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Do children have any legal right to see a deceased parent's will ?

(37 Posts)
iPost Tue 09-Feb-16 12:23:44

Via a random Google search of my father's name by a 3rd party I came to be informed this Sunday of an obit for him. Two more links marking his death have been found, both forums relating to his former profession.

He died late November last year. Via the links of random internet people having a chatter I have established cause of death. Brian cancer.

Again via information in the links my sister and I have tracked down his final resting place.

I believe the reason why we were not informed by either my father, nor his former mistress, now wife, was in order to facilitate disinheriting us. Most likely as punishment for refusing to accept all his choices as always somebody else's fault. He abandoned us at 11, 14 and 16.

I had always thought that unlike Italy, where I live, in England you can leave your assets as randomly as you like. And as an estranged child I have always banked on being disinherited. But somebody has sent me a link to some kind of family act made in 1975. So I think there was a deliberate intent to delay our knowledge of his death, and leave us to find out via internet based chatter, as and when it happened.

As I understand it in order to resist a challenge my father will have been advised to either makes trust, or make it very clear in his will why he was cutting out his 3 children.

I want to see those reasons in black and white. I cannot sit here in tears with "if onlies, what ifs, maybes" about his emotional connection for us any longer, if, as the context suggests, he deliberatly left us to be the last to know, for motives of exacting belated will-based punishment for not letting him off the hook for letting us down so badly.

All we ever wanted was a sorry. She can have the money, and my late grandparents' money. I hope it keeps her warm at night.

But I want to see my father's reasons. To allow his final words regarding me to pierce the bubble of pain and let me grieve no more for a man who dismissed me in his life, and death.

I don't live in the UK. I will have to do this from here, becuase my UK based sister is crushed by how we found out, and my relationship with my brother is untenable.

Do I have any right to see his will ? And if I do, where do I even start ?

I know the UK doesn't have a notary manage and publish the will like they do here. I know somebody acts as executor. But if that is his former mistress/now wife.. based on how she body blocked me as a teenager, so I couldn't even sit next to my father, I can't see things being made easy for me.

Mumblechum1 Tue 09-Feb-16 12:29:14

You can see the will once it's been published, which is usually only around 6 months after the death.

I'm a will writer and sadly quite a few of my clients don't wish to give any of their estate to children from whom they are estranged.

So long as the children aren't financially dependent (under the Inheritance (Family and Dependents) Act 1975, or had a reasonable claim (for example because they'd given up work and/or their own home to care for the parent), there's no obligation to leave an estranged adult child anything.

In these circs, I normally include an exclusion clause along the lines of "I expressly exclude my child X because we have been estranged since 1990 and she is not financially dependent upon me". The only reason to say anything at all is to make it clear that they weren't missed off by accident.

I don't put in any reasons behind the estrangement purely because the will will be a public document one day and it's best not to air the reasons in public.

I'm sorry this is probably not what you want to hear.

iPost Tue 09-Feb-16 12:29:45

I've re read my post. For clarity (that is lacking above) I believe it is possible we were deliberatly not told about his death in order to allow time for the will to go through unchallenged. On purpose. Which is why my father made no attempt to leave instructions for us to be contacted after his death. And as far as we understand it, he did know he was dying.

FTR the three links where his death is mentioned, neither my father nor she had any control over what was being written. There was no usual local announcement in any newspaper. In fact, without those three links... you wouldn't know he was dead at all.

summerwinterton Tue 09-Feb-16 12:33:41

I paid £10 for a copy of my parent's will.

I am sorry for what you are going through btw x

iPost Tue 09-Feb-16 12:33:53

Mumble

Where would it be published ? Is there some sort of public register ?

In many ways what you have said is easier to hear than what I have been told earlier. If there wasn't any need to worry about a challenge to the will, maybe he didn't intend for us to be left in the dark about his death, and left to stumble on casual mentions of his passing by complete strangers who knew him back in 1962.

Maybe that wasn't what he intended for us at all.

iPost Tue 09-Feb-16 12:34:36

summer

Where did you have to go to find it ? Is there an online ... register of wills ?

summerwinterton Tue 09-Feb-16 12:39:01

Yep - i ordered it online. Took a week or 2 to arrive. I must admit it upset me seeing it all written down.

www.gov.uk/wills-probate-inheritance/searching-for-probate-records

fairgroundsnack Tue 09-Feb-16 12:40:19

www.gov.uk/wills-probate-inheritance/searching-for-probate-records

You can search online but have to pay £10 to get a copy of the record.

iPost Tue 09-Feb-16 12:54:10

Thank you.

I've just run a search for last year (when he died) and this year. No record.

summer

I'm so cried out, I don't think it can possibly hurt more.

I'm hoping it will act like a pain killer. Dismissed as his daughter in black and white offers the chance of a certain frigid clarity as per how he really felt. Questions, hopes and doubts (about the right choices being made at certain junctions) will hopefully fall away in the face of clear evidence to the contrary.

I'm hoping seeing it might feel like a particularly sticky plaster being ripped off an unfortunately hairy limb. Burn like hell for a second. But then the wound can have fresh air, dry out, scab over and finally heal with proper scar tissue that holds even in the face of future bumps and knocks.

