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tdlawyer
tdlawyer, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1096
Experience:  11 years experience of general practice.
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My brother died on Saturday and his son would like to know

Resolved Question:

My brother died on Saturday and his son would like to know his rights to sorting his fathers funeral.
My brother has 4 children from his 1st marriage, though only has contact with the eldest.
He was estranged from his 2nd wife for the past 2 months, they have been living separately and there were no children from this marriage.
My nephew and my parents would have liked to arrange my brothers funeral, but his estranged wife has taken control.
My nephew was told by my estranged sister in law, that he & she could arrange the funeral together, but unfortunately my sister in law has arranged everything on her own & gave the funeral directors a pass word, that has to be used by anybody who wishes to go and say their final goodbye to my brother.
On top of this, my sister in law has been to my brothers home and taken items that my family gave or bought new to furnish his new home after the separation.
The deposit for the rental property, was loaned to my brother by one of my brother in laws and my estranged sister in law has informed him that, when the landlord returns the deposit, she is keeping it.
My parents would like to know what rights they and my nephew who is 28, have regarding my brothers funeral and belongings.
This is a bad time for the family and it is being made twice as difficult by my estranged sister in laws actions.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  tdlawyer replied 2 years ago.
tdlawyer :

Hello, thanks for your question. My name is***** can assist with this.

tdlawyer :

The primary resposibility for funeral arrangements rests with an estate's executors. Where there is a will, these people should be named in it.

tdlawyer :

If there is no will, then it will be the next of kin, i.e. his wife if nothing was set out in a will (even if they were living apart).

Customer:

There is no will.

Customer:

So do my parents and nephew have any rights at all?

tdlawyer :

Okay, then his estranged wife is likely to have primary responsibility for the funeral. The authority for this is a case called Rees -v- Hughes.

tdlawyer :

My suggestion would be that they try and deal with this by agreement, if at all possible, and whilst that might be difficult right now, given the recent death, it might be more possible in the forthcoming days and weeks.

Customer:

Does my sister in law also have the right to go into his home and take his furniture and keep the deposit for the house, when it is returned?

tdlawyer :

As his estranged wife, then yes, she would have the right to enter their home (assuming it is theirs) and collect goods jointly belonging to them. If they only belonged to him, then those goods have to be dealt with in accordance with the laws of intestacy, and letters of administration may need to be granted by the court to confirm she has authority to collect the goods, although in reality, they're likely to pass to her under those rules. This is the same with the deposit. However, it is possible for dependants to intervene by way of court action if necessary to challenge the way assets are distributed/handled in the estate.

tdlawyer :

They can make a court application and ask the court to provide something for them.

Customer:

The deposit was not paid by my brother, it was loaned to him by one of our sisters husbands, so surely that money must be returned to him and not my estranged sister in law.

tdlawyer :

Then yes, I would agree with that, as it was not his property to be returned to him, but rather your sister's husband, and it is his money.

tdlawyer :

If you can get the deposit returned directly to him, then this is likely to address the issue easily.

tdlawyer :

If not, and they will only return the deposit to the estate, then it might be that your sister's husband has to sue the estate (via the estranged wife as administrator of the estate) to have the money returned to him.

tdlawyer :

Does this answer your question this morning, is there anything else I can assist with?

Customer:

Thank you for your help.

tdlawyer :

Are you happy with the answer - is there anything more you need?

Customer:

We had a feeling all that you said was the case, but now we know that my brother in law can try to get his money back.

Customer:

Yes I am happy with the answer. I can not think of anything more, but I know where to come if I need any advice in the future. Thanks again. *****

tdlawyer :

Thanks Wendy - I hope you manage to sort this out in the way you want. Take care.

tdlawyer, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1096
Experience: 11 years experience of general practice.
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