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    • Tabby026
    • By Tabby026 29th Sep 17, 9:32 AM
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    Tabby026
    Question on Contentious Probate
    • #1
    • 29th Sep 17, 9:32 AM
    Question on Contentious Probate 29th Sep 17 at 9:32 AM
    My husband passed away 3 years ago, leaving me everything in his will. I wish to leave everything to my adult daughter, who I have a close bond to and is physically disabled. I have an adult stepdaughter who I have decided to leave out of my will. I have done a new will and also a letter of wishes, giving my reasons why. I have not seen my stepdaughter in 3 years and had a strained/limited relationship with her when my husband was alive.

    Could my stepdaughter contest the will?

    In the eyes of the law if my daughter is better off has her own home and savings, whereas my stepdaughter is (as far as I know), in rented accommodation with no savings, could this go in my stepdaughters favour?

    Could the court decide to give everything to my stepdaughter and leave my biological daughter out completely?

    My estate is cutterntly worth £600,000

    My daughter is not money orientated. I just want to be able to provide for her when I am no longer here, as her physical disability means she will have additional needs in the future. Also my daughter does not have a biological father as he died when she was 2 years old.

    I want to make sure I am doing the right thing, as in the eyes of the law I don't want to make it difficult for my daughter from a legal point of view when I die.
Page 1
    • TonyMMM
    • By TonyMMM 29th Sep 17, 9:45 AM
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    TonyMMM
    • #2
    • 29th Sep 17, 9:45 AM
    • #2
    • 29th Sep 17, 9:45 AM
    Could she contest it ? ... She could - the question is would she have a strong case or any chance of winning.

    That is more difficult - did your late husband support her in any way, or did he leave any instructions about his wishes with regard to you passing on any of his estate to her ? Did she make any move to contest his will when he died (she may have had a better opportunity then...) ?

    Hopefully you are having the will written by a solicitor who can give advice on the best way to word things - that is what you are paying them for.
    • Manxman in exile
    • By Manxman in exile 29th Sep 17, 10:03 AM
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    Manxman in exile
    • #3
    • 29th Sep 17, 10:03 AM
    • #3
    • 29th Sep 17, 10:03 AM
    I presume you raised this question with your solicitor when you did your "new will"? What did they advise?
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 29th Sep 17, 10:20 AM
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    • #4
    • 29th Sep 17, 10:20 AM
    • #4
    • 29th Sep 17, 10:20 AM
    My husband passed away 3 years ago, leaving me everything in his will.

    I have an adult stepdaughter who I have decided to leave out of my will.
    Originally posted by Tabby026
    This is one of the reasons why people change their house ownership to tenants in common and leave their share to their children rather than the spouse.
    • Tabby026
    • By Tabby026 29th Sep 17, 11:04 AM
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    Tabby026
    • #5
    • 29th Sep 17, 11:04 AM
    • #5
    • 29th Sep 17, 11:04 AM
    My husband gave her money, when she manipulated him and asked him for money (which she then wasted). She had no real relationship with him, other than using him for cash, as and when she wanted it.

    He did not lay out anything specifically to her in his will. however if I died first he wanted half to go to his daughter and half to my daughter. Is this will now nil and void? Would this support her case?

    His estate was worth more than I had in savings (i.e. The value of his probate was a large sum on the event of his death). Would this go in her favour?

    I have read that anyone can look up a deceased persons probate, so will she be able to find out the total value of my estate after I have passed away?

    The solicitor has just told me to do a will, letter of wishes and has said that her claim, if she makes one will depend on the law at the time.
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 29th Sep 17, 11:17 AM
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    Mojisola
    • #6
    • 29th Sep 17, 11:17 AM
    • #6
    • 29th Sep 17, 11:17 AM
    He did not lay out anything specifically to her in his will. however if I died first he wanted half to go to his daughter and half to my daughter. Is this will now nil and void? Would this support her case?
    Originally posted by Tabby026
    No, legally your husband left you all the money so it's all now yours to give away as you wish.

    If you wanted to honour your husband's wishes that his daughter would inherit from him, you could leave her a proportion of the estate.
    • SevenOfNine
    • By SevenOfNine 29th Sep 17, 11:22 AM
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    • #7
    • 29th Sep 17, 11:22 AM
    • #7
    • 29th Sep 17, 11:22 AM
    This is one of the reasons why people change their house ownership to tenants in common and leave their share to their children rather than the spouse.
    Originally posted by Mojisola
    Good point in the case of second marriages involving step children. Maybe not so much with long married couples who share offspring.

    OP, assume the stepdaughter you refer to is the daughter of "your husband" - you have not actually referred to her as HIS daughter?

    If that is the case it appears he left everything he had to you, excluding his own daughter?

