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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 30929
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I am executer of my mother's will. My mother had a boyfriend

Customer Question

I am executer of my mother's will. My mother had a boyfriend (they did not co-habit). He promised to look after till she died and if he died first to allow her to inherit his flat in the Barbican provided she looked after him till he died and she left him
20,000. I am pretty clear about this as my mother talked me through it. Sadly, she had a terrible head injury and never recovered her full senses. She signed the will after the head injury. The lawyer was informed of the accident as we asked him about getting power of attorney. (my mother had talked to me about this and wanted my brother to have it in the event of a problem). he told us to get the will signed. (the lawyer was family lawyer to the boyfriend and has since retired). When our mother was moved into a home, he failed to keep to his promises. He took out the codicil leaving her the flat. he never saw her. My brother and I are in no doubt that had Mother been compus mentos she would have disinherited James. As executors, how can we challenge James receiving the money. The estate is probably c50,000 pounds Many thanks.
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Michael Holly replied 7 months ago.
Did she talk you through the agreement before or after she had the head injury?Did she tell anyone else about it that you are aware of you?How do you know about the codicil being made by James and was it changed before her death?I need to go out in about 30 minutes, even legal experts run out of coffee! but I will be back on line later to pick up on your replies Best regardsMichael
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Yes, she talked to me about it before the head injury. She made it clear That she did it on the basis that he left her the Barbican flat. she also talked to my brother and his wife who is also an executer. James also talked to both of us too. James wrote to my sister in law and brother saying that he was changing it and yes he did it before she died. My sister n law challenged him on this and he said that if he received anything in the circumstances he would hand it back. This was verbal and he now denies saying it. Her will itself shows that she was expecting to receive the Barbican flat. In the second will she would live off the interest and leave the flat to his children (in the first she did not have to do this). I have a copy of Her will which I could send you.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
It was not just about him letting her have the flat; it was tied to companionship until death. Mum was very much one of those women who saw men as financial providers and she would,have altered her will if she had been able to. He did not turn up to her funeral.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Are you getting back to me?
Expert:  Michael Holly replied 7 months ago.
Thank you for the information.I think you have a very good argument based on 2 principles neither of which fit perfectly but together should be enough.The first is the principle of mirror/ mutual wills this is where a couple make Wills in identical terms and they are binding even after one has died. These Wills are not identical but there was clearly a reciprocation in one for the terms of the other. The other principle is estoppel which is where one party takes a step in reliance placed upon a step taken/ or promise made by another. In these circumstances the party can be held to that promise.What needs to be overcome is that your mother did not change her Will before her death and the reasons for that would have to be explained .Best regardsMichael
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
That is great. She could not change her will because she has lost mental capacity. She was discharged from hospital without them being happy that she had mental capacity. James was a big factor in encouraging her to do this. She had to sign forms absolving the hospital of responsibility. She could not change her will because she not only had dementia butt could not talk, read, write or communicate. Thanks for the advice. Can I continue to talk to you or is it over now? A phone call isn't ideal as I live abroad.
Expert:  Michael Holly replied 7 months ago.
Use the points I raised, if you have to.Bear in mind that disputes over this kind of sums cam easily end up with the benefit just going to the lawyers.To be honest my gut reaction, which has nothing to do with the legalities or complexities of the situation is to offer him a smallish sum, say £5000 or so, to bugger off or you fight all the way.He must know that he has not behaved well and be looking for a way outIt is not right and it is not fair but it makes sense. Please come back if there are any further pointsBest regardsMichael
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
That's great - and also where my thinking was. I am trying to rate you so you get paid but when I press the stars nothing happens and when I press submit, it asks me to press stars to rate you! I am on the iPad. I will repeat it on the PC as some times it works better. But if you have not been credited, I will have written to just asks' help desk. If this has happened before and you know what to do, just let me know. I am onto it.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
On final point, I might wish to come back to you. Does the system allow me to do this? I have signed up for £57 a month scheme but I would prefer to just have you.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
i checked my account and it says 'paid' which is fine by me. Let me know if any problems. best wishes and thank you.
Expert:  Michael Holly replied 7 months ago.
Thank you , I must admit I have no idea how precisely it works either.You can, however, choose to direct any future question to me.I hope you need no further help but please come back to me if you do.Best wishesMichael

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