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Can I contest my mother's Will?

(29 Posts)
Pleasemrstweedie Mon 08-Aug-16 09:58:29

My (D)M went NC with me in 1988 after i told her that I and my DP were having a baby. I made numerous attempts to talk to her about this, the last in 1993, but every attempt was rebuffed. I was to,d I was cruel and it was made perfectly clear that I should just leave her alone.

She has now died and I have been told by her solicitor that she has left her personal effects to me, a couple of small legacies to other people and the balance of her not inconsiderable estate to a charity with which markets aggressively via solicitors, but with which she had no connection.

Everyone I have told about this has said I should contest. I am trying to make an appointment to see a solicitor about this, but wondered what anyone else might think.

The Will was made in December 1988 and revised by codicil on 1993. It was made by our family solicitors, so I am sure it will have been properly executed etc. However, my DM was a strange woman, who had a long history of mental health issues. She suffered very badly from general anxiety, OCD, agoraphobia, social anxiety and my childhood memories really consist of her being hysterical and then being physically, verbally Nd emotionally

Pleasemrstweedie Mon 08-Aug-16 10:01:18

Posted too soon.

... and emotionally abusive towards me.

I am conflicted on this, but it seems odd, given the fact that she always said that family money should stay in the family, that she has not only ignored me, but also her two DGDs.

I'm now seeing the solicitor on Friday and will see what she says, but I would welcome anyone else's thoughts in the meantime.

MabelSideswipe Mon 08-Aug-16 10:04:08

I think the charity will defend their position with rigour and lots of cash and since you have been no contact since 1988 they will likely win.

acrobatty Mon 08-Aug-16 10:04:20

I don't have an answer for you but it's worth asking a solicitor, you never know!

AlpacaLypse Mon 08-Aug-16 10:04:27

I have heard that unless the testator can be clearly proven to have been incapable of making a rational decision, or the will has cut out family who have in the past been supported by the testator (eg children under 18, dependent wife/husband, disabled family member), you won't get very far. However a solicitor should be able to give sensible advice about this.

cexuwaleozbu Mon 08-Aug-16 12:11:11

Don't bother. She was obviously not a very nice person but you can't prove that she was of unsound mind when she cut you off, and she had every right to make this choice. She may have previously said that family money should stay in the family but she was NC, she may not have considered you to be "family" any more. In any case the charity won't let go even if you did fight.

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Mon 08-Aug-16 12:13:33

I don't think you will have much chance.

I'm NC with my wealthy mother who has no other family. I believe when she does die she will leave all her money to charity. Which is her choice, we don't have a relationship and to be honest even if we did I would have no right to claim the money.

Jackie0 Mon 08-Aug-16 12:22:24

I'm going to be in your position at some point in the future.
It seems terribly unfair , especially when they were an abusive parent.
Although I might be in the wrong legally I feel morally I'm in the right .
Good luck with it op .

whatsthisthen Mon 08-Aug-16 12:30:33

My friend was in this position, it went to court & the charity fought tooth & nail. Friend got 10%, a year long fight & a big legal bill.

NotTodaySatan Mon 08-Aug-16 12:33:25

I genuinely don't understand this.

Why would you want or think you're entitled to the estate of someone you haven't spoke to in almost 30 tears?

It was your mother's money to do whatever she wanted with. Her wishes should be respected.

gillybeanz Mon 08-Aug-16 12:39:49

Unless she made her Will under duress or was not of sound mind, which you can prove, you don't have a case, I don't think anyway.

This is what we were told by our solicitor when he asked if anyone we knew would likely contest. However, this was in response from us asking about possible time frame for completion. So there might be other factors I'm not aware of.

MrsHulk Mon 08-Aug-16 12:43:12

I'm sorry, but I don't think you're likely to win this.

Your best bet might be to put together a case and ask the solicitor to do a formal letter setting out your claim and seeking a settlement from the charity. Effectively this is asking them to pay you something in order to avoid the hassle/expense of a legal fight.

