I am aware that creditors only have six months from date of probate to make any claim on an estate. I am also of the understanding that this is the length of time you have to contest a will. What is the timescale if there was no will and you have only recently found out that person died?
My question: if the person died intestate and you were an illegitimate but blood heir, albeit estranged, do you have any legal right to make a claim eight years after probate? Asking from legal rather than moral viewpoint although if said heir is grown independent with no relationship with the deceased for 20+ years (aside from one letter) would this not affect a claim in any case?
The executor granted probate is a blood heir. Whether they knew of the estranged sibling's existence or not, there was no official announcement of death or obituary of the father (not that has been found). That does not mean however, that the executor deliberately withheld information as possibly has not been told of sibling's existence?
The executor's stepmother died shortly before the father and executor was named in her will as sole beneficiary. Does this not indicate father's wish to disinherit illegitimate son or would it have no bearing?
The time limit is 6 months from the grant of probate or representation regardless of whether or not the deceased left a will. After 8 years the illegitimate son would need to apply to the court for permission to lodge a claim.
Actually reading this again I am somewhat confused. I initially thought we were talking about an Inheritance Act claim but reading again it seems we may be talking about an estate being distributed incorrectly.
Can we clarify things please. Are we saying that:
- the estate we are talking about is that of the father - the father had an illegitimate son and one or more legitimate children - the father married someone who was not the mother of his legitimate children - she died leaving her estate to her stepchildren - he died leaving no will - his estate was distributed to his legitimate children
Is that correct? If not please explain exactly what has happened here.
The one thing I will say is that the person you refer to as the executor being named as the sole beneficiary in the step mother's will does not in any way indicate the father's wishes (which are, in any event, irrelevant if he didn't leave a will).
Thank you. So given the time lapse and the estrangement, any claim could be time-barred in any case and at the judge's discretion. Would you seek permission from the original court where probate was granted/same judge? It is difficult as there is no evidence to suggest notification of death was withheld deliberately but also strange he was not told, given there was contact only three years before (to give news of a grandchild). It is probably just best buried in the past given there was no official reunion/reconciliation.
The father died intestate. He had one legitimate daughter, one illegitimate son during his first marriage and he then remarried later, with no children from that marriage. They divorced shortly before she died. Her will left everything to him then his daughter (her stepdaughter). This will was written many years before. He died a few months later leaving no will. The daughter was granted probate for both estates and was the executor/beneficiary of both. Unsure of how father's estate was distributed but assume she took 100% as testacy rules apply.
Actually, thinking about it and the timescales/intricacies of relationships at the time, I do not see how she could not have known. (Her father moved out to set up home with the mistress).Whether her own relationship with their father and later second wife (he never married the mistress, they split due to his EA and DV) remained intact or not I have no idea. She will have found a letter/photo when clearing house unless it was thrown away. Would be surprised if it had never been recalled or mentioned but she has never made contact with us out of curiosity or for any other reason. That works both ways obviously.
Hello again As it has already been distributed, what would his recourse be? If she claims she did not know of his existence or could not find him, is she not exempt from liability? As far as I know, she did the probate herself, does everyone take out an insurance or is that just companies for hire? Once a judge has granted probate, is he not alleviating her of any accountability for future actions against the estate/property?
Probate is granted by the Probate Registry, not a judge. It simply gives the executors the powers they need to deal with the estate. It does not absolve them of accountability for administering the estate correctly.
There are steps an executor can take to protect themselves from claims such as advertising for creditors and beneficiaries. The executor does not escape liability just because they did not know of the existence of a beneficiary.
If the illegitimate son wishes to pursue this he will need to consult a lawyer who specialises in this area of law.