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JustAnswerKM
JustAnswerKM, Solicitor
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Experience:  Court of Protection, civil litigation, divorce and inheritance
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My mother passed 2 years ago leaving a will that basically

Customer Question

my mother passed 2 years ago leaving a will that basically states that after my stepfathers death the estate is to be shared equally between myself and my three daughters , but my step dad has already split the estate and given his niece an equal share in the money, along with a piec of my mothers jewellry he now wants to give her an equal share in the home that has to be sold where do we stand regarding my mothers wishes
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Law
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
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Customer: replied 9 months ago.
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Expert:  JustAnswerKM replied 9 months ago.
Good afternoonThank you for your message, I will do my best to help.I just need some further information before I can answer your question. Was your mother's Will done without the assistance of a Solicitor? It sounds like a homemade Will only because, in a Will you cannot dictate what happens to someone else's Will when you pass away. When you leave an inheritance to a beneficiary, they can do what they wish with it. People set up trusts within Wills to control how inheritance/funds are to be managed. Did your mother set up a trust of any form for your stepfather?What did your mother leave for your step father in her Will (i.e. half the estate or half the family home etc) ? Thank you Krystel
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
it was done by a legal service, my mothers will states that on her death the estate passes to my father but that on his death the house and contents are to be sold and shared four ways my father had the same will saying the same thing if he had died first
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
both wills were witnessed by the executors and signed i am my stepfathers executor for his will
Expert:  JustAnswerKM replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for that. It makes far more sense now.It sounds as though your mother and stepfather made what are called joint/mutual Wills. These are not commonly recommended nowadays because of the problems they have known to cause in the past. Your mother and stepfather would have made an expressed agreement that both Wills will be irrevocable and will remain unaltered. Normally such an agreement will be incorporated into their Wills. However, it can be contained in a separate document or even made orally. Essentially then, the survivor (your step-father) has made a promise to hold whatever he inherited in trust for the benefit of those listed in his Will (yourself and 3 daughter). If your stepfather altered his joint Will whilst your mother was alive then he is not bound by the joint Will and can therefore make changes.The terms of the joint Will should stipulate that he cannot make changes to his Will once your mother passes away. He is bound by the terms. Things to consider: If your stepfather changed his Will after your mother passed away, you must put this to the attention of the Probate Registrar where the Grant of Probate was applied for. You must inform them that there is a joint Will that needs to be adhered to and any subsequent Will made by the survivor (your step father) is invalid. I hope that helps. Please let me know if you need anything clarified further. Kind regards Krystel
Expert:  JustAnswerKM replied 9 months ago.
If it is found that your stepfather changed the Will after your mother passed away and the joint Will is proved at the Probate Registrar, his niece will have to return whatever she received from your mother's estate.
Expert:  JustAnswerKM replied 9 months ago.
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