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james bruce
james bruce, Solicitor-Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 4795
Experience:  Owner at James Bruce Solicitors
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I have a question about wills, uk, copy of the Will is not

Customer Question

Hi I have a question about wills
JA: Estate laws vary by state. What state are you in?
Customer: uk
JA: What documents or supporting evidence do you have?
Customer: copy of the Will is not available in my possession at present
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: no
Submitted: 16 days ago.
Category: Law
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Hi
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Is anybody there?
Expert:  james bruce replied 16 days ago.

Hello, I hope you are well. My name is***** am a solicitor advocate and  I will be assisting you with your question today. I am very sorry to hear of the problem you are experiencing and I will do my best to help you with this matter.

Can I please ask you to give me some more detailed information regarding this matter so as to allow me to work with you and help resolve your enquiry.

How may i assist with your wills question?

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Ok thank you. In a nutshell my aunt has passed away last week. There was a Will but we don’t have a copy of it
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
In case my aunt has not signed the will
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Does that mean that the Will would not be valid?
Expert:  james bruce replied 16 days ago.

That is correct, a will that is unsigned and unwitnessed is invalid. In which case, the estate would be be dealt with according to the law of intestacy. Instead of probate being granted, "letters of administration" would be applied for form the probate office.

Thennthe east would be divided as per intestacy law.

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Ok thank you for confirming that.
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
My aunt has left her home to a charity organisation as there was no immediate family for her to leave it to. Her intention was for the property to be held in order to generate an income from the property for the benefit of the charity
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
If the charity intends on selling the property is there anything that can be done in this regard please?
Expert:  james bruce replied 16 days ago.

If there is no valid will, then the charity will not inherit the property all anything else.

Under the laws of intestacy there is a very strict line of inheritance.

First any spouse or civil partner, plus children if they have any.

If no partner, then any children they may have.

Then, next in line to inherit would be  Parents, brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews of the intestate person may inherit under the rules of intestacy.

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Am I able to ask you further questions please
Expert:  james bruce replied 16 days ago.

if related to this of course, please continue.

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
It seems that the solicitors acting as executors of the Will are the same solicitor firm who act for the charity organisation. I was wondering whether there is any requirement for alternative Solicitors to be appointed as executors in order to avoid a conflict of interest?
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
In effect the Solicitors for the beneficiary of the property is the same firm who are acting as executors. Is this lawful?
Expert:  james bruce replied 16 days ago.

As long as there is no conflict of interest then they can act.

That is a matter for the firm to decide whether they have a conflict of interest.

If they are acting as executors, then that would indicate that they have a signed  will.

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Thank you. Well I should say that they have been requested to act and I’ve no idea whether there is a signed will. To be honest I think there is something untoward going on but am not able to quite put my finger on it currently as the matter is slowly unfolding if that makes sense
Expert:  james bruce replied 16 days ago.

They may have the will, your aunt could have listed them as executors.

You can check with the probate office to see if probate has been granted if so you can then see the will.

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Can an action be undertaken against the charity organisation if after the transfer occurs to them of the property they decide or intend to sell it that this is not in the spirit of the Will
Expert:  james bruce replied 16 days ago.

I t would depend on the exact wording of the will, and whether it is enforceable once the legacy has been given.

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
How can there will be tested to see if it is enforceable or not please
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Is there any way the Will can be tested prior to the legacy being handed to the beneficiary?
Expert:  james bruce replied 16 days ago.

You can contact the probate office and put a caveat on the will, that stops it being granted and then would give you time to seek action or further legal advice

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Ok that’s great thank you
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
I will have more questions tomorrow
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Can I come back to you please
Expert:  james bruce replied 16 days ago.

Yes you can come back to the question any time.

Take care.

