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Think Mum kept all deceased Dads money and didn't use his will

(43 Posts)
urbanspaceman2014 Thu 20-Nov-14 13:41:22

Dad died few years ago and mum was very unapproachable and defensive/paranoid at the time (still is really, so can't ask her). My sister once asked about his will and was shot 'a look' and shortly told that everything went to her (my mum).

I am pretty sure she got everything by survival though joint accounts and house being in both their names and didn't use his will at all.

He had a will because I remember them saying they were going to the solicitors to change their will after my brother died. My sister was named as executor in first will (before brothers death) but don't know about when it was amended.

I am really curious to know what was written in his will, there must be some things he wanted us to have, regardless of money and property?

When she sold the house and moved somewhere smaller she said that she was going to pay our mortgage off (£100k) which makes me think she knew there was something in dad's will about that. She went back on the offer a few weeks later anyway and said she had to think about herself first. This did piss me off and it would completely change our lives to be mortgage free. We didn't ask for anything!

I thought a person's will had to be followed, but it seems to have been completely ignored and I don't know how to see his will without asking her.

LouiseBrooks Thu 20-Nov-14 13:49:31

It's quite possible to view copies of people's wills after probate. Who was the solicitor? Or go and see a solicitor of you own to ask them for advice.

I also did a quick internet search and found this:

A Will becomes a public document once a Grant of Probate has been obtained to administer the Will. If you want to obtain a copy of a person�s Will, you can apply for a standing search with your local District Probate Registry. If you apply for a standing search, the probate registry will send you a copy of the Grant, together with a copy of the Will, if one was made.

urbanspaceman2014 Thu 20-Nov-14 14:05:28

Thanks Louisebrooks

I have done the search for public document and there is no record of a will, so Grant of Probate must never have been obtained.

She must have just kept everything because of joint accounts.

PausingFlatly Thu 20-Nov-14 14:15:53

Obviously if you know the solicitor, start there.

If you're not sure, there's a company called Certainty.co.uk which will carry out a will search at all solicitors' offices in the locations you specify. I think it costs about £100.

If you need a copy of your father's death certificate and can't get it from your mother, you can get one direct from the General Register Office for £9.25.

PausingFlatly Thu 20-Nov-14 14:23:23

Sounds like you need to be talking to a solicitor anyway, I'm afraid.

Sorry to hear this is happening.

urbanspaceman2014 Thu 20-Nov-14 14:27:07

Thanks PausingFlatly I will find out who the solicitors are, think I know the area. It is tricky because I don't want her to find out, if I say to the solicitor that my dad has died, they will contact her as next of kin and then she would know I had contacted them and will be furious.

Wolfbasher Thu 20-Nov-14 14:29:53

Although, OP, the most common type of will that married couples (who don't have DC from previous marriages) make is the sort that leaves everything to each other, and then has various provisions for where the money goes if both die together.

ArthurShappey Thu 20-Nov-14 14:38:35

I think most married couples leave everything to each other and only to their children in the event of them both dying. If they has joint accounts, joint mortgages, were married etc... Then it's all hers when hers after his death. They jointly owned it, if you see what I mean. You couldn't force (I believe) a bereaved widow to sell half her house to give her spouses 'share' to children, I think.

christmaspies Thu 20-Nov-14 14:39:00

I though having a joint account meant that the money in the account automatically belonged to the surviving spouse. The same as a joint tenancy mortgage

ArthurShappey Thu 20-Nov-14 14:39:43

Gosh the typos in that are horrendous.

OP I'm sorry for your loss, I forgot to say that in my post.

PausingFlatly Thu 20-Nov-14 14:39:56

If you're talking directly to the solicitor, rather than using Certainty, tell them there is an issue, that your dad died years ago, and you suspect that your mother has not applied for Probate.

I can't see why they'd be proactive and inform her even if you didn't tell them that. I can't imagine they have any duty to cast around deciding which next of kin to inform.

It's perfectly normal for a member of the family to contact them looking for the will. They will assume you're doing it as your father's personal representative (and indeed your sister was officially so, being executor).

When a member of my family died, I contacted local solicitors to ask if they had a will. Nobody treated it as an odd request or demanded proof of either death or ID at that stage, although I daresay they would have for the next stage.

