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Partner died intestate - do we need to reply to this solicitor's letter from the ex-wife?

(16 Posts)
BlueberryFlapjack Mon 08-Jun-15 10:22:24

My friend's partner died suddenly a few weeks ago and she's had a solicitor's letter from his ex-wife asking for details of all of his assets.

Her DP died without a will, but my friend doesn't want anything from the estate as she wants his children to be provided for (they have no children together).

We don't know how to respond to this letter.

Do we have to send details to the ex-wife? I would have thought that the ex needs to write to whoever is administering the will (this will probably be someone from dp's family). But obviously we don't want to send the wrong reply and cause friction when my friend has enough to deal with...

Help and advice much appreciated...

babybarrister Mon 08-Jun-15 10:40:39

difficult as possibly she does have a claim against the estate if they never sorted out their finances or if they did and she has a spousal maintenance order ....

ask Mumblechum - she will know the appropriate thing to say !

Mumblechum1 Mon 08-Jun-15 10:42:49

Can you clarify; you say that he died intestate but then refer to "whoever is administering the will" - is there actually a will?

If no will, and if the divorce was finalised by decree absolute, then the children are his next of kin and entitled to all of his assets. I'd expect there to have been a clause in the consent order within the divorce proceedings stating that the wife won't be entitled to make a claim for herself under the Inheritance (PF&D) Act 1975, but that doesn't apply to dependent children.

If the children are under 18 then their mum will be looking after their interests so that's why her solicitors will have asked for full details.

I'd suggest that your friend simply writes back to the solicitors and says that as she has no claim, she's unable to help other than telling them what she knows about his assets (did he own the house your friend is living in?), and let them do the running around.

Mumblechum1 Mon 08-Jun-15 10:43:59

BB wouldn't you have expected the consent order to have the usual joint lives clause though, ie that there's no entitlement under the 1975 act when the husband dies?

BlueberryFlapjack Mon 08-Jun-15 12:52:18

Thanks, Mumblechum1 and sorry for the confusion. There is no will - I meant "whoever is administering the estate".

The children are under 18.

My friend's house is rented so that's not an issue.

So should she reply e.g. He owns x model of car, he banks with x bank etc?
Or does she need to give actual figures of what amount is in each bank account or on each credit card?

I feel like it's quite a lot to ask of someone who's world has just collapsed. Can't this all be handled by the administrator?

BlueberryFlapjack Mon 08-Jun-15 13:06:52

Sorry to drip feed, but I should probably add that the ex-wife has been very hostile towards my friend and her dp (they met years after the marriage ended but the ex has still been difficult) so she's not keen to have the hassle of going through her dp's paperwork right now if she doesn't legally have to.

Mumblechum1 Mon 08-Jun-15 13:41:04

The people who should be investigating are the personal representatives of the children (who common sense would say is their mum).

Not providing the info isn't really going to achieve anything other than increasing stress and hassle, but I suggest that she says that she only wants to deal with the solicitors, not the mum herself.

AugustaGloop Mon 08-Jun-15 13:45:35

if I were here I wold just reply that she should contact the administrators (with a name if she knows) and confirming that she intends to co-operate with the adminstrators to the extent they require.

Collaborate Mon 08-Jun-15 13:47:23

She can also say that she'll wait until the court grants representation of the estate to someone, then deal through them or their solicitors. That should buy her more time. Until letters of administration are taken out no one has authority to administer the estate.

Collaborate Mon 08-Jun-15 13:47:55

xpost with Augusta

Mumblechum1 Mon 08-Jun-15 13:57:52

Yes but the people applying for the grant need some idea of the value of the estate at that point.

DragonWithAGirlTattoo Mon 08-Jun-15 14:08:55

not being legal - but i would say no, she doesnt have, and shouldnt either give these details

they must come for the administrator of the estate (again - i'm no legal eagle)

Collaborate Mon 08-Jun-15 16:09:21

Point taken mumbles!

Mumblechum1 Mon 08-Jun-15 16:17:59

grin Collaborate - don't sit on it.

LotusLight Mon 08-Jun-15 17:42:12

Yes as someone said above the mother of the children is likely to be the administrator so is acting in a legal capacity here. Eg he might have life insurance from work. he might have a pension which pays out on death etc etc

If the children are 15 16 ish they could probably come round to their father's place and get copies of bank books etc if that is easier adn his personal effects of course which presumably go to the children not the more recent live in partner. Things like who owns the TV her or him will presumably be an issue too. Also does he have a car registered in his name which now should be sold for the children?

olgaga Mon 08-Jun-15 23:39:09

Why not give your friend a hand to get together all the paperwork/payslips/bank statements/finance agreements/ personal possessions etc and just send the whole lot to her!

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