Inheritance Issue

My aunt died in January this year and my brother has obtained Letter of Administration enabling him to handle her estate, and the sale of her house is about to be completed.  She had made a Will which bequeathed her estate to be shared equally between my sister, my brother and myself.  However, my sister predeceased our aunt as she died in June 2019.  The Will made no provision regarding what was to happen to any of our shares should any of us predecease our Aunt.

My brother and I do want what should have been our sister's share to go to her two sons.  However, there is likely to be a family dispute because my sister's husband believes that she should have had a larger share of the estate than either my brother or myself, because my sister did a lot to help our Aunt in the last few years of her life.  After taking over our Aunt's financial affairs and obtaining Power of Attorney following our sister's death, however, my brother discovered that our Aunt had been passing approximately 400 pounds per month in cash to our sister for a number of years
(she wanted to do this and there is absolutely no suggestion that our sister acted dishonestly).  My brother and I had a conversation with our Aunt following our sister's death, once we had seen our Aunt's Will, to ask whether she wanted to change the Will to specify that our sister's sons should receive their mother's share of the estate, but she did not, she was just adamant that she did not want our sister's husband to receive any of her money as she hated him.
Does my sister's family have any legal claim to a larger share of the estate, or even, in law, do her sons have an automatic right to inherit her share of our Aunt's estate, if my brother and I did not choose to give it to them?
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Replies

  • mamanmaman Forumite
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    I believe that unless it specifically says so in the will (which it doesn't) then your sister's portion just reverts to the estate. It's just a kind gesture on your part to give the money to nephews and act in the spirit of your aunt's wishes.

    Your BIL could attempt a legal challenge but is unlikely to be successful when the £400 payments are known. Your sister was effectively a paid carer so was recompensed for any extra she may have done.

    I'd just go ahead and give the third you plan (equally shared) to your nephews. If they choose to share it with their father then that's up to them. You may or may not want to tell them that your aunt didn't want BIL to receive anything. 
  • xylophonexylophone Forumite
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    https://www.co-oplegalservices.co.uk/media-centre/articles-jan-march-2019/what-happens-in-probate-if-a-beneficiary-has-died/

    Your aunt's great nephews have no right to inherit their late mother's bequest.

    If you wish to be generous, you might choose to vary the will to give them what would have been their mother's share.
  • theoreticatheoretica Forumite
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    As your sister was not a direct descendent of your Aunt, her share does not automatically pass to her sons - from your description of the will it sounds like it will be split between you and your brother.  You may generously give this to your sister's sons.  Are they under 18? 

    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.
    Lewis Carroll
  • MojisolaMojisola Forumite
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    Velena said:
    she was just adamant that she did not want our sister's husband to receive any of her money as she hated him.
    from your description of the will it sounds like it will be split between you and your brother.  You may generously give this to your sister's sons. 
    As you will be giving your nephews your own money, you can arrange to do it any way you like and can honour your Aunt's wishes and make sure that their father can't get any of it.
    If you make a deed of variation in order to pass money directly to your nephews and they are still minors, you will have to abide by the law and they will take ownership of the money at 18 when they may still be influenced by their father into handing some of it over to him.
  • Keep_pedallingKeep_pedalling Forumite
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    How much your sister’s children get is entirely down to the generosity of you and your brother. In your shoes I would want her share to go to her children, so would inform your BIL that his children are not entitled to a penny but that you are prepared to complete a deed of variation so that they do receive your sister’s share. Hopefully when he knows the state of the land he won’t make any trouble.
  • mamanmaman Forumite
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    In view of what others have added, I'd not complicate things. Split the estate between you and your brother and then give (what will be) your own money to your nephews. If they are under 18, you might want to wait until they are of age before you give it to them. 
  • Keep_pedallingKeep_pedalling Forumite
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    maman said:
    In view of what others have added, I'd not complicate things. Split the estate between you and your brother and then give (what will be) your own money to your nephews. If they are under 18, you might want to wait until they are of age before you give it to them. 
    That could have IHT implications, if the OP wants the children to receive an inheritance then they should go down the DoV route. 
  • edited 26 September 2020 at 7:28PM
    mamanmaman Forumite
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    edited 26 September 2020 at 7:28PM
    maman said:
    In view of what others have added, I'd not complicate things. Split the estate between you and your brother and then give (what will be) your own money to your nephews. If they are under 18, you might want to wait until they are of age before you give it to them. 
    That could have IHT implications, if the OP wants the children to receive an inheritance then they should go down the DoV route. 
    You could be right but it will depend on the size of the estate. I was assuming (possibly wrongly) that it wasn't huge. 
  • VelenaVelena Forumite
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    Thank you all very much for taking the time to reply, it's most reassuring that all your replies are in agreement.  My nephews are not minors, and the estate is not huge (around 120k in total so my sister's share would have been 40k which we plan to share equally between them).  If the money were to be split equally between my brother and I, for us then to pass on to our nephews as a gift, that could cause complications as I am tax resident in Spain and that would mean the recipient of any money from me would be liable for Spanish gift tax, so I would rather it was paid direct to them from the estate.  If my brother in law or nephews want to get really nasty about it, my brother and I may well tell them that in view of their attitude we have changed our minds and will act in accordance with the law, but I hope it won't come to that.  I shall also be telling them that if they plan to start taking an interest in what will happen to my money when I die (I have no children to leave it to) they should not waste their time!
  • xylophonexylophone Forumite
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    so I would rather it was paid direct to them from the estate.  

     Then you and your brother agree to a Deed of Variation of the will.

    https://www.gov.uk/alter-a-will-after-a-death

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