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Am I entitled to this inheritance?

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JamesJohnson123JamesJohnson123 Forumite
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I've struggled to find any information on this unique set of circumstances anywhere online so hopefully you guys can help. :)

My mother passed away last month and before her passing a will was drawn up with me being put down as who should inherit her entire estate. A few years prior to that, her husband had passed away (not my biological father, he does have other children), but sadly no will was ever made; or at least that we know of. Prior to my mother's death, no claim had been made on her deceased husband's estate; as far as I know, it went into probate with the council.

I've spoke to solicitors re. her husband's estate and was told that, his estate should go to her as they were married, now as she has passed away and I'm to inherit her estate, I too should inherit his estate. I hope that makes sense!

A few questions:
  • Is my solicitor correct and I'm entitled to his estate?
  • I have also been advised by him to seek a grant of probate from the courts, is this correct? If I'm in my mother's will, why would I need a probate?
  • I've heard councils can be notoriously difficult to deal with without a will, can the council kick back on releasing his estate even if I'm entitled?

All help appreciated :)
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  • edited 10 July at 4:47PM
    mrschaucermrschaucer Forumite
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    edited 10 July at 4:47PM
    If your stepfather left no will, his estate would be distributed according to the intestacy rules.  https://www.gov.uk/inherits-someone-dies-without-will
    Anything inherited by your mother from him would be inherited by you if that is what her will states.  Yes, you need to seek a grant of probate for your mother's will (unless the estate is very small).
    Why do you think "the council" might be involved?
  • NearlyoldNearlyold Forumite
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    In what way was your stepfather's estate separated from what was owned jointly with your mother and how much are we talking about? What do you mean that it went into probate with the council - why didn't your mother deal with it. Who is the executor of your mothers estate?  If your stepfather's estate was substantial your mother would only inherit a portion of it, the rest would go to his children under the rules of intestacy.
  • Keep_pedallingKeep_pedalling Forumite
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    His children may have been entitled to some of his estate. How big was his estate, when exactly did he die and what part of the UK was he resident?

    Without knowing the above your question can’t be answered.
  • xylophonexylophone Forumite
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    A few years prior to that, her husband had passed away (not my biological father, he does have other children), but sadly no will was ever made; or at least that we know of. Prior to my mother's death, no claim had been made on her deceased husband's estate; as far as I know, it went into probate with the council.

    If your mother was legally married at the time her husband died, then the rules of intestacy would  have applied.

    You indicate that he died before  6 February 2020.

    https://www.bpcollins.co.uk/news/legal-news/key-shift-to-intestacy-rule-to-come-into-effect-on-6-february-2020

    What do you mean about going into probate with the council?

    Why did your mother not deal with her husband's assets after he died? 

    Did your mother leave the family home/other real property as well as cash/shares etc?

    If so, you will certainly need to apply for probate before you can deal with your mother's estate.

    Even if not, the holders of the other assets may require probate before releasing them.

  • JamesJohnson123JamesJohnson123 Forumite
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    MoneySaving Newbie
    If your stepfather left no will, his estate would be distributed according to the intestacy rules.
    Anything inherited by your mother from him would be inherited by you if that is what her will states.  Yes, you need to seek a grant of probate for your mother's will (unless the estate is very small).
    Why do you think "the council" might be involved?
    Thanks.

    I've read over those rules. What was not clear in them though was if the surviving spouse's (my mother) entitlement according to the intestacy rules, would this entitlement continue after she is deceased to the executor (me) of her will. Does my understanding hold true? 

    The council are holding his estate.
  • Important update! We have recently reviewed and updated our Forum Rules and FAQs. Please take the time to familiarise yourself with the latest version.
  • JamesJohnson123JamesJohnson123 Forumite
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    Nearlyold said:
    In what way was your stepfather's estate separated from what was owned jointly with your mother and how much are we talking about? What do you mean that it went into probate with the council - why didn't your mother deal with it. Who is the executor of your mothers estate?  If your stepfather's estate was substantial your mother would only inherit a portion of it, the rest would go to his children under the rules of intestacy.
    His estate was worth £28k so a small amount and I believe it was a bunch of insurance policies in both their names. She didn't handle it at the time due to dementia and it wasn't until near the end I became executor.

    Re. the council, they're the ones holding the assets.
  • JamesJohnson123JamesJohnson123 Forumite
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    MoneySaving Newbie
    His children may have been entitled to some of his estate. How big was his estate, when exactly did he die and what part of the UK was he resident?

    Without knowing the above your question can’t be answered.
    England, died in 2017 and the estate was valued at 28k.
  • Keep_pedallingKeep_pedalling Forumite
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    His children may have been entitled to some of his estate. How big was his estate, when exactly did he die and what part of the UK was he resident?

    Without knowing the above your question can’t be answered.
    England, died in 2017 and the estate was valued at 28k.
    Thanks, in which case she inherited everything.
  • NearlyoldNearlyold Forumite
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    If your mother had dementia was she still of sound mind when she made her will? 
  • Keep_pedallingKeep_pedalling Forumite
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    Presumable the council are holding her money because they were acting as her deputies while she was in care, and they may very well want probate  before releasing it, but you need to confirm that with them.

    I was also wondering how a will was produced while she lacked capacity. Do you have any siblings?
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