Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • Brimble
    • By Brimble 17th Jun 17, 3:44 PM
    • 4Posts
    • 0Thanks
    Brimble
    Can someone get their share of a will 30 years later?
    • #1
    • 17th Jun 17, 3:44 PM
    Can someone get their share of a will 30 years later? 17th Jun 17 at 3:44 PM
    A friend of mine was visiting her parents in Poland this week, and they got talking about the distant past. In a nutshell, it seems her father and his sister were supposed to take equal shares of their dad’s inheritance after he died in 1984, but in fact the sister (eventually) took all of it, and I’m wondering whether or not I can help them to do anything about it. A bit more detail...

    Let’s just call the ‘players’ Dad, Son and Daughter. Round about 1959/60, Dad was on a military ship in England, and went AWOL. About 10 years later, so around 1969/70, he went to Canada to set up a new life. In 1974, Dad arranged for Daughter to come from Poland to Canada. Son remained in Poland. (The plan was to bring the family over to Canada one by one, as it was expensive to do, and because of the expense, and also changing travelling restrictions, it never happened).

    In 1984, Dad died. (Daughter did not tell Son this, he discovered via another family member). In his will, it stated that Daughter and Son should have an equal share of his possessions, which for the most part consisted of two properties on the same street in Canada (British Columbia to be precise). Son (in Poland) eventually managed to contact Daughter (in Canada), but because of travelling and other restrictions in place at the time, Son could not go to Canada, so for the time being, Daughter managed the properties and any other investments etc. (Son tried many times to get a visa, and has the records of the applications – but at that time, up until 1989 when Poland became a genuinely free country, movements in and out were extremely restricted). Many letters were exchanged between Son and Daughter over the next couple of years, with Son requesting some way to access his share of the inheritance, and Daughter each time responding with a reason why it was not possible at that point in time. Daughter instead continued to keep Son informed for a couple of years of her activities in relation to her late Dad’s assets. However after a couple of years, Daughter informed Son that she was no longer prepared to keep him informed, and all contact from her ceased.

    In more recent years, my friend (Son’s child, so Daughter’s niece), not knowing any of this, found Daughter on Facebook and sent her a message along the lines of ‘wow, you’re my auntie and we’ve never met, how are you?’ etc, and was surprised when auntie instantly ‘blocked’ her. Now I guess we know why that was... This week, my friend looked on Google Maps, and it appears that one of the two properties has been demolished and replaced by what looks like a bigger residential building. The other property is still there. Daughter is easily traceable – I have found her and her children on Facebook, and have made a note (with pics) of all of their FB friends, so it would be difficult for them to disappear again now...

    So, a few questions:
    • Does ‘Son’ still have any right to his half of the assets left by 'Dad'?
    • How would his ‘share’ be calculated, if ‘Daughter’ has merged Dad’s assets with her own (which appears possible).
    • How should he go about obtaining them, particularly if ‘Daughter’ rejects all contact?
    • Which country’s law would prevail? Presumably Canadian?
    • What are the chances of achieving a good outcome? (‘Dad’ does not have lots of spare money, in fact the family struggle financially; I would be happy to help with say a couple of grand if I had a 95% chance of getting it back, but obviously there is no point ‘flogging a dead horse’ if it’s going to be too difficult to achieve anything).
    • More generally speaking, what happens to assets when they are left to two people equally, but one isn’t contactable for many years? Is the other one just meant to sit on the assets for 50 years and wait? Arguably, it seems unfair on them if they have to manage the assets, but only actually ever own half... :/ (I’m trying to see her side here).

    Would welcome any ideas or guidance that anyone might be able to provide – thanks. 
Page 1
    • f.o.d.
    • By f.o.d. 17th Jun 17, 4:02 PM
    • 56 Posts
    • 52 Thanks
    f.o.d.
    • #2
    • 17th Jun 17, 4:02 PM
    • #2
    • 17th Jun 17, 4:02 PM
    I'd think that would be Canadian law and the daughter's actions have been truly despicable.
    • Brimble
    • By Brimble 17th Jun 17, 4:07 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Brimble
    • #3
    • 17th Jun 17, 4:07 PM
    • #3
    • 17th Jun 17, 4:07 PM
    But is there anything he can realistically do about it?
    • pinkshoes
    • By pinkshoes 17th Jun 17, 4:39 PM
    • 14,968 Posts
    • 20,321 Thanks
    pinkshoes
    • #4
    • 17th Jun 17, 4:39 PM
    • #4
    • 17th Jun 17, 4:39 PM
    Hire a Canadian inheritance lawyer?
    Should've = Should HAVE (not 'of')
    Would've = Would HAVE (not 'of')

