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Hello and thanks for using Just Answer.
My name is ***** ***** am happy to assist you with your enquiry.
Could you please clarify if the parties owned the property as Joint tenants or Tenants in common? (The latter means that each own a separate 50% each in the property, which 50% can be left to whoever they nominate in their Wills).
If you have seen both of their Wills, do tey both say I leave all my Estate to my Husband/Wife but if he/she has dies before me I leave my property to my niece etc or words to that effect?
I look forward to hearing from you.
They own it as joint tenants.
The wills are as follows
I wish that all my property and belongings pass to my husband XXXX.In the event that he dies before inheritance I wish the house at XXXX...............All other property and bank accounts are to be realised and the proceeds divided as follows.Payment of all funeral expenses.£1000 is to go to St XXXXX. £500 to go toXXXX.The balance to be equally divided between my nieces in UK and Italy and my husbands niece in Ukraine.
Apologies for the delay.
As the property was held as Joint tenants, the property automatically passes to the wife.
A Will only comes into opeartion on death, so the legacy of the house to the niece will only pass to her if the wife owns the property known as*****at the date of her death. Unfortunately for the niece, if the property has been sold during the wife's life, the gift fails and any monies from the sale still remaining in the wife's bank account at the date of her death forms part of her residuary Estate. Looking at the Will, I note the residue is to be divided equally between her nieces and her husband's niece.
Therefore, if the property does need to be sold, you are free to do this and the niece can do nothing about it as her legacy only becomes valid upon the wife's death and then only if the property is still owned by the wife.
I hope this assists and sets out the legal position.