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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street Practice
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My husbands aunt has just committed suicide leaving a note

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My husband's aunt has just committed suicide leaving a note with bequests of £50,000 to a friend, to various charities, and the residue to Great Ormond St children's hospital. it is not a legal will, but she has no other will. Would this stand legally, or would she be treated as having died intestate with her estate divided amongst her family? She has no children, spouse or civil partner. In order to get the bequests would the charities have to contest the disposition amongst the family, or would it be given to the bodies she named and the family would have to contest this if they wish to benefit?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your question here on Just answer. It is my pleasure to try and assist you with this today. Please bear with me if I need to ask for any further information from you in order for me to be able to advise you fully. My name isXXXXX and I am a practising solicitor. I have been an expert on this website in UK law since 2008. During that time, as you appreciate, I have answered thousands of questions from satisfied users on a variety of subjects. Because we are all in practice with clients and court and other users, I might not always respond in minutes, particularly evenings and weekends. Please bear with me in that case. I will be online and off-line all day most weekdays and weekends.

 

Is the family unwilling to carry out her wish?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I am not sure. She has a half brother living, and four other half syblings who have died. The half brother is her nearest living relative, and she has no spouse, civil partner, children or patents. Doe this make the half brother next of kin?

Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 years ago.








The letter isn't legally binding
and she is deemed to have died intestate.



I assume that it doesn't have all
the legal formalities such as witnesses etc.



There are no grounds for charities
(which can be a pain the backside in contesting wills) to contest this



 



 



 



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Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 22403
Experience: PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street Practice
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The solicitor my husband saw told him they charities could make a claim because of the circumstances of her death. The note is not witnessed, and I understand not even signed. Are you sure it is not the case that the named beneficiaries could contest the division of the estate amongst the family?

Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 years ago.




Charities can only contest
something if they know about it and I cannot see that they have any claim
whatsoever just because someone committed suicide.

On the contrary, if someone dies
and leaves a will, leaving everything to non-family members, the will can be
contested by the family members for a whole variety of reasons including lack
of mental capacity, or undue influence, failure to comply with the provisions
of the Inheritance Provision for Family and Dependents Act or fraud.



Of course, we cannot know every
single case or every single matter that is have been before the court will
based upon all the knowledge I have, the charities have no claim.



By all means see Chancery Counsel
and expect to pay about £600 plus VAT for an advice.



The rules of intestacy are here http://www.graysons.co.uk/wills-intestacy.html



and from what you say, as she left no spouse or parent's or brothers of
the whole blood, the estate would be distributed in line with the sixth box
down on the top table in the link which means that everything would go to the
half brothers including those who've died. The ones who have died, their 20%
share will go to their children.



Yes it does make the half brother the next of kin but he does only
inherit 20% as the other 80% goes to the children of the ones who have died,
20% to each deceased parents children, divided equally



Does that answer the question?



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Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 22403
Experience: PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street Practice
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