when you could see the will before probate has been granted or, in your case, Angelface, put pressure on your brother to get on and sort out probate. You can read the article by copying this link: http://savvywoman.co.uk/c6-pages/c6s6.php?art_id=1118
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-08-18 09:24:49
Hi Victor,
Thanks for your comment and apologies for the delay in responding. I was so sorry to hear about your wife's situation - that sounds awful. I'm afraid I don't know of anyone who would be able to help - not least because my contacts tend to be in the UK. However, I will ask some contacts and see if I can come up with any suggestions. I'll update this comments section in the next few days if I can find someone.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-08-18 09:35:04
Dear Em,
I was so so sorry to read your post. It really shocked me. I'm sorry to say that, unless your nephew had a will, his possessions and property would be inherited by his parents (unless he had any children himself). I don't know if you saw your sister's will, as it may have said who should inherit if your nephew died. From what you've told me in the comment, it sounds like the money from your sister was supposed to be split between her husband and son. If your nephew's father has taken something he's not entitled to, it could be a police matter. But if it's just a case that - through a horrible sequence of events - your sister's ex has ended up inheriting everything, I don't think there is much you would be able to do. I can understand why it's so distressing though.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-08-18 10:10:49
Hi Estonia12,
Thanks for your comment and question on behalf of your friend. When you ask about 'making a claim' do you mean making one to challenge what's been left in the will or to receive what's been left in the will? If you're talking about money your friend has been left, she doesn't have to make a claim as the executors (those nominated in the will to sort it all out) have a legal duty to make sure that those who are supposed to receive something do. If you mean 'challenge the will' so your friend receives more than she was left in the will, that would have to be done within six months of probate being granted. I hope that helps.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-08-18 10:19:18
Hi Paul,
Thanks for your question and I'm sorry to hear about the family fall out. You may well have a basis for challenging the will, but this kind of legal action can be costly and it is likely to be quite tough emotionally. You have two possible reasons to challenge the will 1) Under the Inheritance (Provisions for family and dependants) Act, where you could challenge on the basis that your mother didn't leave you anything and 2) on the basis that your mother was coerced. However, the 'bar' of evidence for 2) is quite high. You'd have to be able to show she was coerced - or at least point to evidence of it. Contact a solicitor who specialises in challenging wills or talk to Citizens Advice.
Posted by scotlass dated 2014-08-21 14:45:36
I have lived with my partner for 4 years, I have children all now adult, that still live at home. Other half has one child, teenager who does not live with us, but stays regularly and holidays with us. He pays maintenance to his ex wife. House was mine before we met, and mortgage is in my name only. I pay household bills, he pays "digs" and for some other expenses. If we marry does he have rights to everything, or can I leave house and percentage of cash to my children. He is fifteen years younger than me, and I am worried my children will lose their inheritance that I have worked hard for. We live in Scotland.
Posted by Loopster28 dated 2014-08-22 10:20:01
Hi , my dad has just passed away and left no will there is 5 children he had with my mum and he was married again for 10 years roughly . I just wanted to know what happens with his belongings bank accounts etc they owned their house but not sure if his name was on it . Also his wife wanted to sell his car . Just wanted to know if she is allowed to do so with no will being made and not going through his children first . Thanks
Posted by wondering dated 2014-08-22 20:30:51
my husband, who died in January, did not leave a will. Now my step son has filed for executor of my estate. I did not read it in the paper and he has now successfully become executor. I am contesting his position, as I am of sound mind and do not want him handling my affairs. Please advise.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-08-24 12:08:27
Hi Wondering
Thanks for your question. I'm not a legal expert, so this is general guidance which I'd suggest you check with a lawyer, but I understand that the administrator (essentially, the executor if there is no will) is normally decided in strict order of next of kin - and the wife or husband is first in the line, followed by the children. If you weren't notified of this, I believe you can stop probate by applying for a caveat. There's information on how to do this in my article called 'Getting hold of a copy of a will', which you can read by copying and pasting this link: http://savvywoman.co.uk/c6-pages/c6s6.php?art_id=1118
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-08-24 12:18:21
Hi Loopster28
Thanks for your question. As I've said to everyone asking questions, this information is for general guidance only as I'm not a lawyer. Having said that, my understanding is that your mother in law would be able to inherit your father's personal possessions and sort out his estate. That's because, under intestacy rules, she would inherit first, then his children and then other family members. You may be able to issue what's called a caveat to stop administration of his estate, but I am not sure you'd have a legal reason to do this - a solicitor would be able to advise you.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-08-24 12:29:56
Hi Scotlass,
Thanks for your question. I don't know whether or not your husband would be able to challenge the will if you didn't leave the house to him. Have you discussed this with him? One way round it - as suggested to me by a solicitor - is to leave him a certain amount in your will but say that he will lose that if he challenges the will. As with all the information on SavvyWoman, this is for general guidance only and I would strongly recommend that you take legal advice as this might not be a route that would work or that you'd like to go down.
Posted by Sarah dated 2014-08-31 14:25:36
My two sons are worried about their inheritance as their father has begun a relationship with a 50 year old Ukrainian (he is 73) The lady had lived with him for 2 years. Would they still inherit the house (approx. £750,000 in value) if he died and was unmarried to this lady. The contents of his will are not known to the boys. Can the lady claim and still live in the house under such circumstances?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-08-31 20:10:40
Hi Sarah,
Thanks for your question. You don't say where your sons' father lives, but assuming it is England or Wales, your ex husband's partner could sue the estate for a share of his money and property under the 'Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants') Act'. That would mean that she could (in theory at least) be awarded some of his assets. However, it is very unlikely she would receive his home. It's more likely that she would be awarded a lump sum. Even if your ex husband drew up a will and left the property to your sons, his partner could still challenge the will. It's a complex area, so it might be worth talking to a solicitor who specialises in wills and disputes about wills.
Posted by Molly price dated 2014-09-08 21:26:21
My sister arranged LPA for our father when diagnosed with Alzheimer's. From the minute it took effect she closed dad down! Had his driving licence removed so he couldn't see his friends! She had all his accounts and phone bills monitored, she fitted CCTV aparently in dad's best interest! After this she started giving him a allowance and removed all other monies. When I arranged to visit dad she took him out, meaning I had travelled 60 miles for nothing! Dad has now lost capacity, unfortunately, dad is now in a care home. I visited dad at care home, then as passing called in at dad's house to check on pets, I received a solicitors letter "banning me" from our family home. She is now clearing his house and selling all dad and mums belongings! I am not allowed to ask about this or anything else. She is refusing my calls. My concerns are that she and her husband have an IVA and will soon not have any where to live, likely to have there home repocessed? Not to mention her mental health iss
Posted by Heidi dated 2014-09-09 15:33:06
My husband's aunt died last year. For the last 6 months of her life she was in a care home as a result of a stroke. My husband's retired cousin took responsibility for her affairs and I presume was made a joint signatory for all her bank accounts. Since her death he has not made contact and the rest of the family are curious as to what became of her not inconsiderable current and deposit accounts. He seems to simply have taken everything. During a clear up of her belongings we came across a hand written will. It is 10 years old and not witnessed but it is clear that she wanted her money to be divided equally between all her surviving nephews and nieces. What can we do?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-09-14 17:58:37
Hi Molly,
Thanks for your question and sorry for the delay in replying. I am sorry to hear about what's happening. I would suggest that you get in touch with the Office of Public Guardian and the charity called Action on Elder Abuse. If what you say is correct, your sister is not carrying out her duties properly. Above everything else, when you act as an attorney you have to act in the person's interest whose money you are looking after. Here is a link that gives you more information about how to report your concerns https://www.gov.uk/report-concern-about-attorney-deputy - I do understand that it will do nothing to improve your relationship with your sister, but I think your main concern should be your father. If you want to talk through any other options, I'd suggest that you speak to someone at the charity called Action on Elder Abuse. If what you say is true, it sounds like your father could be suffering financial abuse. You can copy and paste this link: http://www.elderabuse
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-09-14 18:20:47
Hi Heidi,
Thanks for your question and sorry about the delay in replying. I am not quite sure what to suggest. I'm afraid that if your husband's aunt didn't leave a valid will, her children would inherit everything she had. She may have wanted all of her nephews and nieces to inherit, but if she didn't make a will that won't happen. Unfortunately, in England and Wales there is no requirement to register a will on a central database. You could try and ask her solicitor (if you know who he or she is) if she had a will.
