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Can anyone help? Problem around loved one dying intestate and tricky NOK situation... Thanks

(12 Posts)
LeoandBoosmum Tue 09-Apr-13 19:34:12

My aunty (I'll call her L) who had anxiety and OCD (had an on-off partner (K) but not married and no children) passed away on Thursday. One of her sister's (H) took it upon herself in the hospital to name herself NOK because she said L had mentioned it to her (L's mother outlives her but has dementia so cannot be NOK). H is basically self-appointed as NOK and signed all the paperwork at the hospital
A visit to L's bank to declare L's passing showed L had an ISA worth in the region of £8000 though this is yet to be confirmed (could be a little more or a less). Should be confirmed on Friday. H again signed in the bank as NOK with L's siblings' approval. H can be a bit of a shady character (and has shady children, one of whom used L's card when she was living to steal almost £900 from her). L had become friendly with H and her children again although the money was never repaid.
H is now stating that K (L's one and off partner who, tbh, is a bit shady himself) that L had told him that should anything happen to her then any money she had would go to H's children. Hard to imagine unless this was said way before H's daughter stole money from L. There were no other witnesses to L's comment to K and L did not make a will (nothing written down).
I hate to talk of money in these circumstances but it does not sit easy with me that L's youngest sister can appoint herself NOK (we only have her word that L said she should be her NOK) and now H is calling the shots as to what happens to any money left over after L's funeral, basically saying L wanted her four children (ages 28, 20, 15 and 7) to be the sole recipients (as I said, the only basis for this is that K told H that L had said this to him (with no other witnesses).
L has four siblings (H, M, H and R): two sisters and two brothers. I do not want a penny (as L's niece) but I do not feel it fair that H can self-appoint as NOK and make decisions in her children's favour based on hearsay alone. In the case of there being no will, and no other witnesses to what L supposedly said to K about what she wanted to happen to any assets, should not the money be split between L's siblings? Then if H wants to give some of her share to her children, that's her choice?
I am not at all saying it's the case here but how, for example, does the law protect against collusion (eg H gets K to say L said her children were to be sole recipients in return for a cut??)
Does anyone know where the law stands on this issue? Haven't really got time to see a solicitor or consult CAB, and don't really want to go that route. In the end, I have lost a beloved aunt and if H wants to be greedy and grasping (not sure how she'd be responding if K had told her L had said any monies should go to one of L's other sibling's children!) then part of me feels, let her! On her conscience be it!
But it riles that one of H's children literally stole from her and never paid it back should get money, and it should not be H's place as self-appointed NOK to argue her children should get everything based on hearsay, basically...
L had siblings so unless she'd specifically stated her wishes in a will, this outcome does not seem fair.
Any one help or advise? Anyone know where the law stands on this? Just want to be informed...
Thanks!

greenfolder Tue 09-Apr-13 22:22:45

If no husband kids or living parentd its divided equally amongst her siblings. Neices and nephews only inherit if their parents have died. That is the law

mumblechum1 Tue 09-Apr-13 23:39:21

The NoK thing is a red herring and has no bearing on the rules of intestacy.

As the deceased had no spouse, your aunt's mother is her closest relative and will receive all of her estate (I'm assuming it's less than £250k ish and that her dad has already died).

When the aunt's mother dies, it is more than likely that her estate will go to her children in equal shares unless she's made a will to say something different.

mumblechum1 Tue 09-Apr-13 23:40:38

I'm a lawyer with my own will writing practice btw.

LeoandBoosmum Wed 10-Apr-13 02:55:20

Thanks Greenfolder and Mumblechum1 smile
Mumblechum, may I ask if it makes any difference that my deceased aunty's mother has dementia and is in a care home? Would my aunty's mother have to sign anything? We're not even sure at this stage about telling her her daughter has passed, since it would be very traumatic for her (she will likely forget and have to be reminded of it if we do tell her...)

Thanks so much for clearing up the NOK thing. H seems to think that because she has self-appointed as NOK she can divvy up L's assets as she wishes (it is below £10,000 in the form of an ISA). The bank will not release just yet as they have to contact some dept in York, I think.
I recall when my father passed away without making a will that I had to go through probate. I remember filling in a probate form (cannot recall special name) but H seems totally oblivious to this. I think because L has no outstanding debts H thinks she can just empty the account, pay for the funeral and distribute any remaining cash to her children (as per L's supposed wishes expressed verbally to K). As an aside, another of L's siblings said L expressed to her that she wanted to leave any money to an animal charity...so there is conflict of opinion regarding what L wanted anyway!

Can you tell me if H has to get a probate form? Is it illegal for H to not fill in a probate form when she is NOK and her sister has died intestate? I think H will empty the account, give the money to her children and then plead ignorance when the cash has gone (if they catch up with her).

Thanks so much for your advice, I really do appreciate it, and sorry for the extra questions. I just wonder about probate and whether my nan still inherits - not the siblings - because she is not compos mentis.
Hope you see this and get a chance to reply. Thanks! smile

LeoandBoosmum Wed 10-Apr-13 03:00:31

Oops, yes. L's dad passed away in 1993, sadly.

mumblechum1 Wed 10-Apr-13 09:27:27

Hi OP,

As the sole beneficiary of your aunt's estate is her mother, it is going to be tricky because the mother has dementia.

Because you aren't a beneficiary yourself, you may feel able to raise this with the aunt's mother (your grandma?) 's children because they are then ones who will eventually benefit when the mother passes on, and of course they would presumably be happy to deal with the issue in the absence of the mother having capacity.

So if I were you I'd notify H's siblings of the danger of their mother/themselves being ripped off and leave it to them. As there is only a tiny amount of money involved I think all you can really do is flag it up and leave it to them to take it further if they're interested.

hth.