Thank you for using Just Answer and for allowing me to assist you with your legal enquiry. I am pleased I was able to be of assistance. Please do not hesitate to come back to me for further advice on this or any other legal matter. It will be my pleasure to be able to assist you again.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Hi thanks for your help yesterday
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Further to help you’ve provided, we’ve found out now that the solicitor who assisted my aunt in writing the Will is the same solicitor is now looking to act for her in the probate matter who is in turn the same solicitor who acts on a standing basis for the beneficiary of my aunts house. This being the case, I’m wondering if this is a cause of concern as I would’ve thought there would need to be some form of impartiality which seems to be lacking here?
Expert:  james bruce replied 15 days ago.

There is nothing wrong with the solicitors drafting the will for your aunt, or them acting as executors. It is very common for solicitors to act as executors for their clients.

likewise, the solicitors can also act for the charity.

Often solicitors will do this. It does not mean anything underhand has taken place.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Thank you. I’m not raising this without any thought. I am raising this because I fear that the way she was advised to sort the Will means that the property can be treated as an investment asset for the charity and therefore they can do anything with it including selling it. Her intention was for the property to be held in perpetuity and an income to derived from it which would mean her legacy would continue.
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
I’m wondering therefore that if before the beneficiary charity have the property transferred to them following the grant of probate that we as family members placed a caveat so the matter can be reviewed.
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
The charity solicitors are already talking about the property being transferred to them on a beneficial basis before probate is granted and therefore before they receive good title
Expert:  james bruce replied 15 days ago.

Sorry I can only advice on the law, which I have done. I cannot tell you what action to take.

I have advised about a caveat. I don’t know the actual wording of the will so cannot advice on that.

a clear instruction is legal, a persons wish is optional.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Ok thank you
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Am I able to send to you a copy of the draft of the Will I mention please?
Expert:  james bruce replied 15 days ago.

Your welcome

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Could I forward the Will to you please?!
Expert:  james bruce replied 15 days ago.

There would normally be a premium service charge to review personal documents.

But if it is small document then yes I can take a look.

How did you obtain this document, because at the state of your question you state you do not have a copy of the will.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Ok thank you. I can send to you a draft of the Will which was provided to me prior to it being signed
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
It was provided to me by by aunt
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
The length of the document is about 1 side of A4 in total
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
If you are in agreement I can send that
Expert:  james bruce replied 15 days ago.

Thats fine.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Ok thank you I’ll send it over now
Expert:  james bruce replied 15 days ago.

ok I am waiting.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
This is it
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Will
Expert:  james bruce replied 15 days ago.

Let me take a look.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Thank you
Expert:  james bruce replied 15 days ago.

That will if it is still the same will that the solicitors have signed, does not actually state that then property cannot be sold. It states that the property be used for investment purposes. That could include selling the property and investing the capital to be used as specified.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Ok thank you. This was and is the point I made to you earlier that the intention of the beneficiary has always been for the door to remain open in terms of selling the property and thus their solicitors have worded the Will in such a way as to allow them to do that. However, her intention was for the property to be held by them in order to derive an income on an on going basis.
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
I wonder if we have enough in order to put the caveat on the Will so that the matter can be reviewed?
Expert:  james bruce replied 15 days ago.

Unless you have signed proof of that, you are going nowhere with this. All you will do is delay what is going happen.

Expert:  james bruce replied 15 days ago.

The will is drafted and signed by your aunt. Therefore she accepted what was written in the will.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
The Will was not drafted by her
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Those are not her words
Expert:  james bruce replied 15 days ago.

The will would have been drafted by the solicitor, she would then have read the will, accepted the will and signed the will.

Like it or not, that is the situation you face.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
she never intended for it to be sold but the Will does not expressly say that it should not be sold
Expert:  james bruce replied 15 days ago.

Sorry but I think we have exhausted what I can advice here. She signed the will, that is the best example of her intent. If you want to apply for a caveat you can do so, I really don't thing it will get you anywhere.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Ok thanks for your help
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
I appreciate it
Expert:  james bruce replied 15 days ago.

your very welcome.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
In conversation with my aunt before she died we had discussed the property and she had said she wanted the property to e held for income after her death. How does this change matters?
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
She had said that just prior to going into hospital
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
She unfortunately died in hospital
Expert:  james bruce replied 15 days ago.

