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familylawexpert, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 311
Experience:  Substantial experience (14yrs +) in divorce, financial cases, cohabitation, pre-nuptial agreements and civil partnerships.
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My cousin died this year. He was divorced from his wife.

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My cousin died this year. He was divorced from his wife. Both his parents are dead and he has no children. My mum is his next of kin. His ex-wife has been advised by a solicitor that her brother and her mum (of whom she has power of attorney) are the sole beneficiaries. He had not made a new will since the one he made when they were married.

My name is Mac. I can help you with your question. First I need a bit more information:

- Can you just clarify for me whether you are saying above the ex-wife is the beneficiary (in the 'already tried' section), or the ex-wife's brother and mother (in the main section)?

- Has your mother asked to see a copy of the will?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The ex-wife is not the beneficiary. Her brother and her mother (of whom the ex-wife has POA) are deemed to be the beneficiaries. My mother hasn't asked to see a copy of the will.

If a person has a will that includes provision for their wife, and that couple then get divorced, the wife is treated for the purposes of the will as having died on the date of the grant of divorce. The will is not invalidated, but just read as though the wife is dead.

What then happens to the bequests to the wife will depend upon how the will is drafted.

Your mother should ask to see a copy of the will. Given that she was first contacted by the solicitor, and initially given to believe that she was a beneficiary, I would expect the solicitor to be ccoperative. In any event, upon grant of probate (which is needed before the estate can be distributed), the will becomes a public document, so the solicitor may as well let your mother see a copy then. Once she (and you, if you are helping her) can read the will, you will be in a much better position to decide whether you accept what the solicitor is saying - or to take specific advice upon it.

Ultimately, if your mother disagrees with the solicitor's intended action, then she can challenge it with the Court's help.

I hope that is helpful. It is difficult to be more specific without knowing the relevant wording of the will. If you would like me to clarify anything, please ask. If not, I would be grateful if you could rate my answer.

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