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Morbid subject - My father's will and my half siblings

(14 Posts)
mrsmiller Tue 19-Aug-08 17:00:32

Awful as it seems we are trying to get my father to discuss his will and what will happen after he dies. He is quite old and thinks he's off soon (we think) so it's difficult to talk to him. Also he sees me as a child so won't discuss it seriously.

The issue is. When he met my mum she had 2 children who were 9 and 14. Their dad is alive but deserted them all. I came along a couple years later and between now and then my step brother (who is the oldest) fell out with my dad and hasn't spoken to him for going on 20 years. My step sister still lives nearby and visits him alot (however my husband and i do doubt her motives-be seen be left some money, she calls him dad to his face but by his name when he's not around). Our mother died 10 years ago, she had no will and they had nothing to leave to any of us as my dad still lives in the house i grew up in, as did i when mum died.

My dad never adopted them and their father is still alive. I'm pretty sure i won't get anything when he dies.

The problem is my dad is getting quite irrate as he has been told that because mum died with nothing to give and they lived with us for a few years they are entitled to some of his estate (meager as it is) whether he leaves a will or not. As such he's talking about selling his house to one of these equity release companies.

We don't mind him doing that but it is because he is panicking that my half brother along with my mother's family (who don't speak to me because they don't like my dad and think my half siblings father is the hard done by one (wrong BTW)) will get involved and get what he sees as being mine and my son's.

I'm so sorry this is so long but can anyone give me advice, point me in a free help direction. Is he better off with or without a will or just selling up now and being done with it?

Thank you

hana Tue 19-Aug-08 17:02:59

you are always better off with a will

but I have no other advice or help, sorry

BecauseImWorthIt Tue 19-Aug-08 17:03:34

I don't think anyone is entitled to anything apart from the government/inland revenue!

And if he is irate about it then he should definitely write a will where he is very specific about his desires for his estate. No need to sell to an equity release company.

CarGirl Tue 19-Aug-08 17:04:31

I am confused.

They are all your half siblings not step siblings at all???

Your father can leave his estate to whom ever he chooses, provided he uses a solicitor to draw up the will properly then there shouldn't be a problem. If they were not adults then I think it would be different but your half-siblings are adults now aren't they?

SqueakyPop Tue 19-Aug-08 17:04:37

If he dies without leaving a will, and he didn't adopt the children, they won't be entitled to any of the estate.

It's always better to have a will because the money will go where he wants it to go.

He he sells up and distributes the money, there will be taxes to pay if he dies within seven years (I think).

AMumInScotland Tue 19-Aug-08 17:06:40

If he wants to be certain what will happen, he really ought to go to a solicitor and find out what the legal position is, then draw up a will which gives him the best available optins.

On the other hand, if he really doesn't want to be doing with any of it, he can just not bother, and then all the fuss will happen after he dies when everyone will get the legal "shares" and he has no say in any details. That's a lot more hassle for the people left behind, and the lawyers are likely to have to do more work at that stage which will come out of the estate.

Your half-siblings are certainly entitle to part of their mother's estate, even though they didn't at the time of her death because her spouse (your father) was still alive.

SqueakyPop Tue 19-Aug-08 17:12:58

I only know what I have learnt from Heir Hunters, but if the mother dies and the money passes automatically to her husband, the money doesn't pass to the next generation until the death of the husband - then it goes to his blood relatives and not to step children.

That is why it is vitally important to have a will for second marriages.

SaintGeorge Tue 19-Aug-08 17:13:03

Can you clarify that they are your step-siblings and not half-siblings?

If you are your father's only blood child and he did not adopt your step-siblings, then you stand to inherit the lot under intestacy law if your father does not write a will.

There is no legal right for the half-siblings to inherit their mother's estate. She died intestate so your father legally inherited everything. It now makes up part of his estate.

Freckle Tue 19-Aug-08 17:14:14

If the mother had nothing to leave and the house was held as joint tenants, which means it went to the father (and it will never have formed part of the mother's estate), then her children by her first marriage are not necessarily entitled to anything unless they are dependent upon the father. This is why it is so important to get specific legal advice when step-families are formed.

If the father leaves a will in which the OP is the sole beneficiary (or along with her son), the step-siblings will have no claim on the estate.

AMumInScotland Tue 19-Aug-08 17:19:05 website has details about the law on what happens when people die intestate.

I was wrong earlier - if your mother's children had any claim, it was on her estate when she died. They don't have any claim on her husband's estate.

AMumInScotland Tue 19-Aug-08 17:25:01

However, I've just found another page - if your half-siblings were "treated as a child of the family by the person who has died when they were married " then they may be able to make a claim against the estate. They don't have an automatic entitlement to anything, but they can try to make a claim through the courts. That's the bit which can happen whether or not your father makes a will.

mrsmiller Tue 19-Aug-08 19:47:45

Thanks everyone. They are my half siblings but my father's step children although my brother was actually at university by the time i was born so was never really dependent on my dad.

AMumInScotland, thank you so much for all your help and research, your last post is what we think is the issue and is what my dad is worried about. But my brother has had nothing to do with him for years and was never dependent on him so would have little to take to court really. Thanks again hun.


artichokes Tue 19-Aug-08 19:52:54

If your father leaves a will that statesw you inherit everything then that is what will happen. Your half siblings have no claim on any of the estate - they would not have any claim even if they were his kids.

If a person writes a will in sound mind and it is written properly (i.e. they use a solicitor) then they can me sure their money will go where they want.

PortAndLemon Tue 19-Aug-08 19:54:54

He needs to make a will stating very clearly what he wants to happen to the estate.

As it happens personally I think he should, morally, leave some share of his estate to your half sister at least, but it is entirely up to him. If he makes a proper will leaving everything to you then given your half-sister is now an adult she would be very unlikely to successfully challenge the will.

(By the way, DH calls his father Dad to his face and by his first name when he's not there. And I don't doubt his motives)

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