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Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34504
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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I have a question about wills. My mother died nearly

Customer Question

Hello,
I have a question about wills. My mother died nearly three months ago. Her estate is basically just half a house which she lived in under a tenants-in-common arrangement with her last husband, who is my stepfather. I also still live at the property, as I have always done, now just with my stepfather.
My mother always took the view that I should ultimately inherit all her share of the house based on need and also my contribution to the running of the house.
Unfortunately, she didn't reflect this in something as important as her will when written in 2002. She instead left everything 50/50 to me and my sister because (quote) 'I didn't want to put a jinx on your life by leaving you more than your sister'. I was aware her will was written this way in 2002 as she gave me a copy then but only in the last 2 years have I questioned her judgement, by which time she was too old to be hauled down to a solicitor to change it. She maintained that I should still get her share of the house but we would have to sort it out between us when she'd gone.
Just after she passed away, I discussed this with my sister who said she would agree to surrendering claim on the estate. In return I said I would give her all of my mother's savings which I already have in my control.
Since then however she has seemingly 'shut down' and doesn't wish to talk about anything to do with our mother. This could be down to grieving but I am concerned this could be prolonged process.
So I have to 2 questions really
(1) Assuming my sister goes along with the proposition, what would we need to do to satisfy a solicitor handling the probate that my sister has surrendered her claim on the house and done so willingly without coercion etc ?
(2) If my sister persists in not wishing to deal with the estate at all, how would I proceed then ?
Thanks.
Dave
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
HiThank you for your questionMy name is ***** ***** I shall do my best to help youHow much is the house worth and how much is available in savings?Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

House is worth somewhere between £350,000 and £400,000, so based on 50% share there is up to £200,000 subject to will.

Savings are worth up to about £40,000. I have control of these as I've held authority on one the accounts since 2005.

So values are varstly disproportionate, but I am offering my sister the money on the basis she can abstain from all responsibility for administering my mum's will and any issues that will result when my stepfather eventually dies. (He is leaving all his estate to his own children).

Thanks.

Dave

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
If your sister will agree then when the time comes you need to have a Deed of Variation of a Will drawn up which you will both need to signIf she will not deal with the estate then I am afraid that the Will as written will have to stand - you can then apply for probate in the normal way and the estate will have to be shared 50/50Please ask if you need further detailsClare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Clare,

Thanks for that. So basically it's Deed of Variation or I'm stuffed !

Just two things on that. What would be the first steps to get that moving ?

Also, how far can a solicitor intervene in preventing such an arrangement if they suspect or conclude that the person being asked to reduce their share might be vulnerable ?

I ask this because my sister, whilst perfectly intelligent and coherent when sober, has in recent years become prone to daily drinking and may appear unstable to a solicitor.

Thanks.

Dave

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
I am afraid that you are correct - it is that or nothing.To get it moving then you and your sister will need to visit a solicitor and instruct them to prepare itThe Solicitor may wish to see her alone and make sure that she is aware of what she is doing