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Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33516
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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In 1983 my father and step mother drew up wills leaving everything

Resolved Question:

In 1983 my father and step mother drew up wills leaving everything to each other until they had both passed away and at that point the estate was to be divided between the surviving children; my brother, two sisters and I. In this will the solicitor who drew up the will is an executor and I am the second executor. In 1997 my father passed away and the estate then belonged to my step mother, in 2000 she drew up a second will which was witnessed by two long standing friends, my brother and I are the names executors of this will. My step mother passed away in July this year, after the funeral my brother and I established contact with all utility suppliers and banks and then I applied for probate as I and my brother are the executors named in the second will.
The second will is held on my step mothers computer, it is a scanned in copy of a hard copy document that she composed and had witnessed. As it has been scanned in then the hard copy must have existed at that point though we do not have it now; if the electronic properties of the document are inspected it can be seen that she is the author and that it was created on her computer. In addition the electronic properties indicate that she had never copied the document so that it is very unlikely that copies could fall into the wrong hands.
I have used copies of this will in my probate application. as it is the latest will. Is it still a legal document in this form or do I have to use the first will that was drawn up?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
What steps have you taken to find the original of the second Will?
Why do you want a copy of the previous Will
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Good morning Clare,

In an effort to locate the original hard copy of the second will my brother has systematically gone through all of the documents held in each room of the house. I have been in contact with all of the banks that may have been holding documents for my step mother, I have located the deeds to the house but none of them are holding a copy of the will. I have also been in contact with my step mothers close friends to see if she confided in any of them the location of the will or if they were holding it for safe keeping. In addition I have have attempted to contact the two witnesses to the will but unfortunately both witnesses are dead and only one of their wives survives.

I have copies of the first will(s) (they were sent to me by my father in 1983) but I suspect that if I cannot proceed with the second will I will have to revert to the first will. The beneficiaries are the same in both cases.

My brother and I have divided the tasks as above because he grew up in the house and therefor knows it well and in addition he now lives only a two and a half hour drive away. I unfortunately live seven hours away with no direct quicker link.

I hope this helps, if you need more please let me know.

Many thanks and best regards,

Tom Snow

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
What is the difference between the two Wills?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Good morning Clare,

The terms of the two wills are as follows,

In the first will the trustees are the solicitor with whom the will was drawn up and myself.

The primary beneficiary is my father should he survive my step mother, as he did not then the beneficiaries are my brother, two sisters and I. Each of us are bequeathed specific items from the house (sets of wine glasses, or decanters, pictures etc.) My brother is to have all of my step mothers personal effects like her watch and rings. The property and the remainder of the estate is to be converted into cash and equally divided between the four of us once all debts have been settled.

In the second will the trustees are my brother and I.

The beneficiaries are my brother two sisters and I, each of us are bequeathed the same specific items as in the first will. The property is to be converted into cash and equally divided between the four of us. All of the remaining cash is to go to my brother once all of the debts have been settled.

In both wills there is provision for a beneficiaries share to go to their children if they are not alive to receive it themselves.

At the time when the first will was drawn up my father made a will with identical text but in the first instance bequeathing all to my step mother.

Best regards,

Tom Snow

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Is there any evidence that a solicitor drafted the second will?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Clare,

There is not any evidence that the second will was drafted by a solicitor.

Best regards,

Tom Snow

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Did your step mother make a habit of scanning documents into the computer?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Clare,

I do not have her computer here to check but she did have a scanner / printer and she was quite computer literate.

Regards,

Tom Snow

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
This is a major issue.
Dis she scam other important papers in - such as House Deeds?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Clare,

House deeds are with the bank, not found any other documents of high importance.

Regards,

Tom Snow

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Are any of your siblings the biological children of your step mother?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Clare,

My brother is the biological child of my step mother, my two sisters and I are the offspring of my fathers first marriage.

Best regards,

Tom Snow

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
the situation i snot goo dI am afraid.
It is highly unlikely that the probate Registry will grant Probate based on the copy printed from the computer - you can try but I am afraid that it is unlikely.
Equally unfortunately the mere fact of the existence of the scanned copy of the Second Will means that the first Will has been revoked.
This means that unless the Second Will can be found your step mother will be assumed to have died Intestate and the Intestacy rules will apply.
As her only biological child your brother will inherit the entire estate - unless he choses to share it will his siblings
I am sorry - I know that this is not good news, please ask if you need further details
Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33516
Experience: I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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