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I'm being taken to court bt ex step-mother over my inheritance.

(10 Posts)
mrsnec Tue 28-Jan-14 12:06:50

Long story, here goes,

I was estranged from my father. He prioritized my stepsisters over my brother and I and my stepmother was verbally and physically abusive to us.

My father died in march last year after having cancer for years. He had separated from my stepmother. They had been apart for 3 years when he died.

They had sold their marital home and split the proceeds. My father had a new partner. But his illness took over before he could finalise divorce proceedings and purchase a property with his new partner.

His estate is his share of the proceeds from the sale of the marital home.

His will was finalised the day before he died by my brother and my uncle who are both executors. I am named in the will with my brother, some other relatives and the new partner.

Probate was granted very quickly but the executor held on to the estate waiting for the ex to respond.

She did and she waited until the last minute to serve us.

She has had his life insurance and his pension.

We have made several offers and again shes waited untill the last minute, then demanded extensions and tgen declined them. She is not responding to her solicitor and hasn't replied to any request for documents from either side.

The first court date has been postponed as the judge doesn't have enough to go on. Both sides were supposed to apply for medical records and neither have. She's claiming under the grounds that my father made his will under duress and wasn't of sound mind.

Our solicitor is saying we're now looking at a time frame of at leadt another 26 weeks and there is nothing we can do to speed it up.

I know I was estranged from my father and you might not agree with me but I see this as him trying to make up for in death what he didn't do in life.it's like he felt some remorse for the past. This is a life changing ammount of money for me. Although its not just about that.I'm also upset they can't let a man have his dying wishes and that someone can be so hateful. (her statements are shocking and im not even sure they are relevant)

I haven't been involved much in the case as both of the executors are of the opinion that I wasn't in my father's life and have no right to an opinion. They copy me in on correspondence but I feel I just have to go along with everything even though im not convinced our solicitor has our bedt interests at heart.

Im finding it all so stressful and im not sure why. I can't handle another 26 weeks of this. Its been bringing up some very painful memories of my past I just want it to be over. Is there anything I can do?

Thanks for reading!

mrsnec Tue 28-Jan-14 16:01:55

Can I bump this just in case someone is around to help?

TeenyW123 Tue 28-Jan-14 16:16:16

I must admit that I'm a bit shocked as to how slow the traffic is on this Legal thread.

May I suggest you have a look at the Motley Fool website. There's a board called Legal and there's a few solicitors that comment on issues on there. I am not a lawyer btw. There's also a board called Inheritance and Probate (something like that anyway) where these sort of issues are aired.

I have no interest or investment in the Motley Fool website except to be a very occasional poster and oft times lurker.

Of course, it may be that the answer is to just suck it up for the next 26 weeks.

mrsnec Tue 28-Jan-14 16:51:43

That's ok I really appreciate you taking the time to read it. Most of the time I post here I know the answers deep down but am looking for reassurance I suppose. When this first kicked off I posted on legal forums, the free ones that lawyers use to tout for business and just got told to get my own advice.trying to avoid that due to cost and the upset it would cause in the family. But id not considered Motley Fool for this. Getting pointed in that direction is a big result so many thanks!

morethanpotatoprints Tue 28-Jan-14 16:59:39

Hello OP.

I take it that the will was made in the presence of a solicitor who will be able to account for the duress and his doctor will confirm he was of sound mind and any other health officials he saw throughout his illness.
it is very difficult to prove this according to my solicitor. We thought it was going to happen with my dads will but it didn't in the end.
All of this must be worrying for you and can't help you draw a line under her harsh treatment of you.
So sorry, these things are awful

Kewcumber Tue 28-Jan-14 17:07:18

I can;t really help sorry but His will was finalised the day before he died by my brother and my uncle who are both executors. I am named in the will with my brother, some other relatives and the new partner. if he was doing this under duress then why wouldn't your brother and uncle have named themselves as beneficiaries only? confused

I would just sit tight, let her spend as much money as she likes. She would have to convince a judge that not only wasn;t he able to make a coherent decision (and presumably you have at least one witness to the fact that he was) but that he would have otherwise left his estate to her when again you can show he has a new partner ans they already split their marital assets.

I'm sorry its causing you stress.

babybarrister Tue 28-Jan-14 20:39:58

all very stressful for you but a timetable of 26 weeks sounds optomistic I am afraid.

your step mother will have her say and be cross examined and the court will see all of the medical info to take a view

the executors should have the interests of preserving the estate as their priority which overlaps with your interests

there is a MN on here who does lots of contentious probate so maybe she will come on but TBH your solicitor knows the case best and courts are slow

ladyjulian Tue 28-Jan-14 21:52:54

I've only ever done two probate cases (and in one of them the deceased was in fact alive, that was an amusing day in court) and they are slow. However in the one where the deceased was actually dead, the situation was similar to yours, and the named beneficiaries were held to be in the right.

Beyond that I have no helpful advice but can I suggest you try to get a referral to the Bar Pro Bono Unit? www.barprobono.org.uk/do_you_need_free_legal_help.html You'll need to get an MP or CAB to refer you but they are very good (I am registered with them but don't have the probate experience to help you I'm afraid!)

mrsnec Wed 29-Jan-14 06:13:14

Thanks all,

Yes the will was witnessed by solicitors. There was also a signed declaration of his intent to divorce and his wishes that under no circumstances should anything go to his ex and her family. He believed his step children would be suitably provided for by their mother and didn't expect the ex to consider us in hers. All the statements stated he was of sound mind and quite coherent but I didn't see one from a doctor.

We have had a development overnight, we have been made aware by our Barrister that she's possibly making the wrong claim in the wrong court. I don't quite understand the implications of this at the moment but at least something is happening.

My Dh questioned at the start why it was going to county court and not a probate claim.

My issue was we had a court date and neither side applied for the medical records and the judge postponed. I thought that might be causing the delay.

So I don't know what happens now. If its 26 weeks or more I will just have to deal with it. I thought 10 months of this so fsr was more than enough though. But I will accept it. I needed other legal professionals to tell me it was the norm so I appreciate that.

mrsnec Wed 29-Jan-14 11:33:38

Just wanted to thank you all again and to say I've looked at the links and I think they will be very helpful if I need them so im going to bookmark them both just in case.

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