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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10121
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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My step mother (by marriage to my father) made a Will in

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My step mother (by marriage to my father) made a Will in 1993 with two witnesses who are now deceased. (My father is no longer alive.) It leaves everything to me me as sole beneficiary.I am therefore not a direct blood relative. My step mother's sisters and niece are estranged but alive.Is the Will valid?The estate comprises a house worth about £600k.Thank you.Stephanie

Hello for clarification - when did she die?

who is the executor(s) of the will?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
She hasn't died yet but is diagnosed with Alzheimers, it is early onset, she is still fine at the moment. Just a bit forgetful at times.There is no named Executor. It just says this is the Last Will & Testament of.... and there are two witnesses who have passed away.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I prefer email discussion at the moment thank you.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Are you still there?

The offer of a telephone call comes out automatically. It’s optional. This is not a chat service, it’s an email reply and hence, there may be a delay getting back to you. It is not instant communication.

If you are asking whether the witness is dying invalidates the will, then it does not.

It doesn’t matter that you are not a blood relative.

Any blood or dependent relatives who may reasonably have had a claim against your stepmother may bring a claim under the Inheritance Provision for Family and Dependents Act if they were cut out of the will.

It seems highly likely that this is a do it yourself will if no executive is named. I will be brutally honest with you and tell you that I don’t think I have yet seen a do it yourself will which has not been problematical. The do it yourself it’s that you get from the likes of WH Smith are perfectly adequate provided they are completed properly. The problem is that people don’t complete them properly in order to save a few shillings in solicitors costs and then they end up spending more money in resolving the issue later on.

However fortunately, in this case, the lack of an executor does not invalidate the will.

With no executor named, the executor would be the residuary beneficiary in the will and you are the sole executor, that would be you.

Here is some reading on the subject: http://www.privycouncil.org.uk/Formalities/Components/What-happens-if-no-executors-are-appointed.html

Can I clarify anything else for you? I’m happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

I’m happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

Please take a moment to look at the top right hand corner of the page and rate my service by clicking one of the stars at the top of the screen. It’s important you use the rating service because that gives me credit. It doesn’t just give me a pat on the head! (Although there is an incentive scheme where the more five-star ratings I get, I do actually get a pat on the head! :-)) All you need to do is press Submit. Thank you.

If you still need any point clarifying, I will still reply because the thread does not close.

Best wishes.

FES.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thank you. So really, we would be better off to make a new Will while she still has 99% of her faculties intact?To be on the safe side?
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
The fact there is an Alzheimer's diagnosis is ok, as she is still very with it. Just forgetful with short term memory.

That would make perfect sense.

To avoid any suggestion in the future that she lacked capacity, I suggest that your stepmother goes to see a solicitor and the solicitor will speak to her alone. You need to raise the issue with the solicitor of her short-term memory and asked for the solicitor to confirm that he is happy that she knows the nature and quality of her actions and to make a file note accordingly.

Then, if her mental capacity is queried some future stage after she eventually passes away, the solicitor will be able to confirm that the solicitor looked specifically for any lack of mental capacity (it’s essential not to get confused between people who are just elderly and lack mental capacity) and found that the person knew exactly what they were doing.

Just because someone can’t remember what they did this morning doesn’t necessarily mean that they are not aware they are writing a will and do not aware all their relatives are.

F E Smith and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
OK, thank you. Let me think on this. Bye for now.