Posted by Cheerfulchappy dated 2014-09-17 09:21:52
My father died and left the majority of his savings to his grand-daughter (around £30,000). He left a few thousand to his wife who has Alzheimer's. I am looking after my mother, but she will soon need to go into a care home. Can the authorities claim the inheritance from my grand-daughter for my mother's care?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-09-17 10:59:23
Hi Cheerfulchappy,
Thanks for your question. The local authority won't be able to take money that your father left for your daughter. It's your daughter's money and she's absolutely entitled to receive it. Only money and property that your mother owns will be assessed. However, if she has money in joint accounts with anyone else, I believe the local authority will normally assume she has 50% of it (unless the person she held the joint account with has died, in which case she would own 100% of the money). As with all the information on the website, it's for guidance only.
Posted by Michael dated 2014-10-02 08:23:26
Our widowed, childless brother left his estate to charity but left us siblings nothing. Can we challenge the will on the grounds he forgot us? He was 88 years old, but of fairly sound mind
Posted by Fairy dated 2014-10-02 21:48:51
Hi can anyone help please? My mum has left a large estate entirely to her husband of 10 years. She has this through of my dad's divorce. I am a single mother in rented accommodation. My brother is baffled awell. How does it make sense that he will have a large estate while her children/grandchildren struggle. Is she allowed to leave everything to this man? Thank you.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-10-04 12:15:07
Hi Fairy,
Thanks for your question. To an extent, your mum is free to leave whatever she wants to her husband. However, you may be able to challenge the will under the 'Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act. It's not straightforward so you would certainly have to take the advice of a lawyer who knows this area well. I don't know how well you and your mum get on (and I'm assuming she's still alive), but would it be possible to have a conversation with her about this? Some people do things without realising - or thinking through - the consequences for others. Good luck.
Posted by Jake dated 2014-10-07 18:59:32
My father made no provision for his wife in his will (married for 10 years). What percentage could she claim under the provision for dependence act and does she have to stay in the house eve. If it is in his name and she has made no contribution to its purchase or running costs
Posted by Jane dated 2014-10-08 11:09:10
My brother died 2 years ago and excluded me in his will. He left everything to our cousin and his tenant. I appreciate it's too late to do anything now, but would I have had a valid challenge to his will ?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-10-11 09:38:59
Hi Michael,
Thanks for your question. As you know from my other answers, I'm not a solicitor, but I think it wouldn't be straightforward for you to challenge your brother's will. You say he was of 'fairly sound mind'. The threshold for being of sound mind in order to write a will is lower than it is for some areas of mental capacity. The only way I think you could challenge the will is if you were dependent on him financially while he was alive and had an expectation this would continue after his death. My personal view is that if you believe it was his will to leave the money to charity, why would you want to go against his wishes? It's a complicated area and I'd suggest you talk to a solicitor who specialises disputes about probate.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-10-11 11:22:31
Hi Jane,
Thanks for your question. As a general rule, in England or Wales, someone can leave their money to who they wish. However, there are some exceptions which is why dependent children, husbands, wives and partners can claim. It's not impossible for others to make a claim but it's a complex area.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-10-11 11:32:01
Hi Jake,
Thanks for your question. It's hard to say what your late father's wife would get with any certainty. As a general rule, she would probably be able to claim the equivalent amount that she would be entitled to if she and your late father had got divorced. I don't know if your late father and wife were based in England/Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland. But if it's not Scotland, it doesn't really matter whether or not she paid towards the house (unless she signed a pre or post nup) as the starting point for divorce (and therefore possibly for a challenge to the will) would be to look at who needs what.
Posted by Lisa dated 2014-10-14 15:59:33
If the current Will is invalid because it was impossible at that date and time for her to sign it and the earlier Will still exists – can we revert to the earlier Will even if it is not dated? (I leave in Scotland and all Wills were made in Scotland)
Posted by Snoopy dated 2014-10-14 20:07:10
I have two minor children with a man who is married, to someone else, and he has other children of the marriage. If he does not provide for my children in his will, I understand we can only contest if thy are, or have been, financially dependent on him. He gives me a small amount each month, buys them clothes, takes us out etc, but I am their main provider by far. Does financially dependent mean wholly or substantially, or would any contribution count ?
Posted by Charlie74 dated 2014-10-15 08:48:22
Hi my Mum and Dad died 4 years ago and since then my Mums mum (my nan) has been cared for by her son (my uncle). My Mum and Dad spent all their lives caring and being with my nan and built up various businesses with my nan and grandad. My uncle was never involved although asked many times over the years. He lived away. The day after my mum died my uncle said all Nan's money and businesses go to him now. He has since made her sign a will to this effect although nan was apprehensive. He is her carer now as she's 92 yrs old and is very abrupt with her. I visit as often as I can. Can we contest the will and ask that mums share go to me and my brother as nan would have wanted. She has Alzheimer's. Pls advise. Thanks.
Posted by maddy dated 2014-10-15 14:19:38
Can my husbands ex contest his will for maintenance even though he has left his children inheritance?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-10-18 10:37:11
Hi Lisa,
Thanks for your question and sorry for the delay in replying. I would suggest that you talk to a solicitor about this, especially if you are worried that your mother's will could be challenged.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-10-19 09:13:50
Hi Snoopy,
Thanks for your question and sorry for the delay in responding. I am not a solicitor, but my understanding is that judges in these cases will look at whether, what's been set out in the will is unreasonable, and if so, what is reasonable. However, it does sound to me like he should be paying more child maintenance/support than he is. I don't know if this is something you've agreed between you or if he has refused to support his children further, but if he was supporting them financially in the way that the Child Maintenance Service would assess he should (the CMS has replaced the CSA), that could also have implications for the support he provided after his death. I would suggest that you talk to a solicitor about this - as I've said to everyone else asking a question - my replies are for general guidance only and are not designed to replace professional advice.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-10-19 10:01:07
Hi Maddy,
Thanks for your question and apologies for the delay in responding. As a general rule, if your husband's ex wife hasn't remarried at the time of his death she may be able to make a claim against his estate. However, that doesn't mean she would receive anything. A number of factors would be taken into account and the judge would look at whether the current will is unreasonable and, if so, what would be reasonable. Your husband could take steps to make sure his will isn't challenged (or to reduce the chances of it). You can read more by copying and pasting the link to this article: http://www.savvywoman.co.uk/c6-pages/c6s6.php?art_id=1098
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-10-19 10:09:09
Hi Charlie74,
Thanks for your question and sorry for the delay in responding. There are a couple of issues here, such as whether your nan has the mental capacity to draw up a new will and secondly whether she has been put under undue pressure to do so. Just because someone has Alzheimer's doesn't mean that they don't have the mental capacity to draw up a will - although if the Alzheimer's is no longer early stage, they may not have. Did your nan draw up a will before your uncle asked her to sign the will leaving everything to him? It would be useful if she has done so because you would need some evidence that she planned to leave her possessions and money to you. As I've said with all the answers, I'm not a probate dispute solicitor, so I'd recommend that you take advice from someone who is. Depending on the basis on which you challenge the will, you may only have six months from when probate is granted. I'm assuming, for the purposes of this answer that you're in England or Wales
Posted by Cloud dated 2014-11-01 23:20:28
Hi, my husband's dad died in 1999 in Scotland. He left half his house to his three children - the other half was owned by his wife (newish wife), who was also given life rent of the house. We assume that my husband's dad's half of the house will go to my husband and his siblings when the wife dies. But in practicality how will this happen? How will we know when she's died? She's remarried and lives in the house with her new husband and adult child. If she leaves her half of the house to her adult child can he still continue to live there thus cheating my husband out of his inheritance? The wife has refused contact with my husband and his siblings. Any advice gratefully appreciated.
Posted by wellyk9 dated 2014-11-02 22:33:51
My step father died in 2013 leaving his estate to my Mum and wrote a specific paragraph in his will that his two daughters should not benefit due to a lack of relationship for the last 25 years. As far as i am aware there was no discussion of his will between them and my mum at that time. I live in NZ. Now my mum has recently passed away and i am trying to sort out her estate and apply for grant of responsibility. My step sisters have been incredibly helpful but as soon as i start mentioning getting the house valued they email me with a very unpleasant email saying they are disappointed that i have not contacted them regarding their father and my mothers estate which they believed would be split between the three of us. My stepfathers estate passed to my my mum and stated in her will from her to me. She was adamant about this up unto her death. My step sisters are in their fifties and benefitted from the sale of my stepfathers house in about 1987 when he moved in with my mum. t
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-11-04 07:52:34
Hi Cloud,
Thanks for your question. This isn't my area of expertise so I'll try and check this out with a Scottish lawyer. I'm assuming that you have a copy of your father in law's will? Do you know who the executor nominates are? It might be worth a quick phone call to the solicitors who drew this will up to explain the situation and see what, if anything, they suggest. I will update this section if I find out anything helpful.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-11-04 08:49:18
Hi Wellyk9,
Thanks for your question. Unfortunately, the word count on the comments box cut off your question. Could you finish the question in another comments box? Could you also tell me where the will was drawn up? I'm assuming England or Wales, but it would be useful to know.
