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to want to see the will?

(267 Posts)
tremble Sat 23-Apr-16 21:46:47

NC for this, just in case. We've just found out a distant relative has died, and the funeral was yesterday. My DS and I are pretty angry that we weren't told, as we knew the relative when we were children and would like to have paid our respects.

We found this out today when we got a letter from relative's sister saying that the relative hadn't signed their will, so we and a few cousins and aunts etc will inherit a share of their estate. But the sister says she wants to honour the unsigned will and has asked us to revoke our shares so she can do this. We hadn't expected to inherit anything so we're not fussed about the money which probably won't be much, but we thought we'd ask to see the unsigned will so we can be sure that if we give up our shares then it goes to the right people.

But the sister says we're not allowed see it. She won't even tell us which solicitor is handling the estate and got pretty angry when we asked, saying we had no right. Her behaviour seems a little suspicious but we haven't really any experience with wills. Is it unreasonable to ask to see it? And what would you do?

Fizzielove Sat 23-Apr-16 21:51:02

Did she say what the unsigned will was for? Sounds fishy to me? I'd be wanting to see it!

PotteringAlong Sat 23-Apr-16 21:53:00

I'd want to see the unsigned will too. If she doesn't show you then just refuse to give up your shares.

tremble Sat 23-Apr-16 21:54:31

No, she talked a lot about relative's wishes but never said what they were. I thought it sounded a bit fishy too!

TrickyD Sat 23-Apr-16 21:55:39

Don't even think about revoking your share without being shown the unsigned 'will'. Which is not a will. If they won't show you, let the rules of intestacy apply and accept your share.

NeedMoreSleepOrSugar Sat 23-Apr-16 21:55:55

Not unreasonable to want to see it. For all you know, the will doesn't even exist. And if she doesn't let anyone see this will, then no-one ca possibly say whetehr or not she is adhering to it.

Also odd to refuse to tell you who the solicitor is. If the will is invalid, then presumably the solicitor will act as executor (and therefore contact you about the inheritance anyway).

hanban89 Sat 23-Apr-16 21:56:02

Yanbu. I would want to see it as well to be sure his wishes would be granted. Definitely sounds like something is not right.

AdoraBell Sat 23-Apr-16 21:56:10

What PotteringAlong said.

CotswoldStrife Sat 23-Apr-16 21:59:25

If probate is needed, you will be able to get a copy of the will from them although that will take months some time probably.

I am taking a guess that the will was in the sister's favour? No way would I sign away any rights without seeing the disputed document.

I would certainly look into this more closely. It doesn't sound like a will to me, tbh. It would need to be witnessed as well as signed. Who was going to be the executor(s)? Who were the witnesses?

Your relative seems to have died intestate so the inheritance will follow a legal formula. You could say that you are happy to follow the legal precedent, but if she can provide a copy of the 'will' you will consider his/her wishes.

tremble Sat 23-Apr-16 22:02:34

She says that she is acting as executor to save money. We suspect she is not telling us the solicitor who drew up the will in case we contact them and find out what was in it. Or as NeedMore said maybe it doesn't exist so she can't give us a solictor's name.

MorticiaLiverish Sat 23-Apr-16 22:03:25

If it was an unsigned will then it isn't valid and you have no right to see it. Why would you be getting a share anyway if you were distant and hadn't seen the person for ages? Unsigned\no will would mean that the estate would be dealt with according to the rules of intestacy which usually means spouse/children/close relatives would inherit.

tremble Sat 23-Apr-16 22:06:23

Yes, CotswoldStrife it sounds likely it may have been in her favour. She seems really angry about it, so think she has only just found out the will wasn't signed.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Sat 23-Apr-16 22:10:37

You don't need to know who the solicitor was, you can look a will up online here. It costs £10.

tremble Sat 23-Apr-16 22:12:46

Morticia there was no spouse or children, so it is apparently shared between siblings and children and/or grandchildren of deceased siblings.

If my DS and I have no right to see the invalid will , then shouldn't that apply to the sister too? She is in the same boat as us. I don't know how these things work.

witsender Sat 23-Apr-16 22:17:02

I wouldn't agree to anything without seeing it. Her behaviour would make me want to say no regardless.

ivykaty44 Sat 23-Apr-16 22:19:21

You can't look up a will until it has been through probate and if there isn't a will ( which there doesn't seem to be in this case, will unsigned) then the estate will go through administration as no will.

tremble Sat 23-Apr-16 22:21:57

Thanks for the link MsAdorabelle I've just realized that it won't work though as the relative lived in Scotland. The Scotland link just seems to be to an archive.

Kind ofagree witsender. Her anger doesn't help in winning us to her cause.

Lovewineandchocs Sat 23-Apr-16 22:30:55

Sounds dodgy to me as a solicitor. Sit tight, the solicitor will contact you about your share and you can then explain to them what the sister has said and ask about the unsigned will.

SanityAssassin Sat 23-Apr-16 22:33:26

You can only look up a will on line once probate has been granted and as this isn't a will in the legal sense (as not signed or witnessed) then they couldn''t have applied for probate with it. - also as executors are usually appointed in the will she probably has no right to call herself such as the Will is invalid.

Unless there is a previous Will he died intestate and those rules apply.

PeppaIsMyHero Sat 23-Apr-16 22:33:44

If there is no will, surely the money legally has to go to the next relatives? I don't understand how anyone could make it go elsewhere without knowing where that 'elsewhere' was? You would surely have to sign something relinquishing your legal right to the money, and that would state where your share would go instead?

SilverBirchWithout Sat 23-Apr-16 22:36:25

It's not that simple to revoke an entitlement to an inheritance and most solicitors would advise against doing so.

Many years ago I wanted to change how my mother had left me all her money and divide it between all 3 of her children because there was a flaw in the wording of her will, so the previous one which divided it equally should have been used. It was safer legally to accept all the inheritance money given solely me then gift my 2 siblings their right and proper share. If we had not done this many years later my own children could have (only in theory) contested the interpretations of the will situation but had no rights if I gifted the money.

This sister of the deceased relative's request is seriously flawed. You need to seek legal advice.

shinynewusername Sat 23-Apr-16 22:37:38

She says that she is acting as executor to save money

If there isn't a valid will, there isn't an executor either. She may have taken the role upon herself, but she has no right to it. She would have to apply for letters of administration to have the right to distribute the estate, and I bet she hasn't done that.

This all sounds very dodgy and raises suspicion that there is more money than she is letting on. Certainly do not agree to revoke any rights without evidence of the value of estate (net of any debts).

blindsider Sat 23-Apr-16 22:38:11

An unsigned will is exactly that, there can be no guarantee said relative even knew about it, even if they did they weren't sure enough about it to put pen to paper...

AugustaFinkNottle Sat 23-Apr-16 22:46:19

I don't see how you can possibly honour your relative's wishes if her sister won't let you see what they were. I would certainly want the solicitor to verify that the draft was prepared in accordance with her instructions, and I would want to know when. If, for instance, it was prepared a year ago and she never signed it, that would suggest that she'd changed her mind anyway.

LanaorAna1 Sat 23-Apr-16 22:49:18

Hmmm. If the will really was unsigned, there'd be no need for you to revoke shares except under intestacy rules which would mean hardly anything given you're quite distant family. Your relative is not making any sense. Well, except the bit about her wanting control of all the money.

Suggest you and the other cousins etc band up and ask to see the document or say you'll get a lawyer to act for all of you together as it will be cheaper (which it will).

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