The solicitor will need to know:
- what evidence you have of mental health problems. Was she actually diagnosed, or is this based on your recollection? Do you have any evidence about her mental state after she went NC, ie information from family/friends/neighbours? If she was in formal treatment you'd be able to get evidence about this from her doctor, but you need to know where to start, or if it's worth looking into further.
- to what extent was she ever financially supporting you? Sometimes your expectations/the lifestyle she provided for you will be relevant.
- do you have any evidence she planned to keep family money in the family? Eg did she say it to anybody else? This helps to demonstrate mental health problems if she went against a strongly held view
- roughly what is your financial position? If you are very poor (with no realistic prospect of improvement) the courts are more likely to help you - there was a case in the last few years of an estranged daughter being granted some money because otherwise she had no prospect of ever buying a home.

lastly, I'm sorry for your loss. Bereavement is often even harder if you were estranged as there are so many complicated feelings there. Do consider seeking bereavement counselling, it can really help.

gillybeanz Mon 08-Aug-16 12:46:18

You need to know under what circumstances you are contesting, where the law hasn't been applied to her Will.
She may have given a reason why you were left out of the will, my relative did this.
I can't remember the exact wording but it basically said the relative was not included as she had upset the deceased, had no contact for a few years and were considered estranged from the deceased.

FoggyMorn Mon 08-Aug-16 13:14:13

Why did she go NC with you after you announced pregnancy? If it was for discriminatory reasons (is your partner of a different race/religion?), then I wonder if that would be taken into consideration in a legal challenge to the will?

tigerdick Mon 08-Aug-16 13:56:15

FoggyMorn - Good call:

Pitapotamus Mon 08-Aug-16 14:08:17

Potentially. There is a recent case called Illot v mitson which sounds very similar to your situation. If you google the case name you should find commentary on it to see if it's similar to your situation and to understand the thinking behind it. It's worth getting some proper advice as well.

LineyReborn Mon 08-Aug-16 14:10:42

Where did your mother die? ie which part of the UK / which country?

Pitapotamus Mon 08-Aug-16 14:11:03

i think I'm referring to the same case as MrsHulk

prettybird Mon 08-Aug-16 16:25:54

Unless you're in Scotland, where children have a right to a proportion of the moveable estate, then I don't think there is anything you can do.

PotteringAlong Mon 08-Aug-16 16:28:29

You've been non-contact with her since 1988! You haven't spoken to her in 28 years; I think you're stretching the definition of family here. It just sounds like you're being grabby now.

PrimalLass Mon 08-Aug-16 16:54:18

Actually it sounds like the mother went NC, not the other way round, so I'm not sure that's fair.

KERALA1 Mon 08-Aug-16 17:37:03

As PP said google Ilot v Mitson, relatively recent case adult child was successful in challenging a will - changed the landscape abit in this area, judges usually reluctant to overturn a valid will to provide for an able bodied estranged child.

Will be a big old fight though - depends if you have stomach for it.

NeedAnotherGlass Mon 08-Aug-16 17:47:37

I don't understand why you think you should be entitled to anything.
Why not just accept her wishes and move on with your own life.
You will not find any happiness in pursuing this.

MrsHulk Mon 08-Aug-16 18:35:32

To the people accusing OP of being grabby:

1. She has children to consider. We don't know her financial circumstances or how much they need this money.

2. Her mother had previously said family money should stay in the money. This implies the mother's money originally came from grandparents or a father who would have wanted OP to inherit.

3. Her mother had mental health problems, which may have clouded her judgment, especially given that she'd previously said family money should stay in the family.

4. OP is bereaved. The fact that they were NC does not necessarily make the loss of a parent any easier - in fact for many people it's harder as there are so many unresolved issues, and no hope of ever sorting them out. Can we be a bit kinder and more understanding please?

TheCraicDealer Mon 08-Aug-16 21:28:49

What happened with your father OP, if you don't mind me asking? Is he also deceased? I thought one of the reasons for the decision above was that the father had died intestate and so there was an assumption that he would have wished for part of his estate to go to his DD. Obvs his assets had gone to his wife in the absence of a will, and she'd then taken the decision to go NC with the DD at a comparatively young age. I might be talking pure shite though.

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