Posted by chris dated 2014-11-10 16:27:23
my mother died 14 years ago, my father died recently i have a older brother a younger sister and a younger half sister, i fell out with my father not long after my mother died, he was a terrible father and i was the one who opened my mouth and told him so, about 12 months ago he informed my older brother that he has done a will and cut me out of it because of the fall out and me not going to see him ( he's been ill for sometime now and was put in to a nursing home 3 years ago)anyway like i said he has cut me out of his will, i have never had anything to do with my step sister and i have fallen out with my full sister quite a while ago now and i definitely think that my father was coersed in to making this will by my sister and half sister, there isn't a lot of money to be dispersed about £10,000 but it is the principle and i begrudge my sister and my half sister my share that i feel i should have, also my sister has borrowed a £1000 out of the savings and didn't pay it back so i feel
Posted by Shan1974 dated 2014-11-15 23:02:20
Hi, my mum passed away 4 years ago. My dad met another women just over 3 years ago. Shortly after he made a will leaving his house and any money to myself and my 4 brothers. He lives between his house and his "partners house" dad pays his own bills and she pays hers.. If my dad was to pass away could she contest his will?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-11-17 07:53:51
Hi Chris,
Thanks for your question. I'm sorry to hear you fell out with your father and sister and half sister. As I've said when I've answered other questions - I'm not a solicitor so this is for general guidance only. There are two thoughts that spring to mind. Firstly, your father was under no obligation to leave any of you anything - as long as you were financially independent at the time of his death (which I'm assuming you were) and he didn't live in Scotland where the rules are a bit different. If you think your father was coerced into making a will, that's different, but you would have to get evidence of this. I'm afraid that - rightly or wrongly - many parents cut their children out of their will when they fall out. If you want to try and show he was coerced, you may face a costly - and emotionally draining - legal action. Talk to a solicitor if you want to take this further. Most solicitors I know advise against challenging a will even where much bigger amounts are involv
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-11-17 08:02:42
Hi Shan1974,
Thanks for your question. I think there are two issues here and, as I've said to everyone leaving a question, this is for general guidance as I'm not a solicitor. Firstly, might she have a case? I'm assuming you're in England or Wales, but tell me if you're elsewhere. Basically if she lives with your father for two years before his death, she can bring a claim. I'm assuming 'lives with' means that they share the same house and don't have other addresses, but there may be some grey areas if she and your father were to spend more time together. Secondly, depending on what she is like, some people try and challenge a will even if they know they won't have a case as they believe it will mean the other party settles. If you think she could take that approach, it may be an issue. Your father could write a new will to say that he specifically does not leave anything to his partner (or whatever he would like to leave her) - or he could leave her something but say she would los
Posted by lostfaith dated 2014-11-22 21:05:21
I estranged myself from my father following events that resulted in my then partner almost dying and my brother being sent to prison. I have recently found out that my father died in 2009. I contacted the woman who I thought to be his partner, who now claims to have been his carer and nothing more. She told me that he died of a massive coronary and that my brother died of cancer 3 years later. I got a copy of my brothers death certificate, but there seemed to be no record of my father. I rang her back a few more times, following more fruitless searches for my father's death certificate - she was very cold towards me and even asked me outright why I wanted a copy of his death certificate. She did say that he died abroad in Spain and named the area, but has given me 2 different dates and so I still don't know exactly where and when he died. I feel so distraught and just want to no what happened to my Dad.
Posted by cabbyanny dated 2014-11-24 10:58:59
If a married couple make different wills and die together how is it decided which will takes effect
Posted by caza dated 2014-11-24 16:57:10
My mother has left me her house and contents and I have three siblings so she has left four of us a share of money in bank as I have lived in the house all my life and now look after her can they contest this
Posted by mrs wood dated 2014-11-25 13:41:01
hello savvy tip, my mother in law left everything in her will to my sisterinlaw she didnt leave my husband anything, but sadly my sister inlaaw as recently died, my mother in law says she isnt making another will, she says if my husband wants it he will need to put a claim on it when she dies, were does my husband stand on this, she is 86yrs and very stubborn regards mrs w wood
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-11-25 15:53:34
Hi Lost Faith,
Thanks for your question and I'm sorry for the delay in replying. I can understand that it must be hard for you not to know when your father died (even though you had fallen out) and to find out that your brother has died as well. I don't know how you can get more information as it's not really an area I cover on the website. I would have thought that the British Embassy in Spain or British consular offices would be a good place to start. There's a leaflet produced by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office which may be useful. You can download it by copying and pasting this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/193657/Death_Overseas_web_13.pdf
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-11-25 16:01:19
Hi CabbyAnny,
If a couple makes different wills and then they both die together, anything they own in their own name (rather than jointly) will be distributed as it says in their individual will. If they own property jointly but as tenants in common, the same applies. If there's joint property and/or savings, then my understanding is that the eldest of the couple is assumed to have died first. I haven't checked this is the case, but that's what I believe would happen. I don't know if there are different rules on this in Scotland - I'm assuming you're from England or Wales...
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-11-25 16:09:41
Hi Mrs Wood,
I think the answer would depend on how your mother drew up her will. If she'd left everything to her daughter and it didn't say who her property and assets should go to if her daughter died, it would normally go towards the 'residue of the estate' (namely, what's left over after any bequests have been made. It's a shame your mother in law won't talk about it but if she refuses to deal with it, your husband may well have to consider challenging the will after her death. I'm afraid that quite a few parents decide they don't want to leave their money to one or more of their children.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-11-25 16:10:59
Hi Caza,
Thanks for your question. Without knowing a lot more about your situation, it's possible your sisters could challenge the will. However, it's often a very expensive process so not something they should do lightly.
Posted by cazza dated 2014-11-25 16:46:44
My mother wrote her will about 15 years ago and was of sound mind witnedesed by a few people she and solicitor say as I have live here all my life paid money towards household and this is my home she wants me to have the house and contents and has savings which will be shared out with my siblings as they have not stayed in the house since 16 year old can they contest this worried about it
Posted by james dated 2014-12-23 14:06:43
Am I entitled to know where my 4 children's inheritance is kept (trust funds etc)as the executor is dishonest and I am worried he is using my kids money
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-12-24 09:49:41
Hi James,
Thanks for your comment. Do you mean the executors (those sorting out the will and legal affairs) or the trustees (those who manage money left in trust)? I don't what information you were given when the trust was set up or what the arrangements were, but the bottom line is that the trust must be run for the benefit of those who will receive the money in it. If you are concerned, there are steps you can take. It's something I'm planning to write about, but in the meantime if you are concerned about an executor you can contact a solicitor who can tell you what your next steps should be. It's much harder to remove a trustee.
Posted by Betty dated 2014-12-27 09:28:56
Hi my Grandmother died three years ago. She suffered from dementia. She had an original will written with my Grandad (he is alsp deceased) this will included all grandchildren and children. A year before she died she changed her will to include just children (we were unaware of thos until her house sold recently). As mentioned before she did suffer with dementia and she went with her daughter to change the will. Would there be grounds to contest the will or is it too late as they have all had the money from the house sale?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-12-29 18:24:36
Hi Betty,
Thanks for your question. If you suspect that your grandmother didn't have mental capacity to make the will, you may be able to challenge it. I would suggest that you take legal advice before you do anything as challenging a will is much harder if it happens after the estate has been distributed and not straight or soon after the death. However, if your grandmother had dementia at the time she made the new will, it is possible (and could be likely, depending on the severity of her dementia) that she didn't fully understand what she was doing.
Posted by lou winters dated 2015-01-05 15:10:09
My parents divorced 20 + years ago and they have both since remarried. I have not had a relationship with my father since he left. Are myself and my sister (his only children) entitled to anything when he dies ?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-01-06 09:05:28
Hi Lou,
Thanks for your question. I don't know if you're in England, Wales or Scotland - but I'll assume you're in England or Wales. Your father can leave his money to whoever he wants. However, his wife or dependent children would be able to challenge the will so that financial provision is made for them. Others can challenge a will but it's generally harder for them to make a case. Be aware that if you do challenge your father's will, it can be a costly and complicated process.
