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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9659
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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My sister in law is dying of cancer and her only relatives

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My sister in law is dying of cancer and her only relatives are her brother, who is my husband, and our children and grandchildren. She has a will leaving her money to our children and her home to my husband and I. However she has not signed the will and is now probably not able to. This isn't a problem in itself as I guess everything will go to her brother. However, my husband is going into hospital on Thursday for a major operation for cancer. It is highly likely that she will die at some point before he comes out of hospital. He has POA over her money and has spent months sorting our her finances. What will happen if she dies without signing the will.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.
Solicitors are very often called to draft and execute wills when people are dying. Therefore, there is no reason why your Sister-in-law cannot sign the will provided there are 2 witnesses present and she is able to hold the pen at least to make a mark.To avoid disputes over her mental capacity at the time she executed the will I recommend that one of the witnesses is a solicitor who could testify as to her mental capacity if ever that was called into doubt with regard to the contents of the will.If she dies without signing the will, then she dies intestate. The will is of no effect and a court will not take any notice of an unsigned will. It will not make any kind of order to the effect of that is what she wanted so that is what happens.You do not mention whether she is married or widowed or divorced and you do not mention children. I take it there are none.In which case her estate is inherited in the following order. If there is no one in a particular category:Spouse or civil partner which don’t get everything necessarily. I can explain more if you wish.ChildrenParents (if alive)Brothers or sisters or their children if the sibling has predeceased (not to you, but to your children)GrandparentsUncles or aunts of the whole bloodUncles or aunts of the half bloodIf there are no surviving relatives, everything goes to the Crown. It is extremely unusual for there to be no surviving relativesCan I clarify anything else for you?Solicitors are very often called to draft and execute wills when people are dying. Therefore, there is no reason why your Sister-in-law cannot sign the will provided there are 2 witnesses present and she is able to hold the pen at least to make a mark.To avoid disputes over her mental capacity at the time she executed the will I recommend that one of the witnesses is a solicitor who could testify as to her mental capacity if ever that was called into doubt with regard to the contents of the will.If she dies without signing the will, then she dies intestate. The will is of no effect and a court will not take any notice of an unsigned will. It will not make any kind of order to the effect of that is what she wanted so that is what happens.You do not mention whether she is married or widowed or divorced and you do not mention children. I take it there are none.In which case her estate is inherited in the following order. If there is no one in a particular category:Spouse or civil partner which don’t get everything necessarily. I can explain more if you wish.ChildrenParents (if alive)Brothers or sisters or their children if the sibling has predeceased (not to you, but to your children)GrandparentsUncles or aunts of the whole bloodUncles or aunts of the half bloodIf there are no surviving relatives, everything goes to the Crown. It is extremely unusual for there to be no surviving relativesI clarify anything else for you?Best wishesFESBest wishesFES
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.
You didn’t actually ask about this but it’s worthwhile me mentioning it just so that you have the full picture.I may not have been very clear about this but if you’re husband unfortunately dies before your sister-in-law, then if your husband was the only sibling (and there were no parents or children of your sister-in-law alive) your children will inherit your husband share.That is what I meant when I said Brothers or sisters or their children as predeceased.You would not get anything as the spouse of your husband if he predeceased your sister-in-law but your children will get the share which your husband would have otherwise got if he outlived her.
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