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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26846
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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My mother has early onset dementia and is in a hospice,

Customer Question

Hello, My mother has early onset dementia and is in a hospice, close to the end of her life. Her husband (not my father) has told me and my siblings that he has been having an affair. We are concerned that he will remarry and we will effectively have no control over what remains of her estate when she passes away. A few years ago following her dementia diagnosis we agreed to him having sole power of attorney as we did not want to cause upset. We would like to know whether we have any case for intervening with regards ***** ***** matters or, as her husband, he has total control. Also do we have any right to ask to see the Will?
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: I am in the UK
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: None at all
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: We got the news of his affair last night.
Submitted: 17 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 17 days ago.

Hello. My name is***** you for the question.

It is my pleasure to assist you today.

I have been in the legal profession, in High Street practice, for almost 30 years so I have wide range of experience in a great many different aspects of law.

Please bear with me and I will be online and off-line from time to time and therefore, may be delayed getting back to you.

Although I am shown as online, I may be dealing with other people, on the telephone, or typing.

Please be assured that you will receive an email once I have written a reply.

Just Answer is not a chat service, it’s an email reply board and therefore sometimes it will be minutes, sometimes it may be longer, even hours or overnight.

I apologise in advance if you suffer a delay.

Kind regards.

Expert:  Stuart J replied 17 days ago.

How many children does your mother have?

and what is her estate - half the property? savings?

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Hello. My mother has 3 children. She jointly owns a property in the UK and in Spain. We have not seen her Will but we assume it is half.
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
He has one estranged son.
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
If it's OK I would rather not do a call at the moment.
Expert:  Stuart J replied 17 days ago.

You have probably seen a pop-up offering you the chance of a telephone call at an extra cost. It is up to you whether you have a telephone call or not but do bear in mind that a 15-30 minute telephone call covers an awful lot of ground and you can get an awful lot of information in that time. So you can ignore it or go ahead or go ahead later. It’s your choice.

Meanwhile, we can carry on on here.

I’m afraid that the situation that you are in is extremely common when someone remarries, leaves everything to the new spouse either under then you will all the rules of intestacy, and when they die, the new spouse gets everything.

It’s very difficult to challenge a will leaving everything to a spouse.

Even beneficiaries have no absolute right to see a will although if you have just cause to want to see it, and whoever has it will not let you see it, then it’s an application to court for pre-action disclosure and for the legal costs of the action to be paid by the reluctant party.

My personal view in circumstances like this is that if anybody has a reasonable cause to want to see a will, then let them see it because there’s no point in having the argument.

Thank you for letting me assist you with your legal question. I am glad that I was able to help.

I am not certain whether that answers the question for you or not, but I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

It will be my pleasure to help you again either further with this or any future questions you have

Kind regards

Stuart

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Thankyou - from what you are saying then it would seem that our best course is to try to see the will so that we are clear what the situation is - i.e is the Will set up in such a way as everything goes to him (and if he dies, to whoever he remarries). Incidentally, he hasn't remarried and is still technically married to our mother - doesn't that make the situation more complicated?
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Because our mother is incapacitated - in normal circumstances she would have recourse to divorce. Admitedly these are exceptional circumstances, but would the law not at least see things slightly differently given her condition? He reasonable wish would not be for her estate to go to someone he has technically committed adultery with (notwithstanding mum's condition etc)
Expert:  Stuart J replied 17 days ago.

I think seeing the will would be a start.

As everything goes to him and then he remarries, and then he dies, then your fears are founded, somebody gets a windfall.

It’s the way it happens.

What also can happen is that a couple make Mirror Wills leaving each of their estate to each other and then to their respective children and stepchildren.

So one dies leaving everything to the other and the other changes the will to remove stepchildren. Also not uncommon.

It is not technically still married to your mother. He is legally married to her. I can’t see that that makes it any more complicated. However if she lacks capacity, she can’t get divorced (although he could divorce her) and she can’t change her will.

Whether he’s committed adultery are not is actually not relevant

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
thanks that's really helpful. I may well come back to you for a more detailed chat.
Expert:  Stuart J replied 17 days ago.

No problem at all. In your own time.

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Sorry just so I am clear, in the case of a Mirror will (which my sister thinks they have) upon the death of my mother, he would receive their estate and then upon his death, anything left would be distributed to his children, not a new partner/wife. Is that broadly correct?
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
he would have to change the Will again if he wanted to write us out of it in favour of a new partner.
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Sorry when I say his children, I mean 'their children'
Expert:  Stuart J replied 17 days ago.

What you are saying is broadly correct except that

He could just write a new will. He doesn’t have to tell you.

Expert:  Stuart J replied 16 days ago.

Can I help you any further with this?

It's my pleasure to help. I’m glad that I was able to help so far.

Thank you for trusting Just Answer with your legal problem.

I'm happy to clarify anything which is outstanding.

Please don't hesitate to ask.

Kind regards

Stuart

Expert:  Stuart J replied 16 days ago.

Hello again.

If you don’t have any further questions, I will mark this question thread as complete for now, but don’t worry, the thread stays open if anything else crops up over the course of the next days weeks or months.

I’m glad that I was able to help.

Thank you for trusting Just Answer with your legal problem.

Kind regards

Stuart