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Mum's will(7 Posts)
A bit of background - My mum and her husband have a grown up child together and two grown up children each from previous marriages. Unfortunately the family is rather dysfunctional and myself and my older sister from my mum's previous marriage have no contact with our stepfather or step siblings and haven't had any for many years.
Our mum has recently informed us that herself and her husband have made DIY wills. These leave everything to each other upon their death and she says they trust the surviving spouse to split their estate between the 5 children when they die.
If my mum died first myself and my sister believe there is a strong possibility her husband would leave all of their estate to his 3 biological children only and that he has persuaded her to make DIY wills in order to enable this. She never questions him. Is there anything we can do legally to contest this if he does?
Probably not to be honest.
I sympathise, though.
Wprzel if you are in England (and that is very important as wills rule vary around the world) and the property is in England, then if your step father inherits all you can challenge your mother's will then but only then under legislation called Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 - _ think you may have to show you are on hard times if you are an adult child to bring such a challenge. (A lady on benefits managed it recently). You could not challenge your step father's will when he dies second however.
So I would just politely say to your mother that just to be on the safe side she perhaps might change the will to say on her death her assets go on trust for his life to her then husband (who of course may not be that step father by then could be another!) and you her own children receive her assets on that person's death. Or even that all her own assets immediately go to you the children perhaps with just a right to stay in the house until her then husband dies. Perhaps back it up by saying you understand under that 1975 Act if she leaves her will as it stands then it may be subject to a challenge in court to avoid that they just need a simple codicil to their wills (this also protects your step father's children too in case he dies first - probably more likely as he is male and probably older - she inherits and then she gives all her assets to none of his children.
You can't force her however and the 1975 Act challenge in due course may not succeed - you are not babes in arms left without any means of support etc.Could be worth a try.
Also some parents try to give away their money well before they die to stop the state taking 40% of it in inheritance tax. Whether that is relevant here depends on the amount of assets they have and value of the house but I am doing that. Hopefully 20 or 30 years before I die I have started giving money to the children so the state does not take 40% of it when I die. It does not sound like your mother is likely to do that however.
Thanks for your replies. I don't think I made it clear that the DIY wills that my mum and her husband have made state that all assets are to be passed on to the surviving spouse when they die and name the children to which the assets are to be split on the death of the other. My sister, the child of my mum and her husband, and my step brother are executors of the wills and have been given copies. My mum believes that this will avoid any issues. Would this make any difference legally? There is no chance of getting her to make any changes to her will I'm afraid as it is her husband who decides these kind of things and she goes along with whatever he says.
I wonder what that means eg is it a life interest in the balance of the estate and once the second one dies then that parent leaves to the named children?
Eg it might say if your mother dies first her husband does not inherit her money absolutely, instead he only has a right to it in trust until he dies and after he dies her assets (but not his) go to you and your sibiling and to the half sibling. That is a common way to do it. It does work.
If your mother leaves all her assets to her husband any clause in her will that states what happens when he dies has no effect at all. The assets would be his and he can do whatever he likes with them.
If she leaves him a life interest that is a different matter. She can then specify what happens to the assets when her husband dies.
As it is a DIY will I'm afraid I suspect that your mother has got this wrong and that her assets will pass to him outright. If that is the case he does not have to leave anything to you and your sister regardless of that your mother's will says.
Your mum needs to leave her assets to you in a Trust. She must have her will written very carefully by a solicitor or it will be useless. Mirror wills are a waste of time as they do not tie the partner into actually carrying out the wishes. The partner can change their will at any time.
She needs a properly written will.
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