How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • Go back-and-forth until satisfied
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask F E Smith Your Own Question
F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 14265
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
Type Your Law Question Here...
F E Smith is online now

My Farther in law has just died. We have a piece of paper

This answer was rated:

My Farther in law has just died. We have a piece of paper that states what he wants done with the estate. This is signed by 2 people but not verified by a solicitor. Is it valid.
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Uk. Berkshire
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: We have the death certificate and the family are in agreement with th “hand written will”.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Not sure.

Good afternoon. I will assist with your question - be aware this is an email not chat service therefore i maybe delayed in replying.

who are the people who signed it?

are they beneficiaries?

what has he left and who too?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
His mother and son in law - No they are not beneficiaries, he has left all worldly goods and shackles to be divided equally between his 2 children

If the person has never written a will before, then it must be in writing in ink (unless they are a soldier in battle in which case it can be pencil), signed by the person making the will in the presence of two witnesses who must also sign.

The witnesses must not be beneficiaries or spouses or civil partners of beneficiaries.

It does not necessarily have to be dated.

If the document does not comply with those requirements then the person dies under the rules of intestacy although any beneficiaries under the rules of intestacy or any other beneficiaries for that matter can decide to distribute a deceased person’s estate, however they wish, provided they all agree.

Therefore, if all the family are in agreement with this document, and just go along with it. No problem with that at all.

If he has no parents alive and no spouse, then by default everything goes to his 2 children in any event. So it would seem that if that’s what he wanted, the piece of paper is actually irrelevant because that’s what would happen anyway for under the rules of intestacy.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

Please take a moment to look at the top right-hand corner of the page and rate my service by clicking one of the stars at the top of the screen.

You may need to login again to use the rating service. Although it says "rate to finish" it doesn't close the thread and we can still exchange emails.

It's important that you use the rating service because that gives me credit.

It doesn't just give me a pat on the head! It's what gets me paid!!

There is also an experts incentive scheme whereby the more 5 star ratings I get I do actually get a pat on the head!

All you need to do is press Submit.

Thank you.

If you still need any points clarifying, I will still reply because the thread does not close.

Best wishes.


F E Smith and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you