PigletJohn Thu 20-Nov-14 14:44:32

have you looked for the grant of probate on here?

https://www.gov.uk/wills-probate-inheritance/searching-for-probate-records

you can get copies, and of the will, if any

PausingFlatly Thu 20-Nov-14 14:45:45

It's not looking good that

a) you know he wrote at least one will and your sister was executor
b) he wanted to rewrite the will after your brother died
c) your sister does not know anything about the current will and your mother refuses to discuss it

Yes, the will may just leave everything to your mother. But (b) and (c) suggest there was more to it.

PausingFlatly Thu 20-Nov-14 14:47:39

Oh, and
d) you can't find any trace of Probate having been applied for.

It could be your mother just didn't apply for probate because she didn't want to do all the paperwork. That's still not OK, but less suggestive of anything sinister than the other items.

urbanspaceman2014 Thu 20-Nov-14 14:56:14

Thanks Wolfbasher

Expect that was the case for their will then.

Perhaps I am grasping at straws trying to better the childhoods of my babies. It was rather out of character for her to offer to pay off our mortgage, even though the amount of money would have had no impact on her life, it would make such a difference for our children to have that extra each month. I am constantly saying we can't go places or have things.

Guess I should be grateful for the opened packets and expired tins she brings us when she visits!!!

urbanspaceman2014 Thu 20-Nov-14 15:04:21

Thanks Arthurshappey & everyone else, grateful for the advice

PausingFlatly Thu 20-Nov-14 15:28:24

(Sorry, I should add I was looking for a will on behalf of and with the full knowledge of the rest of the family. But nobody at the solicitors' end checked this.)

Hope you can come to terms with whichever way things turn out on this, OP. It's not much fun being left in limbo suspecting someone.

PigletJohn Thu 20-Nov-14 16:58:38

It would usually be quite difficult to sell a house or realise assets without at least a grant of probate.

DayLillie Fri 21-Nov-14 15:32:42

Not if it is joint tenants - it goes immediately to the joint owner and you just lodge the death certificate with the deeds.

poshfrock Sat 22-Nov-14 09:45:35

If all his assets were in joint names with your mum then we're would have been no need to take the will to probate as she would have inherited everything by survivorship. Why would you think you were going to inherit anything on his death? Had he indicated that you would? Did he have anything to leave other than the house and the joint bank accounts? I imagine his will probably said everything to wife and if she's predeceased then everything to children in equal shares. That's fairly standard. If your brother has died then he may have wished to make a change to take that into account although a well written will would have done that without any need for later changes.

ShanghaiDiva Sat 22-Nov-14 09:55:38

Unless your father had any sets in his sole name, everything would pass under survivorship to the other joint tenant. Selling the house would therefore only require the death certificate as each joint tenant owns the property in full, if that makes sense.
When my dad died, we needed to obtain a grant of probate for bank accounts in his own name. Also believe if assets in sole name total less than 5K no grant is required.

GerbilsAteMyCat Sat 22-Nov-14 09:56:19

She probably is looking to safeguard her retirement with the money she and your dad saved together. If it was all joint I'm not sure how a will could decree that money would go to you. Maybe you could approach your mother and ensure her will is organised so there is no further family confusion (if there is a nice and subtle way of doing this!).

PausingFlatly Sat 22-Nov-14 10:26:28

"a well written will would have done that without any need for later changes."

This is the bit that makes me think there's more to it.

OP says the first will was written by a solicitor, so it would be unusual if it didn't already cater for the death of one of the siblings.

So the fact that he wanted to change it suggests that either the first or updated will has something more complicated than everything to wife and if she's predeceased then everything to children in equal shares.

Of course, the "more complicated" could simply be that he originally left his 1923 tiddlywinks collection to the OP's brother and now wishes it to go to the Museum of Childhood.

crabbyoldbat Sat 22-Nov-14 16:46:25

And if a second will was never written, surely the first will still stands (assuming he didn't get married after writing it), and would need to go to probate anyway, even if every asset was in joint names?

poshfrock Sat 22-Nov-14 18:22:54

No. Not usually any need for probate if all assets in joint names. I say that as a probate lawyer.

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