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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10944
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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My half brother died (unknown to me) in 1998. We had corresponded

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My half brother died (unknown to me) in 1998. We had corresponded usually at Christmas until this time at which time he ceased replying to letters and I assumed he had moved and we had just lost contact. I have now discovered that he died intestate and within one month of his death a grant had been made by the probate officer to someone as his personal representative. His parents were dead and he had no brothers or sisters and he had never married nor had he had children. Do I have any right to his estate after this long time, I was undoubtedly his legal heir under intestacy law.
1. Can you better explain the situation. Where was your half brother living when he died? Where did your half brother have his domicile at the time of death? Who took out a grant of probate to his estate?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
He was living at The Old Cottage, Redehall, Horley Surrey - Administration of the estate by ***** ***** of Penlands Farmhouse Hanlye Lane, Cuckfield, West Sussex. Estate n.e. £200000.
2. You are the person entitled under the rules of intestacy to inherit all of your half brother's estate. However, the usual time limit for making a claim is 12 years from the date of probate. However, if you can show there was some fraud on the part of ***** *****, then the usual 12 year time limit will not apply. There is no time limit on fraud.
3. Here there is a difference between an honest mistake, where by ***** ***** did not become aware of any potential heir under the intestacy rules or where he consciously sought to take the benefit of the estate for himself. So, I would advise you to speak to a solicitor about initiating proceedings. Be aware that courts, in general, don't like probate claims outside the 12 year time limit. So, you need good grounds to allege fraud. it must be specifically pleaded. Absent good evidence, you will be met with the defence of the Statute of Limitations.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
thank you for a concise answer which I will take notice of - I doubt that the high risk and stress involved are worth the possible monetary rewards. Bets wishes Tony
4. If you are concerned about the risks, you should speak with a solicitor and see if the solicitor will do a contingency fee basis for the taking of any legal action or the writing of any pre-action letters. This will minimise the risks. Also, you can get a solicitor to correspond with this ***** ***** and see what the response might be. Then you can decide whether to take it any further or not.
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