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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10395
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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My Wife`s brother who has died unexpectedly after a short

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My Wife`s brother who has died unexpectedly after a short illness , and is intestate, leaving cash in bank, and a boat on which he lived .
Inheritancy law states that the estate goes automatically to their father as brother was not married and had no dependants.
My wife, her sister and brother were estranged from the father for many years and he would not want his estate to go to the father. There are no other relatives.
My wife was named next of kin and we have made all the funeral arrangements etc etc. We now have the cash from his account, transferred by the bank to next of kin (wife) . We intend to pay for the funeral etc from these funds and have been advised by the bank that this is acceptable and common practice.
We will shortly be in communication with the estranged father, need advice on the two sisters legal position and can my wife as named next of kin, make a legal challenge
Thank you
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Customer: Pearl
I need an expert on probate/intestacy I think

Unfortunately, it is not possible to challenge the rules of intestacy.

Your brother-in-law may have been estranged from his father that his father still inherits the estate.

The legal situation is that funeral expenses and debts have first charge on the estate and the father is entitled to everything else after that. Normally, if whoever is dealing with the funeral presents the account and the death certificate to the bank, they will pay directly.

I’m sorry to say that in circumstances like this, the sister is not in any position to challenge the rules of intestacy.

I’m sorry, I know it’s not the answer you wanted.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

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Best wishes.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Mr Smith,
Thank you for that, which confirms what we thought. Does the father , who is now elderly, have to apply for probate, or can he agree for his daughter to do it for him ( unlikely but possible) .

It can just be a family member, it doesn’t have to be the father, although because the father is going to inherit everything, it does mean that your daughter would be doing it for nothing.

There is nothing to stop the father just instructing solicitors and biting the bullet on the costs.

F E Smith and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok thank you.