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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71050
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My mother died on July 4 this year. Her will names the three

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My mother died on July 4 this year. Her will names the three children as equal beneficiaries, which is fair and to be expected. The total for division will be in the region of £300,000. Having each had Power of Attorney during my mother's latter years, my brother and I are now executors of my mother's estate and we are currently acting independently of legal representation. My sister (and her husband) have declared that they want no part of my mother's legacy - sadly, the result of a long-festering rift and, I suspect, the potential loss of their substantial social and housing benefits - and she wishes to refuse to accept her rightful one-third share as defined in the will. If she persists, what should be our next move and what would be the most likely way in which this unfortunate situation would run its course? Many thanks.
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Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Are you asking what will happen to your sister's share?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo. Thanks for this. It's all come as a bit of a shock. We want to know what my sister will need to do if she persists in relinquishing her inheritance. First, can she actually do this? Second, how would she set about it...does she need to seek legal advice and if so, will there be a time limit? Third - yes.. I suppose... what would happen to her share and who would have to deal with it, given that my brother and I might be seen to have a vested interest? I feel I should get to see her in the near future - this won't be an easy meeting, not least because she always insists on being accompanied by her husband - he has mild physical disabilities. His discomfort meant that neither of them could attend mum's funeral, even though they live locally. I'm hoping she'll change her mind but whatever the case I'd like to be able to speak with some authority about the procedures and knowledge of the available courses of action. Thanks again.


Thank you. You are asking what happens to your sisters one 3rd share?
To answer your questions directly, the executors cannot insist that she takes the inheritance and she is free to disclaim it or direct it in any way that she wishes.
However she cannot leave the executors in limbo and if she will not make a decision within a reasonable period of time, the executors can take court action to make her make a decision.
What happens to her share depends on whether she disclaims it. If so, it passes to the other two beneficiaries equally. If she wants to execute a deed of variation which means that her share goes to whenever she likes.
You may prefer to get the money instead of it going anywhere else and in that respect you have an interest but unfortunately you have no control. Your sister is able to do exactly with this money as she wishes.
I'm sorry to have to tell you that decision as to what happens with this rests fairly and squarely with your sister.
I'm sorry if this answer is unfavourable for you
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for that, Jo. Just 2 questions finally - would I be best advised to ask her to seek legal advice on how to proceed - the actual process required either to disclaim or to execute a deed of variation ie how will we know what to expect as executors, and should we also seek legal support? Also, if she does go down this route, will the inheritance money be visible to social services in terms of future benefit entitlement? Many thanks - sorry it's so late in the evening!

Best wishes,


It is generally better to get these things done properly.
She will have to declare these funds for the purposes of a benefit claim anyway.
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