    Was the estrangement because he remarried, to you? Did he & his daughter have contact & a father/daughter relationship before your marriage or were they already estranged?

    No 'understanding' when you got everything that you would 'look after' his daughter in your own Will, or perhaps that was already in place when he was alive but as you have not seen her for 3 years you're choosing to renege & change your Will now to exclude her entirely - because you can?

    Appreciate the questions appear nosy & don't answer your question, but I just want a feel for what it is you hope to achieve by cutting her out altogether, from funds that were (I presume) built up to a certain extent possibly by HER mother & father? Perhaps I'm presuming incorrectly, apologies if so.

    You have not seen her for 3 years, may not see her for many more years, but it just seems sad to want to hit back from your grave. Teach her a lesson perhaps? You say your own daughter is comfortably off but may need additional funds later in life, you say 'his' daughter is not & you're happy to leave her like that?

    Ask yourself if he loved her unconditionally, then ask yourself if you loved him unconditionally - then forget a contentious challenge & do whatever your conscience sees fit.

    At the end of the day, you'll be dead, & it will be your daughter that could have to clear up the mess (though IMO the chance of a challenge is slim - his daughter may have been in a better position for that when her dad died).

    Expect someone will be along to give you the definitive answer, but you should also take advice from a proper solicitor who may advise differently.

    Sometimes it's just so sad to see the level of venom & spite (as deserved as it may be if a full story is told of course) dished out from the grave, along with some extremely greedy relatives rearing their heads before a loved one is cold in their grave.

    It never ceases to amaze me.
    Seen it all, done it all, can't remember most of it.
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 29th Sep 17, 11:24 AM
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    PasturesNew
    • #8
    • 29th Sep 17, 11:24 AM
    • #8
    • 29th Sep 17, 11:24 AM
    Another viewpoint is this:

    You've taken everything her dad (and mum maybe) worked for and built up over a lifetime .... and she gets nothing... whereas your daughter will get the lot, which will just be used ('wasted') on her living costs as she won't get a lot of benefits she'd be 'entitled' to if she'd not inherited so much.

    I think you owe it to your husband's memory to give a little more thought and courtesy to the fruit of his loins. She never asked to be born; she didn't ask for her parents to split; she never got to choose you.
    • Tabby026
    • By Tabby026 29th Sep 17, 11:46 AM
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    Tabby026
    • #9
    • 29th Sep 17, 11:46 AM
    • #9
    • 29th Sep 17, 11:46 AM
    It is his daughter. She was not estranged from us when we got together she just was cold and distant and only contacted him when she wanted money. My daughter on the other hand has never had any hand outs from us, made her own way in life, but her disability means she might need an adapted bungalow in the future. Over the years my daughter has been a huge support to myself and my husband both from an emotional and practical point of view. Nothing is too much trouble for her and she never wants anything in return. She says it is up to me what I do in my will. She has also been a huge support when my husband was ill, taking us out, looking after him etc. My stepdaughter always made excuses to come and see him when he was ill and caused him nothing but emotional distress and heartbreak over the years. She will get a large inheritance from her biological mother, whereas my daughters father passed away many years ago. My husband divorced his wife over 30 years ago and she made him remortgage his property and left him with nothing, so the money although most was in his name was something we built up together.
    • Tabby026
    • By Tabby026 29th Sep 17, 11:48 AM
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    Tabby026
    My daughter is not on benefits so your presumption is wrong.
    • FreeBear
    • By FreeBear 29th Sep 17, 12:43 PM
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    FreeBear
    Could my stepdaughter contest the will?

    In the eyes of the law if my daughter is better off has her own home and savings, whereas my stepdaughter is (as far as I know), in rented accommodation with no savings, could this go in my stepdaughters favour?
    Originally posted by Tabby026
    The stepdaughter would have the right to make a claim, but that does not mean it would have any chance of success. To do so is a very expensive process (£40K or more) and legal aid is not available for such disputes. The fact that she has little in the way of savings counts against her and it is unlikely a no-win-no-fee solicitor would take it on without an indemnity policy in place - The cost of such a policy could be as much as half the projected legal costs of the claim.
    Her courage will change the world.

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    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 29th Sep 17, 1:00 PM
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    Mojisola
    He did not lay out anything specifically to her in his will.

    however if I died first he wanted half to go to his daughter and half to my daughter.
    Originally posted by Tabby026
    And did your will say the same? If so, he might not have seen any reason to leave money directly to his daughter because he trusted you not to change your will after he died.

    How would you have felt if he had changed his will so that, if you died first, all the money would have gone to his daughter?

    However, if your step-daughter was to challenge a will, surely it would have to have been her father's will, especially if he had regularly given her money.

