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Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
Please accept my sympathies for the loss of your uncle.
May I clarify a couple of points with you. You mention your uncle was married. Was he widowed at the time of his death? Did he have any children (natural or adopted but NOT step children) or grandchildren at the time of his passing?
Thank you for your sympathies.He was a widower his wife died in 1983 in Broadstairs Kent England, they had no children natural or adopted. So no he had no children or grandchildren at the time of his passing
Thank you. There appear to be two aspects to this - firstly being his care during his lifetime and second his testamentary wishes. With your permission I will take each in turn.
In respect of his care, unless he appointed an attorney, the party with ultimate responsibility in law for his care is the local authority and they must take decisions about his care on a "best interests" basis as required by the Mental Capacity Act.
In making best interests decisions they can but do not have to take account of family and close friends wishes.
There is no duty for the local authority to notify family in respect of decision it makes on a persons behalf. Equally the neigbour wuld have no legal rights other than to give his opinion in respect of your uncles care unless he were appointed attorney.
In respect of your uncles funeral wishes, with your permission I will come to this at the end.
With regards XXXXX XXXXX uncles will, if he made a will this should appoint an executor or executors. The executors have legal authority to administer your uncles will by virtue of s1 Administration of Estates Act and make all decisions in relation to managing your uncles estate and ensuring those beneficiaries named receive their respective entitlements.
Accordingly the first step is to obtain a copy of your uncles death certificate from his local registry office (this is needed to obtain your uncles will) and then to locate your uncles will. This may be kept amongst his papers or at a bank or solicitors office. Unfortunately there is no national registry or database for wills so it is a question of detective work in going thourgh his papers or phoning the local solicitors in the area to ask if they hold a copy or contacting your uncles bank. You can find a list of solicitors local to his area here:
If you cannot find a will then the right to act as administrator falls to his nearest class of next of kin which may be more than one person.
In the assumption you are able to find a will the executors the original can be obtained by the executor(s) named therein on production of your uncles death certificate. The executors have authority to make decision regarding a funeral and can ensure it is paid for from your uncles bank account by asking the bank to write a cheque for the undertakers directly. Your uncles funeral wishes are not legally binding but should be respected when possible.
If it is not possible to find the will before the funeral must be organised then the nearest next of kin can consider taking a lead role, but should take care not to be made personally liable for funeral costs unless they are happy with this - there is no absolute gurantee they will be reimbursed until it can be confirmed that the estate has sufficient funds to cover the expense.
A solicitor will not automatically read a will before a funeral and in deed is unlikely to know of your uncles death unless a third party contacts them as above to inform them. It is therefore for concerned family members to take an active role as above if they are concerned to ensure that your uncles wishes are respected.
Is there anything above I can clarify for you?
Thank you Joshua, think you have fully covered everything, I can rest a little easier now, you have been a great help. My uncle looked after my mother when she was ill, when all her family were in Australia, I owe him the right to have his funeral wishes carried out, and know my cousins in the UK will want the same. Thanks again for your help, best regards, XXXXX XXXXX