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Dad died but divorce not finalised

(15 Posts)
Juststopamoment Wed 25-Oct-17 21:35:49

My father died recently and he and my mother divorced 10 years ago. He’s left the family home that my mum lives in to us, his children but says that she can stay as long as she wants. Fine. We’ve seen the divorce papers for the first time and they say that he gave her the house for a certain amount of money but we’ve since found out he didn’t sign the papers and she didn’t give him any money. What should we do now? I’m assuming then that he still owns the house and his will stands. Which is fine as it doesn’t have to be sold. Should we do anything?

Collaborate Wed 25-Oct-17 22:05:15

He doesn’t own the house. The order is valid. She owes the estate the money and the estate owes her the house. She may owe interest too.

Juststopamoment Wed 25-Oct-17 22:28:32

Thank you for answering Collaborate. So if we are getting the estate but don’t want the money from her as there is enough money for us can we say that and she can own thit house? Or if she doesn’t have the money to give what happens next? He appointed a company to be his executor.

Collaborate Wed 25-Oct-17 22:50:11

You can do a deed of variation by which you gift the inheritance to your mum.

EnriqueTheRingBearingLizard Wed 25-Oct-17 22:53:34

I think you need specialist advice. Depending on the value of the property it may be better to form some kind of lifetime right to remain, whereby your mother doesn't take ownership, but doesn't have to move out or pay rent. The property wouldn't then form part of her personal estate and if she needed care, might not be taken into account?

Juststopamoment Thu 26-Oct-17 06:54:04

If she paid the estate the money and sorted the house ownership could we then give her money back to her? Is that Legal?

Juststopamoment Thu 26-Oct-17 06:54:49

I agree she needs to get proper advice.

syobruof Thu 26-Oct-17 07:20:08

It matters very much what "the papers" are. You definitely need specialist advice. Did your parents actually get to the stage of Decree Absolute? If not then it is now not possible so there could be no divorce ( you cannot divorce once you have died ). Then any financial order or agreement cannot take effect / would not be enforceable.
Your parents may not be in this situation. Then consider was there a court order which just wasn't implemented or was it an agreement they reached which wasn't signed. All of this makes a difference.
I'm not an expert in wills / probate but I think the first step is clarifying ownership from the divorce. Hope that helps.

Collaborate Thu 26-Oct-17 07:48:35

The basic situation is that the death does not invalidate the order to transfer the house (and for your mum to pay the money to the estate). However the order can only take effect if there is a decree absolute, and if he died before that then the order has no effect.

MrsBertBibby Thu 26-Oct-17 07:56:51

And conversely, if there is a decree Absolute, and the Will was made before decree, then it is likely that the provisions relating to your mum are no longer valid.

Is the house worth a lot? There could be some inheritance tax issues. You need to get all the information and then get a good probate solicitor, preferably with good family lawyers attached.

Juststopamoment Thu 26-Oct-17 08:37:18

There was a decree absolute but the court papers saying what everyone had to do were not signed by my dad and my mum didn’t give him the money. Basically everyone put their heads in the sand. The will is dated 5 years after their divorce.

Collaborate Thu 26-Oct-17 10:38:32

So there was no financial order?

If there was no order they still owned the property jointly (unless it was in his sole name).
If owned jointly you need to find out if they were joint tenants - if so, your mum takes the house no matter what the will says. Chances are they are tenants in common, in which case you inherit his half. But if the house was owned fully by your dad you need to do a deed of variation in favour of your mum.

Larsitter Thu 26-Oct-17 11:25:06

That sounds right to me too,

Also were the "court papers" a court sealed agreed consent order? I think not. I think they just verbally agreed what would happen, never after decree absolute signed anything, the court issued no financial order and then your father 5 years later made a will. Check on line in whose name the house is in too.

mumblechum0 Thu 26-Oct-17 11:28:14

I agree with Collaborate. Difficult to advise without seeing the paperwork though OP, you really need to make an appointment with a practice which does both family and probate to take a look

MrsBertBibby Fri 27-Oct-17 08:11:53

If you're happy to say roughly where you are we might have suggestions of firms.

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