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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 32086
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My wifes father passed away in may of last year, 2012. No

Customer Question

My wife's father passed away in may of last year, 2012. No will was found so was in testate. There has been a dispute between my wife and her sister for some time.
So the estate being in testate was to be split three equal ways between my wife, her brother and the sister.
After some time probate was granted, enheritance tax was paid and the house valued etc etc.
then started a line of letters from the sisters solicitor in regard to the sister keeping the house. The brother agreed to this but due to personal disputes my wife did not and asked it to be put on the market and sold.
Then came a cash offer from the sister to buy my wife out which again my wife declined.
It was then agreed to put the house on the market.
So this has now been ten months and less than two weeks after my wife declined the offer, which was to be fair substantial, suddenly a will has been found. Very strange.
This will is a piece of A4 paper signed by my wife's father and witnessed by his two neighbours at the time. Apparently the sisters solicitor ha contacted the witness's and they have confirmed this. This was in 2003.
In this supposed will it leaves the house solely to the sister on the provision her property is sold and the proceeds are to solely go to the brother. My wife is named to receive the rest of the estate which amounts to near nothing, some possessions and a car.

In the light that everything had already been done, tax paid etc etc can this be correct that this now throws everything out as though to speak.

Any advice greatly appreciated.
Kindest regards, stuart
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  James Mather replied 5 years ago.
Was the Will drawn up by a solicitor?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
It would appear the will was drawn up by my wife's father and witnessed, signed by the neighbours
Expert:  James Mather replied 5 years ago.

Wills and estate admin can be contested on various grounds


If a person doesn't provide for dependents, children incl adopted children of
all ages and a spouse (but not step children unless they have been treated as
the deceased's own childeren) in a will it can contested by making a claim under the THE INHERITANCE (PROVISION

Details are here


Undue influence if it is thought that the person making the will had been "got
at" when drafting the will.


Or if, when drafting the will the person lacked mental capacity/didn't know
what he/she was doing



There are strict time limits
for contesting will under 1 above of 6 months from death.

Claims under 2 or 3 above 12

Claims under 4, no time limit.


Promissory Estoppell. This is a
technical legal doctrine not used very often. It says that if anyone has been
promised something during the lifetime of a person and they relied on that promise to their
then they are entitled
to have whatever was promised. The classic case is indeed the young man on the
farm, who is told by the old man "don't go off to seek your fortune son, but
stick with me and work on the farm and I will leave it to you when I die,".

So the young man doesn't go off
to seek his fortune and stays and works on the farm and it turns out that when
the old man dies he leaves everything in his estate to the prize cow, Daisy or
his new girlfriend, who is 30 years younger than he is. In that case, the young
man having given up a future (to his detriment) on the basis that one day (he
was promised) the farm would be his and he believed it and relied on it, he can
get a court order that the farm is transferred to him. Such claims are not
cheap or quick to bring in do require a large burden of proof of the promise
and reliance to detriment.


Anyone can get a copy of a will once it has been
admitted to probate from HM probate registry, upon the payment of five pounds.

Anyone can also hold up the granting of probate by entering a caveat at the
probate registry. At least, they will then find out if there is a will. The
entering of a caveat will certainly wake up any executors. Some explanatory
details are here;


Who administered the estate? Do you suspect the will is fraudulent?

The will was allegedly drawn up in 2003? Have you spoken to the neighbours who allegedly witnessed the will?