Posted by Megan dated 2015-01-10 10:29:59
My mother died. My father later married again. She already had two children but no children by my father. She has died. Dad is in a home and likely to die soon. We think the will will have been made out in total favour of Dad's 2 step children. Dad was easily bullied and would acquiesce to keep the peace. Dad wouldn't remember if we asked him. How do we stand?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-01-11 18:37:19
Hi Megan,
Thanks for your question. My understanding is that you probably can't do anything until probate has been granted, after which you will be able to see a copy of the will as it becomes a public document. If you want to go down this route, you could apply for a caveat to stop probate from taking place. However, it's normally done if someone knows that a will has been changed, rather than because they suspect it may be the case. As your father is unlikely to remember what he's done, I think your options may be limited but, as with all replies, this is just general guidance. I would recommend that you talk to a solicitor who specialises in contentious probate and find out what they say.
Posted by durdur dated 2015-01-17 17:48:53
My wife grandfather recently passed away. She was one of two grandchildren. They had both been due to receive 50/50 of Estate and we have copies of old will which states this. For some reason the grandad decided (for no reason) to stop talking to my wife about a year ago and has left entire estate to other grandchild. He had been sick with heart trouble for some time and seems he became angry and took it out on wife. The other grandchild has no intention of sharing even though they were best friends and was wifes bridesmaid etc. Do you think we have any grounds to contest?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-01-18 13:37:53
Hi Durdur,
Thanks for your question. I'm afraid that I can't say whether or not you'd have grounds to contest the will. The rules, assuming the the person who was due to inherit was not financially dependent on the one who died, are complicated. It sounds like your wife's grandfather might have changed his mind for not very logical reasons. If it's a substantial amount of money at stake, I'd suggest you make an appointment with a solicitor who specialises in disputes about wills and find out what their view is. These cases can be emotionally draining and costly.
Posted by margo dated 2015-01-19 20:33:57
My mother made false allegations against me, in my mothers solicitors letter it also states that I am beneficiary to her will, am I entitled to request a copy of the will?
Posted by Davidg dated 2015-01-20 13:44:57
My dad died but between my mam and sisters took it soon themselves to not let me see my dad or go to the funeral and now won't talk to me about his will what can I do
Posted by durdur dated 2015-01-21 18:27:05
Hi Sarah Thank you for replying its much appreciated. I think the not very logical reasons are that her father and granddad had a bit of a falling out and he has cut out my wife to get at her dad. Roughly how much is costly? Are we talking hundreds or thousands. I am led to believe the estate is around quarter million.
Posted by honey dated 2015-01-21 19:27:00
Hi i got married and lved with my husband for 2 years, his house is in his name, he has made a will before i met him that his only son recieves everthing, i work and put into the house, would i end up on the st? Would i have no claim in anything?
Posted by holly dated 2015-01-22 22:29:36
My mum was living with a man who had been her partner for some years, but then they started living separately (him in one room her in another). She travelled often for work and left him to look after the house, although she paid all the bills for the house. Now that she has died she left a will stating me as sole beneficiary but he is claiming he was a dependant and is contesting the will. He says he paid all bills and work within her flat. He also claims he paid for all the goods in her flat. The man has been unemployed and claiming benefits for over 30 years while mum worked full time earning a good wage. We have her will and paperwork stating she was single and had no dependants, but can he still get a share of her flat which was solely owned in her name?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-01-25 11:26:10
Hi Margo,
Thanks for your question. You don't have the right to see the will, as a beneficiary, although in practice many beneficiaries do get to see the will. You can get hold of a copy of the will once probate has been granted - that's because anyone has a legal right to see a will once probate has been granted (that's when it becomes what's called a 'public document'). There's information on how to get hold of a copy of a will in my article, which you can read by copying and pasting this link into the browser bar http://savvywoman.co.uk/c6-pages/c6s6.php?art_id=1118
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-01-25 11:34:52
Hi honey,
Thanks for your question. I don't know if you live in England/Wales/Northern Ireland or Scotland as the rules are different in different parts of the UK. In England or Wales, you may be able to bring a claim against your partner's estate once you and your partner have lived together for two years or more. In Scotland you may be able to make a claim against your partner but you have to apply to the court within six months of your partner's death.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-01-25 11:41:56
Hi Holly,
Thanks for your question. The situation you describe is quite complicated, so I recommend that you take advice from a solicitor who specialises in disputes about probate/contested wills. There are cases where someone can show they were financially dependent on someone else (even though that person may not think of them as a 'dependant') and where they have been able to challenge a will. The fact that they were not living together at partners when she died may be significant. I'm not a solicitor (as I've said on previous posts) and this is just for general information and not advice. I do think it's worth talking to a solicitor and to find out where you may stand.
Posted by chris dated 2015-02-03 18:07:16
My brother was 31 when he was killed in a climbing accident in the Himalayas in 2003,he wasn't going to leave a will because obviously he thought he'd be coming back but my mum talked him into leaving one.He was a very wealthy chartered quantity surveyor.Without really thinking it through,he left almost his whole estate which included a large house in Tunbridge Wells,cars,motorbikes,money in his bank accounts etc etc which would be now valued at well over £1,000,000 to his girlfriend of less than 2 years who had 2 children by a previous relationship.He left a clause in the will that if this lady should ever sell the house or become deceased,whichever is first,then the proceeds would be split between her 2 children and my niece and nephew by my sister who i no longer have any contact with.My mum and dad were so devastated by his loss that they were in no fit state to contest the will although they felt it was so unfair that they received nothing from their son's life and have since bot
Posted by chris dated 2015-02-03 18:09:40
My brother was 31 when he was killed in a climbing accident in the Himalayas in 2003,he wasn't going to leave a will because obviously he thought he'd be coming back but my mum talked him into leaving one.He was a very wealthy chartered quantity surveyor.Without really thinking it through,he left almost his whole estate which included a large house in Tunbridge Wells,cars,motorbikes,money in his bank accounts etc etc which would be now valued at well over £1,000,000 to his girlfriend of less than 2 years who had 2 children by a previous relationship.He left a clause in the will that if this lady should ever sell the house or become deceased,whichever is first,then the proceeds would be split between her 2 children and my niece and nephew by my sister who i no longer have any contact with.My mum and dad were so devastated by his loss that they were in no fit state to contest the will although they felt it was so unfair that they received nothing from their son's life and have since bot
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-02-05 07:19:19
Hi Chris,
Thank you for your question. I am really sorry to hear about your brother's death. That must have been incredibly tough for you and the rest of the family at the time. I do think it would be very hard to challenge the will now so many years after your brother's death. As there is a lot of money at stake (and as I'm not a solicitor), I would suggest you speak to a solicitor who specialises in contentious probate, if only so you know there's no more you can do.
Posted by Leftout dated 2015-02-08 20:34:00
My nan has 3 grandchildren me and 2 others, Iv just found out Iv been left out of the will, my nan told me on several actions her house she's leaving it to me and my 2 cousins, can I testif the will?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-02-09 09:14:07
Hi Leftout,
Thanks for your question. In broad terms, people can leave money to whoever they want when they die and only some people (generally husbands, wives, civil partners and children who depend on the person financially) can challenge a will under the Inheritance Act (although there are some others who may be able to - it's a grey area). The other reason for challenging a will is if you think that your nan was coerced into making the will or that she wasn't of sound mind when she did so. I'm afraid that sometimes people say one thing to family members and make a will that says something very different. But I would suggest you talk to a solicitor who specialises in wills and contentious probate (disputes about wills) to get some advice about your situation.
Posted by Left out dated 2015-02-09 10:05:13
Hi, a few years ago my nan did tell me that my auntie said I shouldn't get any money from her as il get my dads money, my dad has a mental problem and once who ever it my concern has finished with his astate there my not be any thing left, but my dad could have years to live and very sadly my nan has gone, I was very close to my nan as both my parents aren't that good, so you can see why I'm a bit confused as to why Iv been left out. Do you think I should seak leagle advice or I won't get any where?
