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Complex situation - who will inherit the money?

(9 Posts)
Bogeybrains Fri 23-Oct-15 16:49:21

Would really appreciate some advice or information from anybody that knows more about this because we literally have no knowledge of legal matters.

My cousin passed away at the start of the year. He had severe learning difficulties and had lived in a care facility for the last 30 years of his life. After his parents passed away, my grandfather (his uncle)took over as legal guardian. After my grandfather passed away, my dad became his next of kin and would collect money from the council to give to the home for everyday spending money and would buy him his clothes and books etc.

My dad has now been contacted to say that my cousin has a lot of money in his account and has been told to apply for the probate. My cousin's father had 4 sisters all of whom have since passed away. We know 3 of them had children but have not had anything to do with them for over 30 years. They did not have anything to do with cousin whilst he was alive or make contact after his death or come to his funeral (only people at the funeral were care staff and my dad's direct descendants). My dad does not know the other cousin's names or how many of them there are. As mercenary as this sounds, we are hoping that dad will inherit the money because he was the only living direct relative that went to see cousin whilst he was alive and he is the only person known to the staff which is why he has been the only one contacted. Will this be the case or will it be shared equally between the first cousins?

IvyWall Fri 23-Oct-15 16:58:05

If he didn't leave a will there are rules of intestacy

Collaborate Fri 23-Oct-15 16:59:17

Assuming no siblings or half-siblings, the aunts and uncles will inherit equally.

exexpat Fri 23-Oct-15 17:03:08

Unfortunately the intestacy rules don't take any account of who was in contact with or helped the deceased, so your father will only be entitled to the same share as the other cousins.

Bogeybrains Fri 23-Oct-15 17:25:19

Thank you for replies. Will my dad have to find out who the first cousins are and name them or will somebody investigate the family tree when the claim is processed and contact them?

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Fri 23-Oct-15 17:33:02

I'm not an expert in this area but I believe when somebody dies intestate an administrator has to be appointed to deal with winding up the estate and distributing it. Nobody can be forced to take that role on. If your dad doesn't want to do it (and it sounds like it could be a lot of work) I would think the state has to step in and find somebody to do it. The issue then is that there is probably a fee for doing it to be paid out of the estate. I would think the links above cover this situation, as it must be quite common.

cdtaylornats Fri 23-Oct-15 19:12:24

I suggest you look for a BBC programme called Heir Hunters which deals with just this situation.

titchy Fri 23-Oct-15 19:24:16

There are plenty of firms who will trace missing relatives for a fee which would come out of the estate.

justwondering72 Sun 25-Oct-15 19:50:01

In Scotland so I'm not sure if it's the same Mum's cousin died suddenly, left no will and parents dead, no children, divorced. My mum was contacted as she was the probably the closest relative. She and her sister did everything to help see to things - spoke with the lawyer (who was appointed to wind up the estate), cleared the house, helped with viewings for the sale of the house, arranged the sale of her car, arranged the funeral etc. It took them a huge amount of time. They also helped the lawyer to trace all the other surviving first cousins - none of whom had any regular contact with the deceased, didn't even know who she was. But because she died intestate, the estate was shared btw all the first cousins equally - I think my mum and aunt received some expenses to cover a fraction of the work they had done. And yes, the lawyers fees and the finders fees (they used a company to track down other relatives) took a large chunk of the estate.

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