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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35057
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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Our father just recently passed. He has been cohabiting with

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Our father just recently passed. He has been cohabiting with someone else for quite some time. What are our (the childrens) rights in terms of the estate and the house. We believe the house was in joint names with about 200k pounds equity in it. We are not on good terms with his cohabiting partner.

He may or may not have a Will. His partners says that there is one and she has it and alleges the Will says she is next of kin. How do we even get her to show us the Will, because currently she will not.

Recently my sister bought him a car. Can we get this back? What are our rights here?

Do we have any rights if there is a Will and nothing is left to us? We say this as she is a very manipulative person and believe this would be the case.

Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
How long had they lived together?
How was the house purchase funded and what other assets are there
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
They have been cohabiting for 16 years.
House is ex council house. funded by lodgers and pensions. It is a 4 bedroom place.
Not really much other assets apart from the car my sister bought him.
Who lived in the property to start with?
How much is the car worth?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

It was her (as a council house). Dad just came along and gave the initial payment and organised it to be paid ever since. We assume (but do not know) that her funds have also been paying monthly. We are also assuming the house will go to her. However she has put it up for sale one day after he passed - meaning there will be approx 200k pounds equity. He made it clear to us that he wanted some to go to the grandkids.

Note we do NOT need the money at all (we are all fairly reasonably off), but feel affronted that his entire lifes estate seems to only go to the person he spent the last 16 (very unhappy years with) but the previous 58 years seem to not count at all. Even a token amount of the 200k for the grandchildren would have made us happy.

The car is worth approx 5k, but as far as she is concerned it is hers, because she says she is the next of kin and the entire estate is hers, even though she acknowledges we paid for the entire thing just 2 years ago.

There are a number of personal items (momentos) in the house as well that are of zero to low value that we would like.

Fundamentally we just do not know where we stand. We do not know what the will says and have no idea on how to make sure we do get to see it. We do not believe she will even take it to a lawyer (probate?).

The Will cannot names her as "next of kin" - that is not a legal term. It may name her as Executor or it may name her as sole beneficiary but not "next of kin" - that merely denotes the nearest relative.
It is likely that the House is held as beneficial Joint Tenants which means that ownership passes to the survivor regardless of any Will.
Accordingly there is no question of your receiving any money from the house.
With regard to the other assets then yes there would need to be a Will if she wishes to retain them since there is no marriage - and in the absence of a Will anything not owned jointly will belong to you and your siblings.
I suggest that you write a polite letter stating than unless she produces a copy of the Will you will assume that there is not one and on that basis you will wish to collect all of your father's personal belongings
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for that. Three final things.
Does this change if the house is in his name only.
Furthermore would anything change if he was the only one paying the mortgage?
What rights if any do we have to the car or anything if she is named as sole beneficiary?
If she was the tenant then it will not be in his sole name - if it was then yes the position would be very different.
The fact that he is the only one paying the mortgage is not relevant - and if he has left everything to you then I am afraid that you have no rights to the car at all