Posted by lisa dated 2015-02-09 11:08:03
Hi my grandads wife died recently and they left everything to my mum witch is my grandads daughter and her stepbrother witch is my late grandma's son my mum has died since so will her stepbrother get it all
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-02-10 07:29:47
Hi Lisa,
Thanks for your question. The answer depends on several factors. I don't know how soon after your step-grandmother's death your mother died. If it was within a short period, your step-grandmother's will may have specified that the money and property should pass to someone else (some wills do spell this out, others don't). If, say, your step grandmother died a year or two before your mother, then what happens to money and property your mother owned (including what she inherited from your step grandmother) is likely to pass to you or others depending on her own will (if she had one) or intestacy laws if she didn't have a will. If there was no will, the husband, wife or civil partner normally inherit (some or all of the money) or, if there's no husband, wife or civil partner, the children of the person who died inherit. There's a strict order laid down by law. You can read more by copying and pasting this link: http://www.savvywoman.co.uk/c6-pages/c6s6.php?art_id=56
Posted by Rachael dated 2015-02-11 19:36:29
My grandmother died 3years ago and left her house to her three sins, just as the money came through my father died..and his wife got the third of the house (around 80grand) I as his only child haven't reived a penny of it...does anyone know where I stand
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-02-12 09:27:36
Hi Rachael,
Thanks for your question. If your father didn't have a will, his wife would inherit the first £250,000 of his property and money, plus personal possessions and half the remainder. Obviously, if he had a will everything should be divided according to the will. It is possible that your grandmother's will had a clause in it saying that if her son didn't survive for 28 days after inheriting the third of the house, it would pass to someone else. Not all wills contain this clause. You should see if you can get hold of a copy of your grandmother's will. But once the money is your father's (assuming there's no survivorship clause) it would be passed on according to his will or intestacy rules.
Posted by Beverley dated 2015-02-12 14:29:47
My Dad died nearly 4yrs ago in Ireland , he is british, he left now will and the house was in his sole name, my brother and I were asked to sign docs so everything could be put in step mums name as in irsih law a third goes into the siblings name if no will left. He had 2 siblings in Ireland and my brother and myself, I believe we were meant to sign/see documents but we never received them, so I believe that both my brother and myself where knowingly not put on the documents, I have believed this to be the case for some time but never investigated it as was quite upset that they could have willingly known and done this.....
Posted by Pollyanna dated 2015-02-14 15:23:54
Sister won't show me brothers will says she's executor, she got 10,000 I got 1000 please help .
Posted by Mm dated 2015-02-14 18:09:30
My brother and half sister are trying to contest my fathers will, he left his eastate to my step brother and myself who have looked after him between us years. They have not seen my dad in over 20 years , can they do this even though it was against my dads wishes ?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-02-15 08:14:26
Hi Beverley,
Thanks for your comment and I'm sorry to hear that you think you were knowingly left off a document. I'm afraid I know very little about Irish intestacy law or how you might be able to challenge this decision - if you can. I would suggest you talk to a lawyer who specialises in this area if you want to try and take legal action.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-02-15 08:17:18
Hi Pollyanna,
I don't know whether the will was made in England or Wales, or in another part of the UK. Under English and Welsh law you don't have a right to see a copy of the will just because you're due to inherit something. I've written an article called 'Getting hold of a copy of a will' which explains what you can do. You can read it by copying and pasting the link into your browser bar: http://savvywoman.co.uk/c6-pages/c6s6.php?art_id=1118
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-02-15 08:49:06
Hi Mm,
Thanks for your question. I'm not a disputed wills lawyer and, as with all other answers, this is for general guidance only. Solicitors who work in this area tell me it's not uncommon for a family member to try and challenge a will even if they've been advised not to, because they will feel very emotional/angry about the fact they've been left out/inherited less or whatever the issue is. As a general rule, it's quite hard for adult children who weren't financially dependent on the person who died to successfully challenge a will, as long as the person leaving the will did so while they were of sound mind, and the will was correctly drawn up. There's an article I've written called 'How to stop your will from being challenged', which you may find useful. You can read it by copying and pasting this link into your browser bar: http://savvywoman.co.uk/c6-pages/c6s6.php?art_id=1098
Posted by Anon dated 2015-02-15 15:07:19
I have a really difficult situation. It's quite complicated but I will try to stick to the point, but i'm desperate for help. 2 years ago my Nan had a will drawn up leaving everything to my uncle and my mum (her two children) because she was getting very sick (she was very elderly). A year ago she was moved into a home and my mum and uncle had to essentially make this decision for her as the doctor said she was "incapable of making decisions for herself" this included a Do not Resucitate order etc. In May 2014, my mum died extremely suddenly. There was no warning, she was only 55 (it was a massive stroke) and completely unexpected. At this point my nan was in a home and she was dying. At the point of my mums death my uncle stopped visiting us and basically cut contact with us. My nan died 4 months after my mum. We didn't really know where we stood as we felt that mum's share would have gone to us children, and in the end we had to serve him because he wouldn't acknowledg
Posted by Anon dated 2015-02-15 15:09:17
cont..... acknowledge us and was spending money on holidays, home improvements etc even though Probate hadn't been granted. To our absolute HORROR and heartbreak we have now learned that he went to my nan in July of this year and got her to change her will cutting us out of everything so he gets everything. As you can imagine we are devastated. We know my nan wasn't of "sound mind" (she was seeing ghosts etc and was only lucid parts of the day) but we KNOW she wouldn't have wanted this. My mum did everything for my nan and grandfather. They were best friends and my uncle didn't do anything for her - they barely spoke. My nan made us promise that when she died we wouldn't let my uncle's wife near her or her things but yet, they have this will which is signed off by a solicitor. We want to fight for what is right. I will happily put every penny of the estate into court costs just to prove that what has happened is wrong but I wonder what our chances are. Also, I wonder
Posted by Anon dated 2015-02-15 15:10:11
cont... Also, I wonder what the implications are of spending lots of money of my nans savings when probate hadn't been granted... is this not theft? My nan outlived my mum by 4 months - surely that stands for something? Please help x Sorry it's long - i'm desperate to do right by my Mum
Posted by Mariejane dated 2015-02-16 12:42:39
When I was married my Mother put my then husband as executor of her will. I am now divorced and have no contact with him but my Mother is now terminally ill and I really feel uncomfortable with him being in charge of everything Can he still be executor and if so will it be costly to get this changed
Posted by Amy dated 2015-02-16 20:56:48
My daughter and her husband have made a will and stated that if anything happens to them, myself and my husband and the in laws will take care of our grandchild. Money that would be left would be for my grandchild when she/he is twenty five, however my daughter made a request to the solicitor that half of the money would be split between myself and the in laws to bring my grandchild up. The solicitor said that they didn't need to request this as we would be able to have access to monies anyway is this true?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-02-17 09:22:42
Hi Anon,
I'm sorry to hear about the death of your grandmother and the unexpected death of your mother soon after. That must be very hard to cope with. As regards your problem about your uncle getting your gran to change her will, if there was medical evidence that she couldn't make decisions for herself (such as the opinion of her GP or consultant), she is unlikely to have been capable of drawing up a will or agreeing to its contents. For a challenge to a will to succeed you would have to be able to provide evidence of this. There are two options if you cannot pay for legal advice upfront: firstly, you can find a 'contested probate' solicitor who works on a 'no win, no fee' basis. Although many don't do this anymore, some do. The other option is if you have legal expenses insurance on your household insurance policy, it is worth checking whether this would cover this type of legal action. You would have to check with the policy provider. Whether or not you are successful may well
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-02-17 09:45:42
Hi Mariejane,
Thanks for your question. If I were you I would definitely suggest that your mother changes the executor from your ex husband. For a start, there's quite a lot of work involved in being an executor and he may no longer wish to do this. I believe you can remove an executor and appoint a new one by adding a codecil to a will, which is cheaper than having a new will but I'd suggest your mother takes advice from a solicitor about the best way to do this. You can read more about changing a will in my article: http://savvywoman.co.uk/c6-pages/c6s6.php?art_id=811
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-02-17 09:53:08
Hi Amy,
Thanks for your question. I'm not a solicitor, and as with all the answers, this one is for guidance only. I would have thought your daughter would have to specify who gets what. If she leaves money for her daughter (in trust), the trustees have a legal duty - as I understand it - to act in the best interests of the child/trust. So I don't believe they can help themselves to money that's meant for your grandchild. I may be wrong but that's my understanding.
Posted by JoJo dated 2015-02-18 10:48:06
My mum in law was left money by her brother in law that she had cared for all her life. He made a will leaving her everything and his nephew wants to contest the will. Her Brother- in - law done a home made will and a solicitor has confirmed that it is a legal document, however 6 years later after the will was done he had dementia, will this be enough grounds to contest it? And what should my mum in law do?
