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Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 32994
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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My mother passed in 1982 when I was 11 years old. My mum's

Customer Question

Hi there. My mother passed in 1982 when I was 11 years old. My mum's partner said that he was upset that "as well as losing my mum, he was losing me also". I felt for him, so out of pity I 'chose' to stay residing with him. I did I this, even though my Grandma and my Father (with whom I spent every weekend with after they divorced), had concerns that I should be with a relative, eg, one of them. I didn't realise the implications of this decision at the time - legally, things had to be put in place and he had to be my 'legal guardian', I assumed this was important for decisions to do with schooling etc., and wouldn't be an issue When I moved to my dads... (Which was my intention when I believed my "step dad" to be strong enough to cope. However, I later learned that as my legal guardian, he received all of my mums estate My Dad and grandma asked what I wanted, they wanted what was best for me - I told them I wanted to stay with him, non of us knew that there was a substantial amount of money involved. In fact, whilst I was in his "care", my father continued to pay child maintanence to my new guardian to contribute to the cost of my care. This arrangement changed later, he met someone else and when they moved in I moved to my dads.
As an adult, this caused me distress. I realised that all the steps he made to "keep me in his life" when he was bereaved, we're actually his way of getting my mums inheritance, after which, he changed dramatically towards me, which was upsetting. I made a decision to not to keep in contact with him and move on. I haven't spoken to him for 25 yrs.
On Wednesday my Grandmother died. Myself and the family knew for some weeks that her death was imminent, so we were able to discuss her preferences for funeral arrangements etc, one of her wishes was that her ashes were buried, along with my grandads, my uncles and my mothers. We all agreed that one place for them all to pay our respects to all of them would be lovely. However, said "legal guardian" has my mums.
Am I legally entitled to request them? (Or some of them) Also, if he no longer has them, has he broken any laws not discussing with her next of kin or family as to what do do with them?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 4 months ago.

Thank you for your question

My name is Clare

I shall do my best to help you but I need some further information first

Could you tell me why you think there money involved?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi Clare,My mum had a good life insurance policy that paid off the mortgage in our house. We moved into the property in the July of 1982, she died in the December. He admitted to me later, after my Grandma and my mums sisters questioned the whereabouts of her things (including her ashes, money, and the life insurance, etc... (she she was very successful in her career and was the main breadwinner)
Expert:  Clare replied 4 months ago.

Did they own the property in joint names?

Do you know who paid for the funeral

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Actually, I don't know if the property was in joint names - but my mums sisters seem to think not. I can find out in the morning who paid for the funeral? Is whoever paid for the funeral entitled to the ashes?
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I also think I may be able to find out whether they jointly owned the property ....
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Sorry for the delay in answering - I'm working, I'll keep my eye on my emails so I can be more prompt with my response
Expert:  Clare replied 4 months ago.

If the property was not in joint names then Letters of Administration of the Estate would have had to be obtained

You can find out here

If there are no Letters of Administration then they owned the property jointly and the property passed to him automatically when your mother died and it is likely that the life Policy was also assigned to pay off the mortgage automatically as well.

I am afraid that the Ashes belong to either the Administrator of the Estate - or the person who paid the funeral bill

I am afraid that if you want to try and fulfil your grandmothers wishes you will need to appeal to him to return them

Please ask if you need further details

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Thank you. Nothing is listed. Are there any other records I can access to gain more info? I'd like to know all I can before approaching him.
Expert:  Clare replied 4 months ago.

If there is no record then they owned the property jointly as Beneficial Joint tenants and the house passed to him automatically.

At that time a life policy had to be mortgaged in the same way as the house itself and would automatically have cleared off the mortgage.

This would have happened whether or not you stayed with him - it was not because you stayed that he got the money at all.

The issues will be who paid the funeral bill - and if he did then as I said I am afraid that all you can do is ask.

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