    I can't see any legal justification she would have to challenge your will.
    • Tabby026
    • By Tabby026 29th Sep 17, 3:12 PM
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    Tabby026
    Yes but does her fee for contentious probate not come of the estate?
    • FreeBear
    • By FreeBear 29th Sep 17, 4:47 PM
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    FreeBear
    Yes but does her fee for contentious probate not come of the estate?
    Originally posted by Tabby026

    Only if she wins. If she loses, there is every chance that the executors costs could be awarded against her.
    Her courage will change the world.

    Treasure the moments that you have. Savour them for as long as you can for they will never come back again.
    • Red-Squirrel
    • By Red-Squirrel 29th Sep 17, 5:07 PM
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    Red-Squirrel
    I think this is a real shame, your husband probably trusted you and thought you were a decent enough person that he didn't need to worry that you would cut his daughter out of your will.

    What a betrayal of him and his wishes.
    • Tabby026
    • By Tabby026 29th Sep 17, 5:33 PM
    • 63 Posts
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    Tabby026
    A lot of people have an opinion, which is fair enough, but I have posted on here to get factual information, not someone's personal opinion on a situation they know nothing about. Unless you know the whole story, do not be too quick to pass judgement.
    • Ms Chocaholic
    • By Ms Chocaholic 29th Sep 17, 5:40 PM
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    Ms Chocaholic
    You are your late husband will have discussed your wills when you made them I assume and you each decided that, whoever died first, the partner left would honour the other's wishes by leaving half to each of the daughters.

    If you had died first, you would have wanted your husband to leave half of the estate to your daughter I presume. I assume this would also have been your husband's wishes before he died.
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    • jackieblack
    • By jackieblack 29th Sep 17, 5:42 PM
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    jackieblack
    A lot of people have an opinion, which is fair enough, but I have posted on here to get factual information, not someone's personal opinion on a situation they know nothing about. Unless you know the whole story, do not be too quick to pass judgement.
    Originally posted by Tabby026
    AIUI:
    He left his estate to you, therefore it's yours to do whatever you like with it. Spend it all, give it away, whatever you like. It's your money now.

    If your husband wanted to leave anything to his daughter he should have dealt with this in his will (eg he could have created a trust so you were financially supported for your lifetime, with the estate then passing to his daughter on your death) but he didn't. That was his choice.

    You can leave your estate (including any inherited monies which are now yours) to whoever you like. That is your choice.

    If your stepdaughter thought she was entitled to any of her father's estate she could have contested his will. (She might have had a reasonable claim if he supported her financially before he died).

    If you haven't given her any financial support since her father died, and don't in the future, her chances of successfully challenging your will are much less.
    Last edited by jackieblack; 29-09-2017 at 5:58 PM.
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    • SevenOfNine
    • By SevenOfNine 29th Sep 17, 8:28 PM
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    SevenOfNine
    I have read that anyone can look up a deceased persons probate, so will she be able to find out the total value of my estate after I have passed away.

    If nothing changes between now & then, yes, with fairly limited information required to get it plus a nominal fee of a few pounds.

    The solicitor has just told me to do a will, letter of wishes and has said that her claim, if she makes one will depend on the law at the time.
    Originally posted by Tabby026
    Sounds like you were given a frank & accurate answer to your questions by a legal professional already.
    Seen it all, done it all, can't remember most of it.
    • TBagpuss
    • By TBagpuss 3rd Oct 17, 6:22 PM
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    TBagpuss
    Legally, she *might* be able to make an inheritance act claim. Did she eve live with you and your husband, or did you get together only after she was an adult?

    She might be able to make a claim as "any person (not being a child of the deceased) who in relation to any marriage or civil partnership to which the deceased was at any time a party, or otherwise in relation to any family in which the deceased at any time stood in the role of a parent, was treated by the deceased as a child of the family"

    I *think* that 'child of the family' would normally only include a step-child who lived with the step-parent as part of the family, but of course as it is a matter of interpretation of the statute that could change!

    So she might well fall at the first hurdle.
    If she did contest the will, and if the court took the view that that she was entitled to do so, and if they found you had not made reasonable provision for her, it's unlikely that she would be awarded the whole estate, as the court has to consider the claims of the other beneficiary / beneficiaries so would be unlikley to leave your daughter with nothing.

    That said, if the background is that more than half the assets came from your husband, and he wanted some of that to go to his daughter, (even knowing that she didn't have a great relationship with either of you) it seems somewhat ungenerous to cut her out completely.

    Have you considered an unequal split, giving your daughter a greater share but perhaps giving something to your step daughter (maybe 50% less an amount to take into account the money your husband gave her in his lifetime.
    Last edited by TBagpuss; 06-10-2017 at 9:16 PM.
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