Posted by stevieloulee dated 2015-02-18 19:44:19
My partners father has just passed away. His mother and father split when her was 5 he is now 28 and they were never married. He was close to his father but unfortionaulty he lived in italy and we are in the uk. Only a few days after the passing his mother "finds" a will stating everything goes to her. She wont let him see the will. Will not tell him what solicitors she has filed it with only that the solicitor that did it originalky was her bestfriend which the father had never met as far as we knew as we talked about them to him before and he said he didnt know them. And she couldnt file the will before she went to see her last weekend. I know this is very circumstancal but alarmbells are ringing. We dont know it there is a more up to date will as rhis one was made 25 years ago and she is already filing everything and working out his esate. And i am pretty sure she hasnt told the solicitor involve that there may be another will so they wont look for one. Please help him. Its killing
Posted by stevieloulee dated 2015-02-18 19:57:31
cont.... him. I know this is advise only but we just need a glimmer of hope. He doesnt get on with his mother especially after the scene she caused at the funeral and she has threatened to not give anything to him. Not even the watch he bought him for his birthday. Thanks in advance
Posted by Tom dated 2015-02-20 19:51:01
My mother has died and would like to stop my mothers sister from using her bank account.....don't know what bank or building society she is with...
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-02-22 10:38:35
Hi Tom,
Thanks for your question. Without knowing more about your situation I'm afraid I can't give you much help. Does your mother's sister have access as a joint signatory to the account or did she have power of attorney? Was your sister an executor of the will? If you can find out more about who your mum might have banked with or tell me what your concern is and what access you think your mum's sister may have to her account, I may be able to help.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-02-22 10:43:36
Hi Jojo,
Thanks for your question. I'm sorry to hear about the fact that your mum in law's brother in law's nephew wants to contest the will. I'm not a solicitor so, as with all answers, this is for general guidance. If the will was properly drawn up and is a valid document, it can't be challenged on the basis of being incorrectly drawn up. The fact that your mum in law's brother in law developed dementia six years after he wrote his will is irrelevant. What's important is that he had the mental capacity to do so at the time. Someone with early stages of dementia may be able to draw up a will (as long as they understand what they're doing and the implications of doing so). If your mum in law's brother in law's nephew is a financially independent adult, as a general rule it will be hard for him to challenge the will. Challenging a will can be very costly but sometimes people threaten to do so because they feel angry that they weren't left any money or property by the person who died
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-02-22 11:12:03
Hi Stevieloulee,
,Thanks for your question. I'm sorry to hear about the death of your partner's father and what's happened with his mother. It's difficult for me, as someone who's not a solicitor, to give you more than general guidance. I would suggest that your partner talks to a solicitor to find out if there is anything he can do. Most will do a consultation for a fixed fee. You could ask for a caveat to be lodged. This will stop the process of probate while you try and establish if there is another will. I'm afraid that there's no central register of wills in England and Wales, so you may have to do a bit of detective work. I've written an article called 'getting hold of a copy of a will', which may help. You can read this by copying and pasting this link into your browser bar: http://www.savvywoman.co.uk/c6-pages/c6s6.php?art_id=1118 I'm afraid that only the executors have the right to see the will, beneficiaries don't (and neither do those who aren't due to inherit). Having s
Posted by jewelseven dated 2015-02-25 23:49:33
if a will has had probate,can you still contest it ?as i wasnt told everything about my mothers will and one minute i was in it and 3 months later i wasnt ,also she was on liquid morphine and under a mental health team my sister who was the executor wont discuss anything with me ,just to add she has my share!!!
Posted by nigel dated 2015-02-28 12:12:37
Saw your comment "If you’re an adult son or daughter. You would have the right to bring a claim but (in England and Wales) you’d only succeed if you could show that you’d been dependent on your parent financially. " i have been witness to a close friend inheriting £200,000 from his Dad but his sister only received £10,000 as she had fallen out with her Dad some 5 years before. She and her husband, early 60s, earning £70,000 a years, wanted half, and started legal action, even though they were not ever financially dependent on the deceased Dad. The argument simply ' It's not fair I want half'. She turned down £40,000 and I have now seen £100,000 go to solicitors and to make it worse if the brother upped the offer to £50,000 to keep it out of court he would have to pay ALL the fees on top of the £50,000 and so end up with less than his sister. The law ALLOWS the action even though all the guidance means the sister should not succeed. There is the unpleasant assumption that
Posted by Laura Cohen dated 2015-03-01 11:37:11
My brother who passed away last week made a will in 2001 after he divorced his first wife. He then remarried the same woman again and divorced her again. It is his only will. Does it still stand under the law?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-03-02 11:08:43
Hi Laura,
Thanks for your question and I'm sorry to hear of the death of your brother. The answer is rather complicated (as with all answers, this is for general guidance and shouldn't be taken in place of professional advice). If the will was drawn up in England or Wales, it becomes invalid after marriage, but is not invalidated after divorce (although any money/property due to pass to the spouse or civil partner is not passed onto them). The only time a will isn't invalidated after marriage is if it was drawn up close to the marriage and had a clause saying that the will was drawn up in anticipation of X's marriage to Y'. In Scotland marriage doesn't invalidate a will and divorce doesn't affect any gifts made to the spouse or civil partner. Even if your brother's ex-wife can't inherit because the will isn't valid, she may well be able to challenge the will on the basis that she hadn't been provided for (under the Inheritance (provision for Family and Dependants Act)).
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-03-02 11:12:00
Hi Jewelseven,
Thanks for your question. Yes, if probate has been granted you can still challenge a will, although there may be strict time limits, depending on whether you are challenging it for not being valid (because your mum didn't have mental capacity at the time) or because you think you should have been provided for under the Inheritance (provision for Family and Dependants Act). I'd suggest you get hold of a copy of the will as a first step. You can do this once probate has been granted. Then, before you do anything else, take advice from a solicitor who specialises in disputes about wills. You can read more in my article called Getting hold of a copy of a will http://www.savvywoman.co.uk/c6-pages/c6s6.php?art_id=1118
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-03-02 11:15:21
Hi Nigel,
Thanks for your comment. My understanding is that - as a general rule - judges don't like cases being brought by non-dependent adult children. But I am also aware that some children (adults) challenge wills when there seems to be little legal basis for the challenge. The situation you describe sounds very difficult for your close friend. Unfortunately, death and money seem to be an almost explosive mix, where some families are concerned.
Posted by joe dated 2015-03-13 05:12:32
mum passed not so long ago and left money to her sons and daughter she named us all and the amount she is leaving us i need to know do we all have to sign before it is released thankyou joe
Posted by gizmo dated 2015-03-14 11:11:53
A close friend recently passed away i very much believe my daughter of 13 left in the will,excutor refuse to give me information although been toldmy daughter a beneficary ...have told me they intend to sell house involved wiv the deceased can they do this ....is there anyway can find out info of the will for my daughters future any help very much appreciated
Posted by michelle dated 2015-03-14 19:19:41
my parents are very wealthy , I am one of two daughters , I left home on my 18th birthday some 22 years ago , if when they pass away they leave me nothing ( I think my grandparents left me money but I was never given it and I think my father as their only child kept it but I have no proof of this ) can I contest the will ?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-03-15 10:55:16
Hi Joe,
Thanks for your question. I'm sorry to hear about your mum dying, but if she left a will it will be up to the executors (who will have been named in the will) to sort everything out. I'm not sure whether you're saying you've been named as beneficiaries in the will or as executors. If you've just been named as someone who will inherit, you don't need to worry about doing anything as the executors will sort it all out.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-03-15 10:59:18
Hi Gizmo,
Thanks for your question. In law an executor doesn't have to show the will to a beneficiary. Solicitors I've spoken to have told me that if someone has what's called a 'residuary bequest' which is when they get left a percentage of the money that was left, rather than a fixed sum (such as £25,000, for example), then they would show them the will. But if they were left a fixed sum, they wouldn't show them the will. You can put in a 'standing request to see a copy of the will once probate has been granted. You can read more in my article called 'How to get hold of a copy of the will' http://www.savvywoman.co.uk/c6-pages/c6s6.php?art_id=1118 - by copying and pasting this link into your browser bar.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-03-15 11:01:32
Hi Michelle,
Thanks for your question. Yes, you may well be able to contest your parents' will although that doesn't necessarily mean you will succeed. I can't give you advice about your chances of success as I'm not a solicitor but I would suggest that you take advice before you challenge the will as these cases can be emotionally and financially costly.
