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A Will(36 Posts)
My mother passed away last week.
She told my sister and myself that she had made another Will, following a family row 21 years ago in which she had left everything to a distant relative (I have met a couple of times in my life. I’m 57). The “old” Will left everything to this relative who hasn’t seen mum in years.
My son is now 18 and we, as a family became close again after he was born and have remained so. She teased my sister and I that we needed to be nice to her to get our inheritance and we laughed it away because Mum had said, she’d revoked the earlier Will and had left her estate to her two children (my sister and I).
We cannot find ANY Will. The old one, nor a newer revised version.
In amongst all the grief and loss, my sister and I are now needing to sort Mums affairs and wonder, if she didn’t change her Will, whether we have any way of fighting this Will.
Whilst I am in tears each day about the loss of my Mum I’m also very upset that she would leave everything she had to someone who we don’t know and who hasn’t visited/contacted/sent as much as a birthday card in 20 years.
Can anyone advise?
Condolences on your loss.
Which Will do you think you'd be 'fighting', if you're saying there is no Will to be found?
If you DM has left no Will, nor appointed an Executor (who might have the Will and therefore the instructions on the execution of her final wishes), then she will have died intestate and the U.K. intestacy law applies. So you wouldn't be fighting the Will as you would be her next of kin, albeit if she has a husband who is still alive, then they too would be beneficiaries.
If you cannot find a will, there might not be one. My DF constantly said I wasn’t in his will. There was no will. He was intestate.
We contacted a couple of local solicitors and looked everywhere. There was no will. If you cannot find one, appoint a solicitor and the estate will be dealt with under the intestate process.
I’m sorry this has happened. It would be easier if older people were kind to others when talking about their Wills and not weaponising them. Don’t worry. Just see a solicitor who can help you.
Thank you for your replies. I maybe haven’t explained it well. There was a Will (circa 1999/2000 we believe) in which my Mum claimed to have left all to a relative because of a family fallout. When we overcame our family argument and I had my son, another Will, replacing the first Will was “supposedly” made.
Sorry for your loss. Go through her paperwork and see if she had a solicitor who may know or her bank.
If you cant find the will from 2000 then there is no will and the intestate laws applies.
We can so far, find evidence of neither.
My sister and I always encouraged mum to spend her cash. To travel and enjoy herself but after my step dad died, she just wasn’t the same. We took her away with us, several times. Lovely holidays to Dominican, Menorca, Milan, Verona, Lake Garda, Turin and Venice (we as a family, love Italy).
She always came to me for Christmas. The relative is probably my age (not a blood relative) and was always one for visiting my mum when she had a second home abroad. I do know that they haven’t seen each other in many years.
I guess, I can’t believe that my Mum would do this.
Where have you looked? Wills are often kept at solicitors or in a bank or somewhere else safe. It might not be in the house.
If you do find a will you believe to be unfair, or invalid because if changes in circumstances not catered for by the will, you can contest it.
If you cannot find the older will the assumption is that it doesn't exist or has been destroyed. Either way, if it isn't found you don't have to comply with what you think it said. In that situation the estate would be dealt with under intestacy rules which means you and your sister will inherit everything (assuming there are no other siblings).
If you do find a will you believe to be unfair, or invalid because if changes in circumstances not catered for by the will, you can contest it
Assuming the OP is in England, she cannot contest a will on the basis that it is unfair or that there have been changes in circumstances. The validity of a will can only be contested on the basis that it is fraudulent or forged, someone exercised undue influence on the deceased, the deceased lacked testamentary capacity, the will was not properly executed, the deceased did not understand and approve of the contents of the will or the will does not reflect the deceased's intentions at the time it was made. It is also possible to make an Inheritance Act claim against the estate if the will fails to make reasonable provision for family and dependents. However, as the OP and her sister were not financially dependent on their mother a Inheritance Act claim is unlikely to succeed and nothing she has said suggests the will (if found) will be invalid.
Thank you for the replies.
I had a similar situation recently with my own mums will - or lack of it. Basically she had schizophrenia and we had a very difficult relationship, I had been her carer her whole life. She told me she had made a will which left half of everything to my dd and the other half to the dogs trust...! When she died we searched the whole house and couldn’t find any copy of any will. We approached a solicitors and they contacted all the local solicitors asking if they held any will for her and they didn’t. We were then able to apply for letters of administration for her estate (ie such had died without a will) and as I am an only child and she had no other relatives everything came directly to me.
