Brother dies new will in the midst of divorce

My brother and wife seperated 6 years ago and she moved out with 12 year old daughter. They had been married 13 years. It was mainly due to my brother having addiction problems. She never worked during the marriage ( I don’t think she really wanted to) although she was a partner in a business they had together but spent minimal time on it. 
My brother supported her fully ( rent car phone 350 per week and paid for the daughters school fees ) he had hoped she would return but she asked for a divorce a year ago. During that year he tried to get her to discuss a financial settlement but it wasn’t until about 2 months ago an offer was made by a business associate to buy his place of vbusiness and house  for 1 million pounds that a meeting was arranged to discuss this, after a long meeting it was agreed she would have 400k after the mortgage was cleared and my brother would keep the 2 business and it’s debt. We calculated he would be left with about 300k himself and had a plan to rent a house with buildings attached to continue his business. 
He had not been well for about 7 years with kidney problems and the last year of negotiations had taken its toll. 
The day after the meeting he was taken to hospital and died 10 days later. 
Luckily he had made his will before that meeting leaving his estate to his daughter ( because he had signed the settlement with his wife ).  
My sister his office manager his best friend and daughter are the executors. 
So fast forward to now and the business and his estate and finances need unravelling. 


However there is a fly in the ointment. His daughter was very angry with her mother as she feels that the stress of the divorce didn’t help his health and now she’s lost her dad. On the day he died she didn’t even collect her daughter but let her come to hosoital on the train so she was too late and he was gone. My brother did not want his ex at the hospital but she managed to come after he died as the daughter wanted them all in one room for the last time. Also after he died his daughter came to stay at his house and told me that even as her dad was dying her mother was emailing her solicitor saying that she considered the will to be illegal and that all the assets should be hers ( her daughter saw her mothers emails ) . Daughter was also in the car going back to uni with her mum and mothers boyfriend a few days before he died and the boyfriend was texting a barrister friend about her rights as next of kin. 
It appears that the settlement may not stand as the offer of a million is not in the table at the moment due to how long probate will
take. 

My brother was no angel but he wanted his daughters inheritance protected in case his ex married again and she ended up with nothing in the future. There has already been a meeting with his ex asking what she needs in the way of momey to keep her until
Probate is complete and her settlement is agreed but she refused to respond. As a family we want to protect our niece so she now has her own solicitor to act for her as beneficiary. 
Does anyone have experience of a situation like this? As I see it the estate needs valuing then an offer can be made to the ex as near as is possible to the settlement figure. The wife has been running a diet business is a massage therapist and works in a gym for the last 4 years but that was all denied at thr settlement meeting although it’s all over social media. 
A family friend told us last week not to underestimate the wife as she will use tricks to get as much as possible and although the daughter is only 18 it’s her inheritance and I feel we should honour our brothers wishes but my sister the executor is already saying the wife should he given more than the daughter as she’s only 18! It’s a mess and that’s with a Wlll !


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  • GrumpyDil
    GrumpyDil Posts: 1,565
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    What a mess and has scope to get even messier. As he has left a valid will then the starting position would be that the estate should be distributed as per the will.

    The problem is that as the wife has been living off your brother's money then she will be able to bring a claim as a dependent which will need a court to adjudicate on.
  • Brie
    Brie Posts: 9,298
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    nothing further to say beyond sorry for your loss.
    "Never retract, never explain, never apologise; get things done and let them howl.”
  • The executors really should take legal advice. His wife certainly has a legitimate claim to a portion of his estate and it would be better to sort that amicably rather than have this go through the courts as everybody will los3e that way.

    The daughter’s age does not come into is at 18 she is an adult and cannot have her share reduced because she might waste it.
  • Marcon
    Marcon Posts: 9,999
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    rose28454 said:

    A family friend told us last week not to underestimate the wife as she will use tricks to get as much as possible and although the daughter is only 18 it’s her inheritance and I feel we should honour our brothers wishes but my sister the executor is already saying the wife should he given more than the daughter as she’s only 18! It’s a mess and that’s with a Wlll !


    So your sister thinks she has the right as an executor to start doing as she thinks fit, rather than what the will says...

    If ever there was a case where proper legal advice was needed, this is it.
    Googling on your question might have been both quicker and easier, if you're only after simple facts rather than opinions!  
  • Hoenir
    Hoenir Posts: 1,236
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    Money has a decisive effect on relationships between people. This situation is best resolved through communication between solicitors. Then the emotion can be placed to one side and the matter resolved in a pragmatic manner. 
  • RAS
    RAS Posts: 32,461
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    It's not clear if the divorce was absolute? If not, the wife is now brother's widow and still has matrimonial rights. She's also a business partner so has rights there.

    The executors need to execute the will but parts may fail if the marriage is intact legally.  

    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
  • rose28454
    rose28454 Posts: 4,945
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    The executors really should take legal advice. His wife certainly has a legitimate claim to a portion of his estate and it would be better to sort that amicably rather than have this go through the courts as everybody will los3e that way.

    The daughter’s age does not come into is at 18 she is an adult and cannot have her share reduced because she might waste it.



    A solicitor who specialises in probate has been appointed already . 
  • rose28454
    rose28454 Posts: 4,945
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    edited 31 December 2023 at 8:54AM
      

    GrumpyDil said:
    What a mess and has scope to get even messier. As he has left a valid will then the starting position would be that the estate should be distributed as per the will.

    The problem is that as the wife has been living off your brother's money then she will be able to bring a claim as a dependent which will need a court to adjudicate on.
    I hadn’t thought about the fact he was paying her although the dividend from the business they had with the associate had increased a lot in the last 6 months for both him and her so after taking advice brother had stopped paying her rent and was only giving her 100 per week and the daughter 90 ( for food as although she was living at home with mother she fended for herself ) 
  • rose28454
    rose28454 Posts: 4,945
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    RAS said:
    It's not clear if the divorce was absolute? If not, the wife is now brother's widow and still has matrimonial rights. She's also a business partner so has rights there.

    The executors need to execute the will but parts may fail if the marriage is intact legally.  

      

    I believe the divorce petition had been started but not finished. She is a business partnership in one business, a shareholder in the other. The partnership was a good business and could continue but the other is not viable financially or otherwise without him. Nobody in the family thinks she should get nothing but a settlement based upon the financial agreement made that Friday is what is being aimed for 
  • rose28454 said:
    The executors really should take legal advice. His wife certainly has a legitimate claim to a portion of his estate and it would be better to sort that amicably rather than have this go through the courts as everybody will los3e that way.

    The daughter’s age does not come into is at 18 she is an adult and cannot have her share reduced because she might waste it.



    A solicitor who specialises in probate has been appointed already . 
    Hopefully they also specialise in family law and contested probate as well.
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