Posted by jamie1994 dated 2015-03-16 12:44:54
My grandfather passed away when I was just a child but left me some money in his will now I about to turn 21 I would like to know how I got about getting my inheritance could someone help me out
Posted by Chris dated 2015-03-16 18:12:28
My dad is contesting his dads will. My dads dad (my grandad) died a few weeks ago and his re-married wife died 2 months prior to him. His dad only left him 5% from his share and the house to be split bewtween myself& my brother (25% each) and his deceased wifes brother (50%) He is contesting the brother of his step mum saying he should not get 50%, as its not right as him being the son should have been left more? Surely my dad has no grounds, as they were sound of mind when they made the will? Thanks, Chris.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-03-23 07:57:51
Hi Jamie,
Thanks for your question. Do you know who the trustees are? They would have been appointed to run the trust on your behalf? They have legal duties in relation to the trust. I will try and find out more about how you get money out of a trust but I would have thought the first step would be to contact the trustees. They could be family members or a solicitor.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-03-23 08:04:16
Hi Chris,
Thanks for your question. I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather dying and that your dad is contesting the will. In very broad terms (and this is general information not advice for you), you're right in that if your grandfather drew up his will and was of sound mind and not bullied or coerced into leaving money to one particular person, the will should be valid. Some family members can bring a claim if they have not been provided for, but it's generally the husband, wife or civil partner, children (if they are still financially dependant on their parent) and/or someone's partner (in some circumstances). Other people can challenge a will but it's all a bit of a grey area. In my experience, solicitors normally advise caution because it can be so emotionally and financially costly. Has your dad taken advice from a solicitor?
Posted by Johnb dated 2015-03-25 17:10:11
My cousin died and his will left everything to his brother who died 1 year before him so the solicitor has contacted the nearest relatives but now a work colleague of my cousin is claiming she was very close to my cousin and should receive a share of his estate. We know she was not close to him what can we do to stop her claim without going to court and spending all of his estate on lawyer fees
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-03-26 08:17:25
Hi JohnbThanks for your comment. I'm sorry to hear that you find yourself caught up in a situation like this. If your cousin's work colleague is trying it on then that's pretty poor behaviour. I don't know if you've already talked to a solicitor but I think it's probably worth doing. Your cousin's work colleague would have to have specific reasons for challenging the will. Just because he or she was close to your cousin certainly wasn't enough. I'd suggest you talk to two or three solicitors who specialise in wills and contentious probate and take it from there.
Posted by Christine dated 2015-03-26 17:21:44
Hi, I was going through my late mothers papers and found my great grandfathers will which I believe was leaving my mother (after her father, then her mother)his shares. I don't have a copy of my grandparents will but my mother was very upset as she did not receive anything from them, she was their only child, I don't know if she ever tried to contest this but my grandfathers will clearly states that his shares (I have a copy of his purchases for them) are to be given to my mother. Sorry is this making sense. Anyway it was a long time ago, 1970's when my grandparents died. Is there anyway I can find out details of their will and whether it was actually legal for them to cut my mother out. My mother took care of them both when they got old and took them into her home to do so. I see no reason why they should have done this to her. Thanks for your help
Posted by Kristy dated 2015-03-27 02:39:43
My dad passed away, & I am his only child, is there any way I can be put in charge of his estate?
Posted by polly3 dated 2015-04-01 16:20:17
My father has mild to moderate mixed dementia at 90yrs. I have sole power of attorney and I am executor of his will. He keeps talking about changing his will to allow my sister to live in his flat when when he dies. His will is set up for it to be left 50\50. His solicitor knows he has dementia. If my dad wishes to do this will his solicitor allow it and if so can I contest upoin death.
Posted by deadbra dated 2015-04-02 17:27:18
My mum died in 2013 her husband my step father took everything and remarried very quickly. Can i find out exactly how much he took from my mums estate
Posted by lware dated 2015-04-04 00:42:51
My fathers second wife died 4 years ago and she had owned their home before they married. She left a will with hr son in law as executor. The will leaves nothing to my dad only that he can live in the property rent free until he dies. Then the will states that the house and all household furniture articles and ornaments to be sold as part of estate and go to the children of the deceased wife. Is rhs valid when my dad has bought lots of things in the house and some are our family heirlooms and some belonged to my deceased mother who was my dads first wife. The family of the deceased second wife stand to get everything once my dad dies and we won't even have access as he house would then belong to them, is this legal.
Posted by lwarei dated 2015-04-04 00:45:50
Can I contest a will 4 yrs after if i hadnt been aware of the contents of that will at the time
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-04-08 20:02:52
Hi Christine,
Thanks for your question and I'm sorry for the delay in getting back to you. It was a very busy week in the run-up to the end of the tax year. Once probate has been granted a will is a public document. You can read about getting hold of a copy of a will in my article, by copying and pasting this link: http://www.savvywoman.co.uk/c6-pages/c6s6.php?art_id=1118
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-04-08 20:19:45
Hi Kirsty,
Thank you for your question and I'm sorry it's taken me so long to reply. It was very busy in the run up to the end of the tax year and I overlooked your comment. If your father left a will, he would have appointed executors (which is often a family member, but it can also include a solicitor or even someone from your local bank). If there was no will, you may be able to apply to be an administrator of his estate. You can read more about how to go about it on the GOV.UK website. Here's a link to the relevant page: https://www.gov.uk/wills-probate-inheritance/if-the-person-didnt-leave-a-will
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-04-09 08:12:58
Hi LWare,
Thanks for your question. My understanding is that you only have six months in which to bring a claim in England or Wales under the 'Inheritance (provision for family and dependants) Act. There may be exceptions to this, so I would contact a solicitor to check. If you are challenging a will because it is invalid or because the person who drew it up was under undue pressure, the six month time limit doesn't apply.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-04-09 08:17:50
Hi LWare,
Thanks for your question. I've now seen this longer question, which I hadn't read when I gave the first answer. Having read more detail, I'm not sure you would have grounds to challenge your father's late wife's will. It's perfectly legal for a wife (or husband) to leave a property to their spouse for them to live in while they're alive, but for it to pass to their children once the spouse dies. Your father may have been able to challenge the will at the time, but I'm not sure he'd be able to do this now. Having said that, if there are items that he owns (for example, that were from his first wife) I would have thought he would be able to specify in his own will what happens to those.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-04-09 10:19:40
Hi Deadbra,
Thanks for your question. When someone dies and leaves a will, once probate has been granted (all the debts have been paid and assets passed on) a will becomes a public document and anyone can view it. You can find out how to get hold of a copy of a will in my article if you copy and paste this address into your browser bar: http://www.savvywoman.co.uk/c6-pages/c6s6.php?art_id=1118
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-04-09 10:24:47
Hi Polly3,
Thanks for your question. If you have power of attorney for your father because he is unable to manage his own financial affairs, I would have thought it is unlikely that he would have the mental capacity to draw up a will. Having said that, the test of being of 'sound mind' is slightly different to having mental capacity. Your father would have to show that he knew what he was doing and that he understood the consequences of that. The solicitor might ask for some evidence from his GP. Dementia varies so widely from person to person (and sometimes from day to day) but it may well be that he wouldn't understand what he's doing, in which case he couldn't draw up a new will.
Posted by babs dated 2015-04-15 08:52:18
My dad and his partner have been together 16 years. They are not married and he has no will. He has been diagnosed with cancer and is really poorly with it. Will she get anything out of it without a will?
Posted by babs dated 2015-04-16 20:17:02
My dad and his partner have been together 16 years. They are not married and he has no will. He has been diagnosed with cancer and is really poorly with it. Will she get anything out of it without a will?
Posted by annoyed dated 2015-04-21 23:14:45
My husband died without a will we were living in separate houses but were not divorced my step daughter think she is entitled to our house even though mortgage was in both names and the money he left in bank which was very little after i paid off the debts can she contest probate
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-04-23 08:12:09
Hi annoyed,
Thanks for your question. I'm sorry to hear about your situation. If your home was jointly owned as joint tenants (the terminology is slightly different in Scotland and Northern Ireland), then it doesn't matter whether your husband left a will or what was in it, as his share of the property automatically passes to you. If the property was jointly owned as tenants in common, then his share would be passed on depending what was in the will or via intestacy rules (which would still mean you inherited). If that's the case, your step daughter may be able to go to court. However, it wouldn't guarantee that she would get anything.
Posted by diane dated 2015-04-24 18:03:24
I have been left a sum of money in the will of a freind who is in "care in the community" but of sound mind, and has no other relatives. The will was taken out without my knowledge, of his own free will, witnessed and signed by a solicitor. This is now being challenged by social services who are trying to get me removed from the will, and trying to convince this person to leave all his money to charity. Can they do this? the person is still alive.