I may be entirely wrong. So far my predictions have been right about... not a lot.

whatevva Tue 09-Feb-16 13:51:51

Sometimes, a notice is put into the London Gazette by the solicitors to find creditors, if the estate is larger. www.thegazette.co.uk/wills-and-probate

If he was intestate he would have had to have had more than £250,000 to leave anything to any other than his wife. From what you say, his wife will have it sorted anyway - some men just do as they are told. sad

megletthesecond Tue 09-Feb-16 13:54:06

Yes, I ordered my dad's will. Can't remember if it was from the registry office or council records. Something like ten / fifteen quid.

iPost Tue 09-Feb-16 14:24:10

whatevva

Nothing there either.

I guess I will have to wait the full six months.

Maybe by then I won't even need to see how he dismissed us. Becuase I will finally have been able to let him go, and close the book. And it won't matter any more.

Fizrim Tue 09-Feb-16 14:28:30

If the estate is small and doesn't need probate, it might not appear on the register but it's worth continuing to check in case it does pop up.

LadyIsabellaWrotham Tue 09-Feb-16 14:33:52

If he didn't have a lot of money (ie £250,000) then he needn't have made a will anyway? It would all go straight to his widow. I'm so sorry, this must be so upsetting for you to bring it all back thanks

Kingfisherfree Tue 09-Feb-16 14:38:56

So sorry ipost. flowers I know how you feel. I became estranged from my df ( due to his dp who didn't want us in df's life) in his final years. He remarried one year before his death when he was terminally ill. He didn't have a will.

Owllady Tue 09-Feb-16 14:44:56

Have you had any counselling? I'm estranged from my father and as part of the therapy I had to accept I would never get any answers. I think this will be useful to you.
Men who abandon their families like your father did, don't deserve to have them. It disgusts me

iPost Tue 09-Feb-16 14:54:24

re small inheritence

It won't be too small to show up somewhere.

Not unless when he got his diagnosis he still had capacity and moved everything over into her name before his death.

Which is a possibility.

Lady

flowers

I feel like I am stuck in a whirlpool. Us finding out last. From the Internet. It's all a bit "Salt, may I introduce you to gaping wound?"

LadyIsabellaWrotham Tue 09-Feb-16 14:58:25

It might all be in joint accounts so there would be no paperwork at all to speak of.

whatevva Tue 09-Feb-16 14:58:47

If they had a house as joint tenants, that would go straight to the wife, without the will. The same for joint accounts etc. He would have to have his own accounts/property/shares etc going over £250,00. Life insurance would also go outside the Will. So it still might not show up.

iPost Tue 09-Feb-16 15:06:27

Even subtracting joint home, joint accounts, he would likely have had substantial assets in his own name. He was at least the third generation in a row to have some very odd, fixed ideas about money.

But people do change. So I'll bear that in mind if I go back for a look in a few months time and still find nothing published.

gingeroots Tue 09-Feb-16 16:46:54

ipost if he died last November ie 2015 then it's quite likely that probate hasn't been granted yet and the will won't be avaiable on line yet .

You can download a form here hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/pa001s-eng.pdf
and send off by post for a standing search which lasts for 6 months and will let you know as soon as probate is granted .But I think you need the date of the death .

( fastdaytears told me about postal searches )

NewLife4Me Tue 09-Feb-16 16:57:46

Sorry you are going through this OP

i know somebody close to me who similar happened to and the solicitor said that you can only challenge a will if you can prove the person making the will wasn't of sound mind or signed it under duress.
He told all parties this, those who inherited and those who didn't.
Everyone was aware so the chances are that she will have been told this anyway and have no reason to keep you out of the picture, well, maybe not will related anyhow.

Iloveonionchutney Tue 09-Feb-16 17:18:32

I don't know much about all this but my man died late November last year and we have been told by the time it goes through probate we will see the will at the end of this month so you may not find anything just yet.

iPost Wed 10-Feb-16 09:49:48

It wasn't about challenging the will. I live in Italy which would push costs up to beyond expensive.

Revenge on her wouldn't be worth the stress of seeking an award seven years down the line that at best might cover a third of of what it cost me to fight for it.

The will for me was about understanding why we the last to know. Finding out months later from a random web link where people were speaking of his death.

I have some clarity thanks to this thread.

My father had no reason to avoid our being informed, becuase he had ever chance to protect his assets from a challenge from us.

By the same token his then mistress/now wife had no reason to avoid our being informed.

It was a cold choice to leave us in the dark. To let us find out the way we did. Becuase she at least was well aware of the content of link we were sent. When she first saw it months ago she could have asked for his full name to be removed. Or to a solicitor to let us know. It might have cost a couple of hundred, but she got all our grandparent's and father's money which was a very significant amount. Could she not spare a little cash to spare us the double whammy of hearing of our father's death via the chatter of Internet randoms ?

That's real clarity.

He didn't love us. He didn't care. And she is as unfeeling and unthinking as she was all those years ago.

At least this thread has left me knowing where I stand. It might be a cold place, but it is where the truth lives, and ultimatly that is what will help me get past this the fastest.

Thank you to everybody for your help.

sofato5miles Wed 10-Feb-16 10:05:37

What a cruel, weak man your father was. Remember that and remember it is best not to be tied to someone like that.

You are worthy of love and lovable. He does not dictate that.

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