So you can definitely go down this route if you can’t find a will. Contact a solicitor for advice.
Very cruel all these lies about pretend wills benefitting randoms . If you can’t find it it’s presumed destroyed by the deceased.
I need to check her bank.
What’s made me sad is having to ring round solicitors to ask if they have a Will registered by that person. My mum. She also said she’d paid for and organised her funeral. We cannot find any paperwork for that either so, right now, my mother is still in the hospital mortuary until we locate her paper work. I’m beginning to think she hadn’t done any of these things, which is fine but to put us through this when we are grieving, I just don’t know what she was thinking.
I have one son and cannot imagine putting him through something like this.
You should yse a company like vitalconsular to check for a will for you. Think it costs about £12 and they can tell you if one has been legally logged. But that might be after probabte actually. Not 100%. Sorry possibly useless advice but might be helpful
Yes, it’s hurtful and my DF did this. However I assume your mum was elderly if you are 57. I was 25. My DF was 80 when he died but there had been years of “control” via his supposed will. It wasn’t fair and I’m afraid there isn’t anything you can do other than get someone else to phone the solicitors or banks for you. At the age of 25 I phoned round. Some people are just awkward and some people don’t get round to doing anything or changing what they have fine. Mostly saying someone isn’t in a Will is bluster and controlling. It’s frequently never acted on snd therefore there isn’t anything to change. I hope you don’t find it. Life will be easier if it’s not there.
The places to try are local solicitors certainty will register and the probate registry who offer a will storage service but it’s not widely used. I imagine there isn’t one though. Sorry you going through this
Sorry for my lack of response.
I’ve spent the last two days crawling around my Mums house looking in old boxes, drawers, wardrobes and going through files and files of paperwork. Very, very distressing. My eyes are so sore from crying that I’m now just wearing my sunglasses if I have to leave the house.
My sister and I have found nothing. Insurance policies, paperwork going back 40 yrs, letters, cards, house sale documents over the years; she kept EVERYTHING.
I am now totally numb and exhausted and am not thinking about any of it today.
Don’t let it get to you like this. If there isn’t a will, so be it. You shouldn’t be doing this right now. Just accept you cannot find it and busy yourself doing other things. It’s more therapeutic and you cannot change anything I’m afraid. So try not to get upset and work through this with your sister.
@MissKittyBeaudelais I can understand your heightened emotions atm. Having to look through all your DMs belongings with her not around must be very distressing.
Think of it this way, if you can't find any sign of a Will, and if you can't find any signs of a solicitor's papers that might indicate a legal practice that had been assigned as your DMs executors, there is a strong chance she has died intestate. So you won't have the terrible prospect of "fighting" a will that doesn't exist. It makes the situation a lot less contentious.
I would cease your search and seek advice from a solicitor who specialises in probate. The whole reason for intestacy laws being in place is for this scenario, to ensure the estate is distributed according to a defined set of people, namely their living spouse and closest blood relatives, in the event of no Will being available. The sooner you can get support the better.
I guess it might seem “gold digging” of me. But the simple fact is her estate is considerable and I don’t even know this lady. To my knowledge, she hadn’t seen mum in around 20+ years.
Enough. What will be will be.
And something very odd, my sister and I cannot find her belongings. It’s like someone has been “in”. Let’s put it this way, I’ve had to buy her a pair of shoes because all her shoe boxes are there (she always kept her very expensive shoes in their tissue paper, in the boxes 😊) but NO shoes. Her safe is no where to be seen. Her jewellery box, gone. Items she bought for my dad, all gone. It’s all very odd. I saw it a couple of weeks ago and she was asking me if I wanted to take anything which I said no, now’s not the time to be doing that. All her valuations on collections of first editions and ornaments are there but not the actual items. We are baffled. We opened her wardrobe to choose a dress for the funeral and we had a choice of 4 things. Mum was a clothes person.
If I didn’t know better, I’d swear she’d been burgled.
Why are you sure she hasn't been burgled? Sounds very odd, how can you be sure no one else has been in and taken those items? How awful if they have...
Really sorry, sounds like someone may have a key. Any neighbours you can ask if they have seen anyone going in.
But the simple fact is her estate is considerable and I don’t even know this lady
Just to repeat, if you cannot find any will you and your sister will inherit everything under intestacy rules.
You seem to still be labouring under the misapprehension that this distant relative inherits unless you can find a new will. She only inherits if you find a will that says she inherits. If you can't find any will, the fact that there may once have been a will under which this distant relative inherited is irrelevant.
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