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Aston Lawyer
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10233
Experience:  Solicitor LLB (Hons) 23 years of experience in Conveyancing and Property Law
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Could someone please help me out. I would be most

Customer Question

Hello, Could someone please help me out. I would be most grateful. I had a long standing 8 year love relationship and friendship with a man who died in 2010. He was married and the association was a well kept secret so none of his family or friends knew of me. I waited until 2 years after his death and then wrote off to the Probate office to ask for a copy of his will and then did the same again last year. Both times my cheque was sent back with a message that the will wasn't on public record. I just know that he would have written a letter to me at the very least. He had terminal cancer. What can I do please to find out. His widow is a really powerful woman so I believe she could possibly be blocking me from receiving something of sentimental value and/or material value. I have no idea who the executor would be. Really look forward to your response. Best Wishes Steph

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

Hello Steph and thanks for using Just Answer.

My name is ***** ***** am happy to assist you with your enquiry.

Whenever Probate of a Will is obtained, it becomes a public document and the Probate Registry are under a duty to disclose a copy of the Will if any member of the public requests it and pays the fee. As the Probate Registry have returned your fee, confirming that they have no public record, means that Probate has never been issued.

Probate is only required where the decease left asset sin their own name amounting to more than £5-£10,000. Hence, if all assets were held jintly with their spouse, or their own assets were under this threshold, there would have been no requirement to obtain Probate. In such circumstances, any Will that may have been made remains a private document and unless the Executor is happy to provide a copy, there is no way of obtaining a copy by any other means.

If your friend had written you a letter, I don't know if he would have stored this with his Will, bearing in mind your friendship was a secret. If he had left a letter with a third party, I would have hoped that this would have been dicslosed to you by now.

I am sorry this is not the answer you were looking for, but it sets out the legal position.

Kind Regards

Al

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for clarifying. I honestly believe he would have written to me but I guess I will never find out if that has been stopped.

Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

Hi Steph,

I sympathise with you.

If I have answered your question, I would be grateful if you could rate my answer.

Kind Regards

Al

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I definitely will do Al if you can just answer the below. I always thought he could have set up a secret trust or something but wouldn't you have mentioned that if it were possible? I have just read for ages about secret trusts online Al. Could he not have organised that for me. He was very high profile and very wealthy. Could he have not asked his wife to pass something to me via a trust? They had an open marriage permitting extra curricular activity if you know what I mean though with the understanding not to develop relationships. I know my situation with him was very different and he considered me a dear friend though she didn't to my knowledge know my name. If I am correct with the above I am guessing I can't do anything anyway. Steph

Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

Hi Steph,

There are indeed secret and half secret trusts, but these are stipulated in a Will, and if your friend had set one up for you, I would have thought that he would have made sure that an independent Executor (ie not his Wife) had been appointed to administer it. In such a scenario, Probate would have needed to have been obtained, which has not happened.

To be honest, I can't see your friend having set up such a Trust and then appointed his wife as Executor, as he would have been advised that he would be relying on her goodwill to administer it- in the worst case, if this had happened, she could have just ripped up the Will and pretended it never existed.

Sorry I couldn't be more positive.

Kind Regards

Al

Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10233
Experience: Solicitor LLB (Hons) 23 years of experience in Conveyancing and Property Law
Aston Lawyer and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for that. Will give you the best rating there is :)

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Al I have rated you as excellent and will leave a bonus if you just answer this! Does a secret trust not need witnesses to be set up so that if his wife was executor 2 other people would know about it? Can they not ensure she then carries out what the trust says?

Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

Hi Steph,

Many thanks for your kind rating.

As regards ***** ***** trust, it can be by way of a Deed and would need to be signed by the person granting it and witnessed by an independent party, who has nothing to do with the trust- ie a party who was not appointed as administering the trust or someone who was not to benefit from the trust.

It is then up to the person appointed, to administer the trust, so if this was his wife, for example, one other party would have known about its contents.Finding out who this was is a different story, I'm afraid.

Alternatively, the trust can be included in a person's Will, and would need to have been witnessed by 2 people who were not to benefit from any legacy left under the Will. In such a scenario, you would be at the mercy of these witnesses to have come forward and make sure that the Executor named in the Will carried out the terms of the Will. Having said this, witnesses to a Will are not under any duty to read the contents of the Will and indeed the person making the Will does not have to make the witnesses aware of its contents.

Wishing you all the best.

Al

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your time. Will give you a bonus for answering that.

Steph

Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

Many thanks Steph!

Kind Regards

Al

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