Posted by Sally dated 2015-04-28 19:00:22
hi I am seeking advice for my son . He is now 24 yrs old and lives with his partner and son . His father ,my ex husband had known his wife 3 years when he married her 2 weeks before his death from cancer . In his will the executor was his new wife and nothing was left to his only son. Has he a right to contest this ? He had a good relationship with his father and cannot understand why he wasn't thought of .
Posted by Mrs TT dated 2015-04-29 12:05:50
Once the money has been distributed and inheritance accepted (cheques cashed) can you contest a Will if you were one of the beneficiaries?
Posted by coombsie dated 2015-05-02 21:46:37
my dad has left me everything in his will. my half sister who has only seen him twice in 15 years is making a clain under section 2 family inheritance act. because she is on benefets and disabled, he left a letter with his will as to why he left her out as well. she was not disabled when she left home 30 years ago and is not finically dependant on him. will this succeed ?
Posted by RC dated 2015-05-02 21:56:03
my father died last year and left all to me. as the only benifcerary. the estate went to probate and it was granted . so I wound up the estate. now a way ward sibling who has had no contact for many years has gone to a no win no fee solicitor. within the six months. the estate has been settled can he contest ? will I have to share this ? thanks
Posted by Lyng dated 2015-05-10 11:26:33
Hi I'm an only child who lives in Australia. My parents live in the UK. We hardly ever speak since they decided life in Australia wasn't for them as they had to work & couldn't get cheap housing. In UK they could get a council house & take early retirement. They have blamed me for not providing more, but I did all I could afford with a young family & just starting out in business (which failed as I had to pay for relocation costs for my parents) The last conversation they said they will disinherit me & have not heard from them since even after numerous calls. They moved & didn't let us know where to. We've tried to get information from friends but they keep themselves away. What I would like to know is if/when they pass away & they possibly leave all they have to a cousin can I contest the will? They have things that have been in our family for years & my cousin would throw/sell them. Do I have any rights to any of it? Thanks Leo
Posted by John c dated 2015-05-11 19:02:20
Can a family of my ex partner make claim to my house
Posted by Pam dated 2015-05-15 15:22:00
Hi, A friend made a will a year or so before passing away and left some money for her niece and the bulk of her estate/monies to me. I did not know about this but was contacted by a solicitor and told. Her only brother has since passed away but before dying left his estate to an uncle and aunt with instructions to contest my friends will (as he would of done so if he was alive stating my friends money (bequeathed to her by their mum a few years ago) was family money. Is this possible? Can an uncle/aunt really contest and win such a case? Thanks, Pam
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-05-17 22:16:48
Hi Pam,
Thanks for your question. I'm sorry to hear about the death of your friend and about the threat of a challenge to the will. If your friend died more than six months ago, it could be hard for them to challenge the will. That's because one of the reasons for challenging a will (using the 'Inheritance (Family and Dependants) Act) has a six month time limit after probate for claims. If they want to challenge the will because it's not valid (namely because your friend wasn't of sound mind or was put under undue duress etc), they aren't affected by this time limit. However, making a challenge like this is not straightforward and it could be costly. I'm afraid that once money is passed onto someone in a will, they can pass it on to whoever they like - so I am not sure about the logic of your late friend's brother.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-05-18 08:33:29
Hi Sally,
Thank you for your question and sincere apologies for the delay in replying. I would suggest that your son takes legal advice. There is legislation (the Inheritance (Family and Dependants) Act), which he could use to challenge the will, but, as he's grown up, there's no automatic assumption that he'd be awarded money (unless he could show he was financially dependent on his father). I agree that it must be hurtful for your son, and he may want to pursue this further. However, be aware that contesting a will can be costly. There are also time limits if he uses the Act I've mentioned above.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-05-18 08:52:45
Hi Mrs TT,
Thanks for your question and sincere apologies for the lengthy delay in responding. The answer is 'yes', if the estate has already been distributed, you can still challenge the will. There may be time limits (of six months from the date of grant of probate) depending on the basis on which you challenge the will, but you can still do this once the bequests have been passed on.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-05-18 09:06:16
Hi Coombsie,
Thanks for your question and apologies for the delay in replying. I'm afraid that I can't tell you whether or not your sister's challenge will succeed as it will be down to the court (if the case goes to court). It is helpful that your father left a note explaining why he didn't leave her any money. Many cases of families challenging a will do not succeed, but I couldn't predict what will happen in your sister's case.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-05-18 09:09:48
Hi RC,
Thanks for your question and huge apologies for the delay in responding. I'm afraid I had a lot of questions and comments and have been catching up. I'm afraid, as with my comment to Coombsie, who asked a similar question just ahead of you, I can't say what the chances are of your wayward relative succeeding. Some people do 'try it on' and others feel they have a genuine case and have been overlooked in the will. The fact that the money has already been paid out doesn't stop a will from being challenged, but, just because a solicitor has taken the case on doesn't mean it has a good chance of succeeding. Sorry not to be more helpful, but it really will turn on the detail of the case.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-05-18 09:30:38
Hi Leo,
Thanks for your question and apologies for the delay in replying to it. It sounds like you're in a rather hurtful situation. I can't say whether or not you'd succeed in challenging your parents' will, but I would say that you should take legal advice about this, especially as you are concerned about some items that have been in the family. I don't know if you were born and brought up in Australia and if the will was drawn up under Australian law. If so, there may well be different rules - I'd suggest you check that out with a solicitor. Do take legal advice (most will offer an initial consultation for a fixed fee or even free of charge) - so you know what your options are and any time limits.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-05-18 09:48:16
Hi JohnC,
Thanks for your question and sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I can't give you specific advice, only general guidance. There are different rules governing England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. If you were living in England or Wales, your ex partner could make a claim against you for a share of the property if she paid towards the mortgage etc and/or had an expectation that she'd share in its value. Normally these claims are helped if there's a written agreement, but there doesn't necessarily have to be one. Sometimes ex partners will threaten court action where they know it's not going to succeed, to force their ex's hand... It's worth taking legal advice about your options.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-05-18 10:20:26
Hi Babs,
Thanks for your question and huge apologies for the delay in responding. I'm afraid that without a will, your dad's partner doesn't have an automatic right to inherit. However, if they've been living together for two years or more before his death, she would be able to go to court for a proportion of the money and property he leaves behind, should she wish to. There are different rules in England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland and time limits are likely to apply.
Posted by J catt dated 2015-05-19 18:05:28
My mum died last month, her 3rd husband who is only 2 years older than myself had thrown out or disposed of all her items, emptied her bedroom of her furniture and gave us all her clothes knickknacks etc, however mum was left some old heirlooms off my gran,it was general knowledge and commented on regular that these heirlooms would pass to us after her death, her husband will not give us these items, he sits when he is dead we can have them, he knows they were to come to us,chances are we may even be dead before him, can we get these items,mum left no will. She wasn't in no fit state the last months of her life following her stroke,but he knows these should be given to us. How can we get them,please help.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-05-19 21:21:38
Hi J Catt,
Thanks for your question. I'm sorry to hear about the death of your mother and the situation you find yourself in now. I'm afraid to say that unless your mother left a will (which you say she didn't), you don't have any rights in law to items that she owned at the time of her death. In fact, the law says that if someone dies without a will, their husband, wife or civil partner is entitled to their personal belongings. It would be nice if your mother's husband would understand that these items have a sentimental value to you, but - from what you say - that may not happen.
Posted by Joe dated 2015-05-23 00:03:34
My father made a will after my mum died in 2008 leaving everything to me and my brother. He met a lady a year or two later and then found out that he had cancer. He was given 18 months to live, he then married his girlfriend and died 18 months later. He also moved money into a joint account for her a few weeks before he passed away as he believed that the rest of the money would come to me and my brother. I was named as executor in the Will so I went to my solicitor to find out what I needed to do when I was told that the Will was null and void due to his marriage. Do I have a case to contest that all my mother and fathers savings are now going to this lady. I also have a son who my father wanted a sum of £5,000 to be given to him. How do we go about resolving this issue as I am afraid that if we tell my fathers new wife that the will is not valid she will want to keep all of his money . Thank you in anticipation .
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2015-05-25 09:50:58
Hi Joe,
Thanks for your question and I'm sorry to hear about the death of your father. It is correct that a will is invalid after a marriage (except in Scotland). You may well be able to challenge the will on the basis that your father intended to provide for you and your son (but I'd recommend that you take legal advice before you take this any further). I don't know what kind of relationship you have with your late father's new wife, but I wouldn't rule out talking to her. You may be able to settle this amicably. Good luck with sorting it out.

 
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