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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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A 30 year old woman has contacted me saying she is my half

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A 30 year old woman has contacted me saying she is my half sister. There is a possibility that she is (my father did have an extra-marital affair with her mother) but my father denies this. The woman has now informed me that she will obtain a court order to make my father have a DNA test. He does not know this yet. I know his reaction will be to not have it in which case he will be presumed guilty by the law. I don't know what this woman's intentions are but am trying to understand what rights she will or may have on my father's assets and also, if there is any way for my father to protect his assets. He own a 50% share of a house which he has left in his will, to his children including me. Could he for instance, transfer this to his beneficiaries now?

Joshua :

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.

Joshua :

from what you say, I believe I would be correct to conclude that the lady has not been financially dependent upon your father in any way. Is this correct please?

Joshua :

Has your father made a will?

Customer: She has not been financially dependent. That is correct
Customer: i don't know if he has an actual will in place but has always told us he will w
Customer: give his share of the house to t
Customer: his kids
Joshua :

thank you. presumably I am also correct to assume that the lady is claiming to be your father's biological daughter? I think this is obvious but would you kindly confirm for the avoidance of doubt

Customer: Yes. That is correct.
Joshua :

thank you. Her entitlement in respect of your father's assets depends principally upon the amount of your father's assets when he comes to pass away and whether or not he has made a will. Could you tell me if your father is presently married?

Customer: Yes. My mother is alive
Joshua :

if your father did not make a will, then the intestacy rules would apply which provide that your father's spouse is in title to the first £250,000 of his estate and any balance is split 50/50 between a life trust and your fathers children which would include the lady if her claims are true.

If your mother were to pass away before your father, then your father's assets would simply be divided between his children equally which again would include the lady if her claims are true.

Joshua :

Accordingly, it is important that your father makes a will in order that the intestacy rules do not apply as the intestacy rules only apply if an individual does not leave a valid will

Joshua :

in light of the ladies claims, it would be sensible for your father to consider something known as a "non provision clause" in his will which is a clause that specifically states that he has deliberately not made any provision for any party claiming to be his child other than you in your siblings. anon provision clause can make it more difficult for any third party to make a claim against your father's estate

Customer: So if he leaves a will passing his property on to his children, will this lady be able to dispute that?
Joshua :

it is impossible to prevent a third party making a claim against an estate as an individual can do as they wish however a claim by the child against your father's estate when she has had no financial dependence nor any relationship with your father during his life when your father has chosen to otherwise leave his estate to his spouse and or other children, would be extremely challenging to say the least

Joshua :

in order to make a claim even more challenging than it would already be, your father could consider in addition to providing a non-provision clause in his will as above, also writing a letter addressed to his executors setting out in more detail that he has had no relationship with children other than you and your siblings and setting out the reasons why he does not wish to provide for any such individuals that may prove themselves to exist. If there is any question as to his mental capacity at the time that he does so, it would be sensible to obtain a medical report as well in order to demonstrate that he has capacity they this is not necessary unless there are issues relating to forgetfulness or dementia and so on

Customer: Okay. So as far as I can see the best thing would be to have a will in place. Could she claim his property now while he is alive? Is there anything she can claim for in terms of financial means?
Joshua :

the above steps would make any potential challenge by this lady or indeed any other unknown stepchildren extremely difficult

Joshua :

she would have no claim against your father's assets during his life

Customer: Well I think that answers my questions. You've been most helpful. Thank you.
Joshua :

A pleasure. If I can assist any further as the situation develops, please do not hesitate to revert to me

Joshua :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though.

Customer: Thank you again - will do.
Joshua :

Many thanks

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