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General => The Common Room => The Lighter Side => Topic started by: zetlander on Tuesday 02 June 20 16:01 BST (UK)

Title: Will Query
Post by: zetlander on Tuesday 02 June 20 16:01 BST (UK)
Mary made a will in 1983 and died in 1986.

She left her entire estate to be divided equally between her 10 cousins (she herself was unmarried and had no children.)

One of the cousins she lists John had died in 1979 - 4 years before she made the will

In the will she states that if any cousin dies in her lifetime then the share due to him should go to his/her descendants.
However if the descendant is under 18 then what would have gone to him/her should be shared between the surviving beneficiaries.

Only recently got a copy of her will. (I am not a beneficiary)

John the cousin who died had a son of 40 when my aunt died - he got nothing.

The executor/solicitor has wrongly assumed that either because one beneficiary had pre-deceased the aunt then his share should be shared between the others. Or the executor who wasn't a family member has assumed John was under 18.

Or is the problem that the cousin although named as a beneficiary had in fact died before the will was made?

Mary let almost £1million !

So John ( a close friend) has missed out on a ton of money.

Can anything be done or is it too late?
Who is responsible for the error the Solicitor or the Executor?

Thanks.

Title: Re: Will Query
Post by: louisa maud on Tuesday 02 June 20 17:21 BST (UK)
Can you get in touch with the treasury?, or a different solicitor, at sometime it will be to late to challenge,  don't know if this is good knowledge or not

Louisa Maud
Title: Re: Will Query
Post by: CaroleW on Tuesday 02 June 20 18:32 BST (UK)
Did she actually use JohnĎs name in her will?  Rather strange to name a cousin who had been dead 4yrs as a beneficiary?

I would have expected her to have named Johnís descendants.

However - given the wording re descendants - even if she was unaware of Johnís death it could be argued that her intention was for his descendants to receive his share

Johnís descendants really need professional advice so I would start by possibly contacting Probate Registry and asking what procedure needs to be followed.

What you want to avoid is a situation where the legal fees are greater than the inheritance!!

The executor has responsibility for any possible error - not the person who drew up the will
Title: Re: Will Query
Post by: louisa maud on Tuesday 02 June 20 18:40 BST (UK)
Please let us know if you persue this enquiry,  will be interesting for further reference

Louisa Maud
Title: Re: Will Query
Post by: zetlander on Tuesday 02 June 20 18:45 BST (UK)
Did she actually use JohnĎs name in her will?  Rather strange to name a cousin who had been dead 4yrs as a beneficiary?

I would have expected her to have named Johnís descendants.

However - given the wording re descendants - even if she was unaware of Johnís death it could be argued that her intention was for his descendants to receive his share

Johnís descendants really need professional advice so I would start by possibly contacting Probate Registry and asking what procedure needs to be followed.

What you want to avoid is a situation where the legal fees are greater than the inheritance!!

Yes, John's name was in the will - I agree it does seem odd to leave something to someone who is deceased  --  but perhaps not as unusual as you may think  --  someone could well assume a distant cousin living abroad was still alive.

It's 36 years since the will was made - is it now too late to do anything about it even if there is a case?

He would have inherited about £90K  ! !
Title: Re: Will Query
Post by: louisa maud on Tuesday 02 June 20 19:24 BST (UK)
Oh gosh!

Louisa Maud
Title: Re: Will Query
Post by: mazi on Tuesday 02 June 20 19:41 BST (UK)
The time limit is 12 years, unless you believe fraud was involved, in which case there is no time limit.

As the sum is so large and the executor is personally liable, I would have thought that definite legal advice would have been sought at the time.


It is my thought that the bequest was invalid when the will was written, even if johns death was not known.

Mike

Mike
Title: Re: Will Query
Post by: mazi on Tuesday 02 June 20 19:48 BST (UK)
In 1986 almost £390,000 would have vanished in inheritance tax  ;D ;D

Mike
Title: Re: Will Query
Post by: zetlander on Tuesday 02 June 20 20:08 BST (UK)
The time limit is 12 years, unless you believe fraud was involved, in which case there is no time limit.

As the sum is so large and the executor is personally liable, I would have thought that definite legal advice would have been sought at the time.


It is my thought that the bequest was invalid when the will was written, even if johns death was not known.

Mike

Thanks.

No fraud involved - carelessness possibly.

It's a bit odd for the person making the will to name a dead person as a beneficiary. (It's quite a complex will - no reason to suspect she was slightly confused or anything when she made it.)

Are you saying that because an intended 'beneficiary' is dead before the will is written he/she is regarded as not eligible to be part of the will?

Again, thanks!


Title: Re: Will Query
Post by: CaroleW on Tuesday 02 June 20 20:40 BST (UK)
You say the wording is that "if any cousin dies within my lifetime"  then their share passes to the deceased cousins descendants.

So - John died within her lifetime ...........?? 

If the will had been worded on the lines of "shared equally between the following cousins providing they are still alive at the time this will is made"  that would be different

Title: Re: Will Query
Post by: zetlander on Tuesday 02 June 20 22:27 BST (UK)
John died in 1979 - she made the will in 1983.

We think that what happened was she made an earlier will pre 1979 when all the cousins were alive.

She then decided to alter her will - instructed her solicitor to make the change - solicitor made the change but kept the list of beneficiaries the same not realising that one of the cousins had died.

It seems there's a time limit of 12 years to challenge a will.
Title: Re: Will Query
Post by: CaroleW on Wednesday 03 June 20 00:23 BST (UK)
Yes - the time limit has long passed so itís unlikely you would get anywhere.    I think if the challenge had been made within that 12yr period there may have been a chance of success given the way the will was worded.    It doesnít matter what any earlier will said as the 1983 one would revoke all previous wills. 

Her signature was on the 1983 will and it was her responsibility to notify any changes & ensure it met with her requirements - not the solicitors

Title: Re: Will Query
Post by: zetlander on Wednesday 03 June 20 11:20 BST (UK)
Yes - the time limit has long passed so itís unlikely you would get anywhere.    I think if the challenge had been made within that 12yr period there may have been a chance of success given the way the will was worded.    It doesnít matter what any earlier will said as the 1983 one would revoke all previous wills. 

Her signature was on the 1983 will and it was her responsibility to notify any changes & ensure it met with her requirements - not the solicitors

thanks.

you're right - nothing can be done about it now.

my friend who has lost out on about £90K is a tad miffed !!

it just goes to show that every document etc should be thoroughly checked before signing etc.