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What happens when someone with no relatives dies?

(16 Posts)
VivaLeBeaver Sat 16-May-15 13:42:46

Just wondering what would happen when my mother dies. Both myself and my brother are NC with her.

There are no relatives and she has no friends. I'm assuming she will leave all her money either to the local church or possibly to my teenage dd.

There will be a house to sell, bank accounts to close, personal possessions to sort and house to empty. Would I be expected to do this? What happens if I refuse? Who would arrange a funeral if I refuse to be involved? She has detailed, extensive funeral plans and has left a copy of her funeral plans with the vicar. Do those funeral plans have to be adhered to?

CMOTDibbler Sat 16-May-15 13:49:09

If your mother leaves a will, then the appointed executors deal with the house sale etc - she may have appointed a solicitor to do this. When my great aunt died (no children, only in contact with my v frail dad and me) the solicitor did everything and said he often acted where there was no one at all.

The executors would do the funeral as well.

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Sat 16-May-15 13:54:35

One thing that might be relevant - if she doesn't leave a valid will the intestacy provisions will apply and you and your brother would get everything, by default. I've no idea what happens about appointing administrators to wind up an estate in those circumstances but I'm pretty sure you couldn't be forced to take on that role. I don't know if it's possible to refuse your inheritance either. Where there's a will all the beneficiaries can agree to vary the terms but I don't know if you can do that when there's no will.

It must be a difficult situation, Viva.

VivaLeBeaver Sat 16-May-15 13:59:05

I'm sure there will be a will. When I was in contact with her she was down the solicitors often enough changing it, taking my brother out and putting him back in. Threatening to remove both of us and leave everything to dd.

Hopefully she's appointed a solicitor as an executor now, last will I saw I think I was an executor.

Wouldn't put it past her to leave everything to the church but appoint me as an executor to try and rub salt in the wound!

Bogeyface Sat 16-May-15 14:02:48

You can refuse to be executor if she has named you, thats perfectly legal, although you will have to appoint someone else to do it which may cost although presumably the costs of that will come from the estate.

CMOTDibbler Sat 16-May-15 14:05:02

Yes, you can appoint someone else, and the costs come out of the estate - dad did this as he just couldn't do the job of executor.

VivaLeBeaver Sat 16-May-15 14:05:19

Thanks everyone, feel a bit reassured I can refuse to get involved if I don't wish to.

elspethmcgillicuddy Sat 16-May-15 14:29:41

Are you in Scotland? It is different there are you could potentially claim for a portion of her estate when she dies. I get the impression you wouldn't want to but Scots Law essentially makes it impossible for you to be disinherited so you would be entitled.

It's a long story but my sister and I had to make a decision about whether or not to do this when my grandfather died. He had left most of his estate to his three living children and as the issues of his only deceased child we were entitled to contest the will. (We didn't but spent ages agonising over it).

VivaLeBeaver Sat 16-May-15 14:47:21

Am in England but wouldn't contest the will even if I could. Thanks though.

SevenAteNine Sat 16-May-15 15:01:48

If you are appointed in a will as executor, you are allowed to appoint someone else.

If she did leave you a large sum of money you could donate it to someone or something she didn't like. Feels a bit like cutting off your nose to spite your face though.

JoanHickson Sat 16-May-15 15:08:11

My Mum was an executor of a will with a cousin. Their mutual Aunt left the majority of the money to charity after small figures were left to family.

The family got their legacy and charities paid for a solicitor to be executor.

My Mum gave up on the will as the executor cousin went AWOL and another cousin couldn't be found.

JoanHickson Sat 16-May-15 15:08:57

I should clarity the charity share of the legacy funded the solicitor.

goddessofsmallthings Sat 16-May-15 17:48:25

In your particular circumstances, if your mother doesn't remarry and dies intestate (without a Will), you and your db will equally inherit all her worldly goods. If neither of you wish to register her death or arrange her funeral, and in the absence of any other relatives or willing friends who'll do the necessary and stump up for the not inconsiderable costs of the proceedings, the state will bury her and seek recompense from her estate.

If she's made a Will her executor(s) will be responsible for obtaining grant of probate and distributing her estate minus funeral and their own costs together with death duties if applicable, to whatever beneficiaries she has named; unless the Will calls on the executor(s) to undertake this task they won't necessarily be responsible for arranging her funeral, but they will be responsible for ensuring the cost is met from her estate.

It's customary for the deceased's wishes with regard to disposal of their remains to be carried out after their demise. However, in the absence of specific clauses in/codicils to the Will, there's no legal requirement for any such instructions to be adhered to.

FWIW, those who talk about changing their Wills in order to wield control over others rarely do so.

namechange0dq8 Sat 16-May-15 17:57:17

although you will have to appoint someone else to do it

No you don't. If you're appointed an executor and you don't want to have anything to do with it on a "not my monkeys, not my circus" basis, you don't have to do anything other than write a letter renouncing the executorship. After that, what happens isn't your problem. "Appointing someone else to do it" is what happens when you remain an executor, but don't want to or can't do the work: as executor, you can employ someone to do work from the estate. They don't become an executor in law, however.

People can't just randomly appoint you as an executor and then demand that you either do the work or appoint someone to do it. You can always refuse to have anything to do with it: indeed, this is standard advice in the event of insolvent estates, that the executors should walk away and leave it to anyone who thinks they can recover monies they are owned and wishes to try so to do.

VivaLeBeaver Sat 16-May-15 18:18:29


I really wouldn't put it past her to write me out of the will. If we remain NC I can't blame her but even if we were back in touch it wouldn't suprise me. She was always threatening to for no reason.

Her own mother wrote her out of her will and left her estate to me and my brother with explicit instructions not to be bullied by my mum into giving her anything.

Obviously that pissed my mum off big time, even though she hated her own mother she couldn't see why she'd been written out the will. I think she tried to justify it that she herself was/is quite well off while me and Dh had a small child, just buying our first home, etc. so she reckoned my Gran must have done it just to help us.

So then she started saying that since we'd been helped then maybe she ought to help my dd by doing the same. I just used to smile and nod and say do what you like.

Jacana Sat 16-May-15 19:10:45

Just to say that last year I refused to be executrix when a solicitor informed me that I'd been named. Dunno what happened then, as namechanged says, not my monkeys,not my circus" (new saying to me and I love it!)

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