LeoandBoosmum Wed 10-Apr-13 17:30:20

Thanks, Mumblechum1.

I really appreciate your help. I don't want to take advantage of your generosity but wondered if you could elaborate a little? I'll bore you with a bit of background just to give you some idea and then my questions are at the end, only one or two. Hope you don't mind, I know you must be busy so thank you!

Just to clarify, H who self-appointed as NOK, seems to have some very odd ideas in general. She has this idea that when my nan her mother passes on, everything goes to her as the youngest child. It doesn't matter what anyone says to her and I can't imagine the fallout when my nan passes away (no will and dementia!) Likewise, H seems to have some bizarre ideas regarding her role as L's NOK. She has, like I mentioned, said everything L left is going to her own (H's) children, even though this was a statement apparently made verbally in passing to L's on-off partner)... Never mind that L verbally told her other sister recently that she'd like to leave anything she has to an animal charity... H doesn't seem to want to know about this conflicting verbal wish...

H seems to think she gets to divvy up any assets L may have and people have to be satisfied with what she decides! She currently has L's jewellery (nothing very valuable but important to L who always wore it). L's other sister M and her two brothers would like L to be buried in her jewellery. H is against this. She says that all the siblings have to agree (but maybe a majority vote is most sensible...that's what I've suggested). H wants a piece of jewellery and for her two daughters to get jewellery too. She seem to think her children are special... L had other nieces too (including me) so if nieces got jewellery too then there'd be nothing left to put on Lorraine... There is no talking to her...and to give you some insight into H's character, she is always short of money and other family members are concerned she may have pawned it... We are concerned about these 'verbal' wishes of L anyway, seeing as one of H's daughters stole almost a thousand pounds from her! L's other sister is off to H's tonight to suggest that they both choose one piece of jewellery each to remember L by (and that it should be kept to just she and H as L's female siblings) with the rest of the jewellery going onto Lorraine to be buried with her.

Anyway, I'm sorry for blathering on.
I wasn't really sure what you meant about there being a danger of L's mother and her brothers and sisters being ripped off? Could you just clarify? The main issue is that H is calling the shots as to what happens (oddly enough, in her and her children's favour...). She says everything - by L's verbal wishes - is going to her children so she doesn't care about being ripped off...

I don't want to get over-involved really but I do want there to be fairness and for the law and correct procedures to be observed.
H is down as NOK now with L's bank and when the ISA is released what is to stop H just carving what's left over after a funeral amongst her children? How does the law protect against her taking matters into her own hands?
Is H bound by law as NOK to get a probate form? I thought this would be the case (that she would have to list assets/ debts (though L had no debt) and closest living relatives, and then the courts decide and inform H as to how any funds are to be lawfully distributed?

If H has to get a probate form, do you know where she can get one?

Sorry about all this...

I do appreciate your help smile, LeoandBoosMum

Xenia Wed 10-Apr-13 18:44:45

So L has no children? If that is so then her mother inherits it all. Has someone got a power of attorney over the mother and her affairs?

www.tollers.co.uk/system/docs/178/original/Rules%20of%20Intestacy%20Flowchart.pdf

It is not unusual that someone dying though has £8k of debts so do not assume leaving £8k means the mother will inherit £8k and anyway if she dose probably given how the rules of those in care homes work then all the £8k will go to care home fees to relieve tax payers of the burden.

The next of kind get the grant of representation if there is no will. that does not mean they get the money.
https://www.gov.uk/wills-probate-inheritance/if-the-person-didnt-leave-a-will

Is the mother in a care home? The money will come to her so looking into whether that then goes to pay her care home fees etc and how it will affect her benefits if she has any might be important.
Also if you wuold rather the state had the £8k not the awful relatives then you could always report the man to the authorities if he decides to take the family rather than give it to the mother to relieve the state of the cost of her support.

LeoandBoosmum Wed 10-Apr-13 19:05:15

Hi Xenia, Yes, L had no children at all. Her mother survives her. L's other sister M and brother H are currently jointly pursuing lasting power of attorney to be able to legally manage their mother's financial affairs. This was initiated at a time when M and H were not on speaking terms.
Pursuing lasting power of attorney is not straightforward - though it is in progress - due to my their mother's dementia.
We know that L has no debts but that the funeral will have to come out of the £8000 (I believe this would be the case from a legal standpoint).
H is female (not sure if you think she is male?) Not sure who you mean should be reported? H?
Yes, the mother (my nan) is in a care home. She has some savings (below £25000) and her care is currently being supplemented by the state. I believe she contributes to her care.
Frankly, I just want the right thing to be done...if that is that the money should go to L's mother and contribute to her care, then so be it. It's this idea of H's (who has obviously misinterpreted the rights of NOK) that her children should get any money left over after the funeral (based on L supposedly stating this to her on/off boyfriend K)
Thanks for your input. I appreciate your taking the time. Hopefully, Mumblechum1 will get a minute to LMK about the probate thing. I know when my dad died 'intestate' I had to fill in a form...
Thanks again smile

Xenia Thu 11-Apr-13 09:58:58

I think the law is that the money all goes to the mother and first her debts are paid and funeral expenses and any existing tax and other bills.

So I am pretty sure it may not much matter who gets this money - either it goes to the mother under the law and goes to her to spend or it goes to the state to help fund her care (or is illegally siphoned off by the other family members mentioned) but it is very unlikely any will come to the mother's other relatives.

The savings under £25k plus the balance of the £8k after funeral costs are perhaps bigger issue - who will control the demented mother's funds although I suspect by the time she dies they will all have gone on her care so it may not really matter.

firesidechat Thu 11-Apr-13 10:09:40

Have you ever looked at the money saving expert site? Like here, there are some very knowledgeable people over there who may be of help.

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