As I have advised, I have given all the advice I can give on this subject. She signed  the will that was drafted for her. It is possible she changed her mind after speaking to you, pure speculation, the will is valid. You really are going to have to come to terms with that.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Thank you
Expert:  james bruce replied 14 days ago.

Your welcome

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
James do you think we could set up an arrangement whereby we could negotiate with the charity to allow us to manage the property for rental from which an income could be derived and we could then pass that money onto the charity please
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
This world alleviate them of any direct responsibility and management burden and would allow us to feel that we are carrying on my aunts legacy
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
That’s what she would’ve wanted
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
It’s just a suggestion on a way round things. We do not wish any financial interest in the property
Expert:  james bruce replied 14 days ago.

Sorry but I cannot advice on that. You would need to speak to the solicitors or the charity.

I would find it unlikely.
Why would  they want you managing their property. It has nothing to do with you. The charity would still need to manage and oversea the property as it will be their property.

I would image they would simply see your attend t as a way of trying to take control of a property that has been left to them and not left to yourself. Sorry.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
If we were able to talk to the charity then who could advise on this. We want control of it only to the extent that it does not get sold
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
We would be handing the proceeds to the same charity
Expert:  james bruce replied 14 days ago.

As explained you would need to speak to the charity.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Many thanks
Expert:  james bruce replied 14 days ago.

Your welcome.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Hi
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Further to this if the beneficiaries can agree with us, can we do a consented application for a deed of variation to the Will?
Expert:  james bruce replied 10 days ago.

A deed of Caria toon is normally made to forgo a legacy and give it to someone else. I cannot see the charity doing this.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Thank you
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Sorry did you mean deed of variation instead of Caria toon?
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
I can’t find any information on a deed of Caria toon
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
If you meant deed of variation since we are talking about a charity who mission is for the propagation of the Islamic faith and they are aware that the way in which the current Will stands is based on a non sharia compliant principal we would like to think that we can appeal to their better nature on moral principles to get them to consent to a deed of variation. In essence the variation would mean that they hold onto the o property in trust in perpetuity the income from which would go to the same charity
Expert:  james bruce replied 10 days ago.

Sorry yes that was meant to read deed of variation.

I cannot comment on the faith matter s youmtalk of, only the legal standing of the will.

I have fully advised on this. I can see not grounds for you to challenge. It all appears genuine, simply you do not like the fact that you cannot control the property for the charity. Sorry.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
We are not disputing whether it is genuine I think we all know the Will is genuine that is why we seek a deed of variation and requested your advise on that aspect. I do wish you would stop making assertions about what I like or dislike. I don’t think there’s any need for that.
Expert:  james bruce replied 10 days ago.

I am simply saying how this appears. I have fully explained the situation. You were disputing the validity of the will to start with, then indicated that you would like to control the property as managers, that cannot be disputed as you have written that here.

I am simply saying what you have said, sorry if that upsets you. I understand you may not like the way the will is worded but it is worded that way, and correctly signed and witnessed.

Again, I can see no reason why the charity would want to forgo the property or the management of it themselves and give this to you.

You can of course ask the , but be prepared to be dismissed.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Hi yes I did raise those aspects although at the time I was not aware of the variation aspect. We have no ulterior motive never have and never will. We are trying to search for a solution on a consented basis with them not on a contested one
Expert:  james bruce replied 10 days ago.

Then the only option is to approach them, explain your views and see if they agree.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Thank you. I’m obliged
Expert:  james bruce replied 10 days ago.

Your welcome, good luck.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
An I able to follow up with you on this question once we have met with them to tell you of the outcome please?
Expert:  james bruce replied 10 days ago.

Of course, just come back to this question.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
That’s very reassuring thank you so much
Expert:  james bruce replied 10 days ago.

Your welcome.