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Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33316
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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Acting for both parties in a case of intestacy in person (2

Customer Question

Acting for both parties in a case of intestacy in person (2 adult children and recently divorcee) - there was a property bought during the marriage as "joint beneficial tenants" - 2 days after the death the children of the deceased took the divorcee (stepfather/husband of deceased for 30years) to a solicitor to sign over this property. At no time was the divorcee (Egyptian by birth) given his best interests/rights; he was bullied by the step daughter and sister in law into signing over the property and was promised access to £13k that was frozen in a joint account (opened in the lifetime of the deceased). No mnies have been given to the divorcee (£13k) and also, he was in no fit state to sign over such an important document: 2 days after the cremation; not knowing his rights (conflict of interest); nor was a "deed of family arrangement" set up. What are his rights? We have approached the solicitor acting for stepdaughter with a reply that they cannot assist - what do we do now?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your query.
For clarity could you please confirm that at the time of the death the property was still held in joint names?
When was the Decree Absolute?
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

yes at time of death property in joint names and there was also a joint bank account where half monies have been frozen ie suvivor cannot access without probate letter/authory. does this also need to be reported to probate first. death was end Feb 2012

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
When was the Decree Absolute?
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

decree absolute was approx 12months max

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
How much is the property worth?
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

€circa £130k

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

€circa £130k

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Who currently owns the house?
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The property was signed over 2 days after the cremation, bullied by stepdaughter and sister in law, survivor signed over the holiday property (in Isle of Wight) to the two children (adults) as they said it was their mother's wishes...the survivor did not know his legal inheritancy rights and signed over the property asking that the £13k in an HSBC Egyptian bank that was frozen on the co-accountholder's death - monies of which was in fact the survivor's savings. There should have been dry up s deed of family agreement as it was a death intestacy - the agreement has not been fufilled by the other parties and there was a conflict of interest I feel as the survivor was not given his best/legal interest by law.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Yes I understand the events but who currently owns the property?
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

property now in names of daughter and son of deceased.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
So this is not about Intestacy at all since they were divorced.
This is in fact about whether or not the former spouse was aware what he was doing when he signed the house over to the children?
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

He was in no fit mental state and as far as he was concerned he had to and was bullied into it but again they guaranteed him £13k monies from his joint account.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for the clarification.
Please understand that this is no way connected with Intestacy Laws or Deeds of Family Arrangement - however it would be useful to have some idea of the extent of the assets that the deceased and the widower had at the time of the divorce.
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

There was a house in Isle of Wight with joint beneficial tenancy which was still in existence on death but after the divorce and also a joint accountin HSBC Egypt (half of which has now been frozen which the divorcee has been denied access to).

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
But what other assets did they each have?
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

house in Sidcup - in survivor's name. Doesn't it state that if a house is in joint beneficial ownership there is an automatic inheritancy to the surviving party(s) irrespective of any Will or not, as the case may be?

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
For clarity then the Widower also had a mortgage free house in Sidcup as well as his interest in the island Property.
What other assets did the deceased have?
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

the deceased had half ownership in a Spanish property worth circa 30k euros...nothing else

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Do you have any idea of the value of these properties (this is relevant I am afraid)
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Isle of Wight £130k


Spanish property Euro 60k


 


Only interested in getting the £13k from HSBC account in exchange for signing over the whole of his beneficial rights to the children. Need a probate order for children to sign in order to access money and we need the solicitor acting at the time to deal with this ie complete the transaction (deed of familty arrangement). He would have been entitled to keep the property through inheritance as joint beneficial owners!

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
For clarity how long ago did this happen and has anyone actually applied for Letters of Administration of the Estate?
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

We are now trying to get a letter of administration as the original solicitor has only acted for the daughter to get the property (Isle of Wight/no mortgage) of her mother (deceased) signed over entirely to her and the son in their sole names.


 


I fear this is costing a lot of money - I have paid £47 I really don't want to pay any more - I have now managed to contact Legal Ombudsman and SRA and Probate for forms.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
If the property was in the name of the Deceased the only way that it could have been transferred into the names of the children is if letters of Administration had already been received.
If they have not yet been issued then this suggests that the mother has already signed the TR1 for the proposed transfer.
Since your friend was no longer married at the time of the death he cannot apply for the Letters of Administration unless the children have refused to do so.
With regard to the ownership of the property and how it should have been dealt with this depends on whether they held the property as Joint Tenants (where the Right of Survivor ship applies) or as Tenants in Common (where it does not)
In any event in view of the divorce and the length of the marriage it is likely that the deceased would have kept the Island house at the very least in any event
Please note there is only one payment for this question - and that I do not mind answering follow up questions until you are happy that you have all the information that you need
Claire

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