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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 18744
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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My sister's husband has just died. In his will he leaves

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My sister's husband has just died. In his will he leaves everything to her but there is a specific bequest of money for one of his relatives which we read as only being payable once she has died. She is not close to this relative and would prefer to give her the bequest now and make some kind of official note that this has been done - is this possible?
JA: Since estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me where this is?
Customer: Norfolk UK
JA: What documents or supporting evidence do you have?
Customer: A copy of his will. I don't have it with me but can check the wording. We looked at it yesterday and this seemed to be what it says.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no that's fine

Good morning. I will assist with your question - be aware this is an email not chat service.

who is executor?
and what is the bequest?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am one of the executors, an accountant is the other. The death is very recent so we have not started working on the will, but this came up in conversation yesterday and my sister just wants to deal with it. The bequest is money, not sure quite how much. I can find out more details but if you can tell me in principle that would be great.

This provision is extremely odd because if you leave something to someone but only after they die, then it doesn’t go to them, it goes to their survivors which could be children or whoever.

I’m going to need the wording please. Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry, that was misleading. The bequest is to a cousin of my brother-in-law but will apparently only pass to her on the death of my sister who inherits everything first
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
the question is whether my sister can give it to the cousin now, and make a note to that effect that it has been done so that there cannot be a claim when my sister dies.

I’m still going to need the will please. It’s a very odd request. It’s tantamount to an instruction from the grave which is not enforceable.

If it went your sister first then what’s to stop her spending everything meaning that the cousin gets nothing?

If on the other hand it is to be held on trust by your sister until she dies and only then does it go to the cousin, (I can’t think for one moment why that would happen) then under the rule in Saunders v Vautier if “all beneficiaries” are over 18 and of sound mind, they can bring the trust to an end regardless of when it’s supposed to vest (in this case on your sister’s death) which means that your sister, if she’s the executor, could pay out the money now.

However notwithstanding any of that, if your sister has the money and your sister wants to give it to the cousin, no one has been disadvantaged so there is no one to object or bring a claim in any event.

If you let they have the wording, I can confirm that.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

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

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Thank you.

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

Best wishes.


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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK thanks I will check it out when I next see her and get back to you if still unclear.. I can't imagine there is a trust arrangement. I guess my sister would just like to send the money on the basis that it's what her husband wanted and be done with it. Thanks for your help.