    No, I am not perfect, but yes I do judge people on their use of basic English language. If you didn't know the above, then learn it! (If English is your second language, then you are forgiven!)
    • Browntoa
    • By Browntoa 17th Jun 17, 5:08 PM
    • 31,221 Posts
    • 36,913 Thanks
    Browntoa
    • #5
    • 17th Jun 17, 5:08 PM
    • #5
    • 17th Jun 17, 5:08 PM
    good luck financing a Canadian AND a Polish solicitor


    canadian Law will apply as the death occurred there
    I'm the Board Guide of the Referrers ,Telephones, Pensions , Shop Don't drop ,over 50's and Discount Code boards which means I'm a volunteer to help them run smoothly and I can move and merge posts there. However, please remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
    • bouicca21
    • By bouicca21 17th Jun 17, 7:21 PM
    • 2,930 Posts
    • 3,587 Thanks
    bouicca21
    • #6
    • 17th Jun 17, 7:21 PM
    • #6
    • 17th Jun 17, 7:21 PM
    I doubt anyone on this UK site can advise on Canadian law.
    • Brimble
    • By Brimble 17th Jun 17, 7:55 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Brimble
    • #7
    • 17th Jun 17, 7:55 PM
    • #7
    • 17th Jun 17, 7:55 PM
    Ok so ignore the Canadian thing for a minute - if the entire saga had happened in the UK, could someone now recruit a UK lawyer, show him the will etc, and take up a case against the sister even though it happened over 30 years ago? What would the courts normally conclude in such a situation?
    • pinkshoes
    • By pinkshoes 17th Jun 17, 8:56 PM
    • 14,968 Posts
    • 20,321 Thanks
    pinkshoes
    • #8
    • 17th Jun 17, 8:56 PM
    • #8
    • 17th Jun 17, 8:56 PM
    Ok so ignore the Canadian thing for a minute - if the entire saga had happened in the UK, could someone now recruit a UK lawyer, show him the will etc, and take up a case against the sister even though it happened over 30 years ago? What would the courts normally conclude in such a situation?
    Originally posted by Brimble
    In the UK, if the estate is unclaimed, you have 12 years to put in a claim. Longer for some circumstances.

    If it was claimed, and was not shared as stated, then you would sue the other person who claimed too much.

    To do this you would need to know the value of the estate at the time of death, and then probably start with a letter giving them a reasonable timeframe to pay up before court action. Depending on the value and knowledge of the legal system, a lawyer might be required.

    I don't think there is a time limit.
    Should've = Should HAVE (not 'of')
    Would've = Would HAVE (not 'of')

    No, I am not perfect, but yes I do judge people on their use of basic English language. If you didn't know the above, then learn it! (If English is your second language, then you are forgiven!)
    • Malthusian
    • By Malthusian 19th Jun 17, 10:19 AM
    • 2,203 Posts
    • 3,062 Thanks
    Malthusian
    • #9
    • 19th Jun 17, 10:19 AM
    • #9
    • 19th Jun 17, 10:19 AM
    As others have said he should consult a Canadian lawyer. In a way it sounds relatively straightforward. Either the son will own half of the new residential building or, if the daughter sold it to developers, he is owed half of the cash. If he still has a copy of the Will and so on - and especially if he still has the correspondence with the sister - it should be straightforward to prove.

    Of course the sister should not have sold or demolished the buildings without the consent of the other owner but it hardly matters at this point. He should just ask for the money.

    More generally speaking, what happens to assets when they are left to two people equally, but one isn’t contactable for many years?
    Technically speaking the sister should have got her brother to sign a power of attorney allowing her to manage the property in his capacity as well as her own. But given the situation, this is really splitting hairs.

    Is the other one just meant to sit on the assets for 50 years and wait? Arguably, it seems unfair on them if they have to manage the assets, but only actually ever own half...
    If she didn't want to manage his share for free, then she should have sold the properties and left him to look after his half. Or if they absolutely had to keep the properties, formed a company to own the buildings owned by each of them, which would pay a salary to her.
    • jackyann
    • By jackyann 19th Jun 17, 1:55 PM
    • 2,999 Posts
    • 5,591 Thanks
    jackyann
    Leaving aside the moral issues here.........
    It seems to me that there are 2 relatively straightforward things to do.

    Find some sort of Canadian forum, legal advice site or similar and ask the same question ( but cut out a lot of backstory)

    If it looks as if there is a possibility, then contact a Canadian solicitor, who can give an initial opinion online or telephone. Solicitors who do this usually have a flat rate fee.

    The family can then decide how to proceed, as they will have a much clearer picture.
    • Ziggazee
    • By Ziggazee 20th Jun 17, 1:55 PM
    • 443 Posts
    • 568 Thanks
    Ziggazee
    Contact a Canadian lawyer.


    And cease all the ridiculous Facebook stalking....it's very Jeremy Kyle...
    • Brimble
    • By Brimble 20th Jun 17, 10:56 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Brimble
    ...And cease all the ridiculous Facebook stalking....it's very Jeremy Kyle...
    Originally posted by Ziggazee
    ???
    If the sister is refusing to answer any communications, it would be wise for us to ensure that we have some possible ways to track her down, and FB is very useful in that respect. It's not 'stalking', we're not watching her or her activities at all, it's purely so that we have a way to find and contact her if she continues to refuse communications that she is effectively legally obliged to respond to. Strange comment. :/
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

3,422Posts Today

8,739Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • RT @Emloy93: @MartinSLewis I did this! It 100% works ????????

  • RT @Photo_Pete: @MartinSLewis Thanks Martin, I'll renew mine before my 24th in September!

  • Tell any 23 yr olds... you're allowed to buy a 3 year 16-25 railcard the day before your 24th birthday then it's valid until ur almost 27 RT

  • Follow Martin