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Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 976
Experience:  Expert
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My mother in law died recently aged 92, at the time she

Customer Question

My mother in law died recently aged 92, at the time she wrote her will 2003 she had 2 great grandchildren both under 2 yrs. Her will says that her property is left to her grandchildren or great grandchildren', the family, neighbours & friends understood it was left to the grandchildren and only to greatgrandchildren if their parent had died. However, the solicitors read this as being left to all grandchildren & great grandchildren which will require 5 trust funds for those that are minors, 3 are under 4 yrs old.
JA: Since estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me where this is?
Customer: Middlesbrough
JA: What documents or supporting evidence do you have?
Customer: There are no documents that I am aware of but her friends & family would testify that this is there understanding, the solicitors have no notes either
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I don't think so
Submitted: 12 days ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  MarianC replied 11 days ago.

Good afternoon thank you for your question, I am sorry to hear of your situation. When there is an issue such as this you would hope to find relevant correspondence to your mother in law as well as solicitors file notes, these days Will files are not destroyed.

Failing this, the view of the law is to consider what your mother in law would have wanted, in my view it seems to be she would have considered them all, as otherwise there would be a default clause stating that in the event the grandchildren died then their share to the great grandchildren, the fact that the groups are mentioned in the same sentence points to 'or' should be 'and'.

kind regards


Customer: replied 11 days ago.
I know from the friend who went with her to draw up the will that it was to go to the grandchildren and knowing Sheila, she would not have wanted us to have to set up trust funds for the minors.
Is it possible to challenge the solicitor who drew this up as we do not believe this was her intention?
Expert:  MarianC replied 11 days ago.

Well you could approach the solicitor, but people do change their minds when they are actually in the office giving instructions. These days people have computer notes going back years so it is surprising there is no record.

You would have to go to court to get the will altered as you cannot vary Will provisions unless all of the beneficiaries are adults. The money will have to simply be invested long term with probably annual reviews.

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Thanks Marian I don’t believe she’d change her mind and not tell us about it and she definitely wouldn’t if she new a trust fund would be required.
I doubt we will waste
Money going to court, but sadly we will have to distribute the estate in a way that I don’t believe she ever intended. I’m extremely angry with the solicitors, if they had evidence ok but it’s nearly 20 years since it was written and Sheila only ever mentioned leaving it to her grandkids.
Expert:  MarianC replied 11 days ago.

There is a procedure you can use to obtain information that may make them take notice? It is known as Larke v Nugus request and there are several sheets of questions surrounding the making of a Will, as laid down by the Law Society, usually used by people wishing to make a claim against the estate. However, if this succeeded they would have to compensate the beneficiaries who would lose out.

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Ok thanks I’ll have a look.
Sheila would have wanted things simple, if explained about trusts she’d have said it was too complicated and I’m sure would have mentioned if she’d changed her mind. I suspect that eithe solicitor didn’t explain properly and because it’s badly written ‘or’ instead of ‘and’ that Sheila hasn’t noticed it wasn’t what she’d intended
Expert:  MarianC replied 11 days ago.

Yes, the difficulty is that draft copies are always sent to the clients to check through and ensure they are 100% correct but many clients either do not check at all or do not pick up on the small details, however, it is clearly badly drafted.

Do you need any further assistance?

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Not at the moment thank you
Expert:  MarianC replied 11 days ago.

Thank you.