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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 12188
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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Hi, my husbands estranged step-mother died last week in Glasgow

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Hi, my husband's estranged step-mother died last week in Glasgow and is being buried today. The house should automatically go to my husband as that was in his father will (he died in 1999) plus it was my husband who actually paid for the house but as my husband has had no contact in over 14 years - he is sure that her will would have been changed to cut him out. My husband spoke to her solicitors today and as he is not an executor of the will, no details can be given, plus we live in London and cannot just pop up. what are our options?
Thank you for your question.

What were the exact terms of the father's will? If the house was left to your husband but with a provision that she could stay in it for her lifetime, know as a liferent, then the house will pass to your husband automatically.

If the house was left to the stepmother outright then yes, she could have changed her will, and there may be nothing can be done about that. However, if your husband paid for the house, he should have taken a security over it to protect himself and if he has done that then the house couldn't be disposed of until he is paid what is due to him.

Your starting point is to engage a Scottish property solicitor and do a title search to find out in whose name the house is in and whether there is a security over it.

Alternatively you can instruct a professional Searcher to do so, such as Millar & Bryce the details for which you can get online.

Happy to discuss further.

I hope this helps. Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I will request a copy of the deeds and see if we can request a copy of his fathers will - but if my husband can prove he paid for it and if the deed was never changed over to the stepmothers name (assumption) does my husband have a claim.

Who paid for the house isn't relevant but if the father's will left the house to your husband then that would be conclusive and unchallengeable.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

just spoke to my husband and he thinks his fathers will was written to say that he would pass the house to her and then when she dies so was to leave it to my husband - so she was like a sitting tenant?

Can she change her will and ignore his father's request in his will?

Can you obtain copies of will's as we dont have a copy of his fathers and need to see hers?


The wording of the father's will is very important. If it was left in liferent to the stepmother and in fee to your husband then that is fine.

I can't get hold of the wills, no. The father's will should be held by the father's executor but if Confirmation was applied for a copy should be available at the local sheriff court.

The stepmother's will will similarly be held by the executor and then a copy taken by the local sheriff court once Confirmation is applied for.

I do think you should find out about the title as previously advised.