Inheritance Issue

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lizzydrippin | 18:31 Sat 19th Sep 2015 | Personal Finance
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My husbands mother (who is in her mid eighties) has recently lost her only remaining sibling 'John' who left around £280,000, and as she lives on the other side of the country she put the affair into the hands of her niece and her husband who live locally. It was thought from the beginning that she would get the whole lot (after everything that was due to be paid was paid, solicitors fees etc etc etc) as Uncle John left no will. So my husband was surprised to get a phone call from his Mum last night telling him that she would be getting a quarter of Johns estate and the remaining three quarters would be going to My husbands 6 cousins (all the children of his Mum and Uncle Johns deceased siblings) even though half of them haven't been seen nor heard of in decades plus they all got inheritances when their respective parents died...AND my husband won't be getting a penny, because (his Mum said) he is the only one that has a living parent. Of course he has said to his Mum how unfair that is and has been very upset but she says "I know it's unfair Michael but it's the law and I can't do anything to change it". I'm hoping that someone out there may be able to shed some light on what could be going on here. It's extremely hurtful towards my husband who obviously feels penalised for what exactly? Thanks for reading


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your mother in lw could always just give him her shre right now
22:46 Sun 20th Sep 2015
If Uncle John died without making a will, there are rules that govern who inherits the estate.

If he dies intestate without wife or children his estate would be divided between his siblings (assuming parents predeceased him). If any of the siblings predeceased him their share would be divided between their children. So if 4 siblings she would get 25%. The other 75% would go to the other siblings or their children if they are not still alive.
Yes ubasses is spot on. Where no spouse (or civil partner) or parents are alive the estate is shared between the deceased’s siblings. However, if the siblings have themselves died their share goes to their children. Presumably there were three other siblings whose shares go to their children. It makes no difference how close they were or how out of contact they have been. (Note these rules are for England and Wales).

The moral of the tale is if you want your money to go where you want it to you must make a will.
The link in my first post will confirm what ubasses has said.

The numbers don't quite add up though (unless you made a typo). The estate should be divided equally between your husband's 6 cousins and your husband's mother, giving 7 equal shares.
Just realised I got it wrong - the money would have been split between the deceased siblings, so I assume the 6 cousins are children of 3 other siblings ??
Not necessarily Gizmo, if Mum is getting 25% the cousins will each share the 25% that their parent would have received.
why does your husbnd feel penalised?
Question Author
To clarify....all the siblings of John are dead bar My husbands mother, she is his only living sister. He had no spouse or children, surely his money should have gone to his sister and not to the children of his other deceased siblings. The way things stand presently, is she is having a quarter of the estate, the remaining three quarters is shared between his nephews and nieces who are the children of his deceased siblings. What seems unfair is that the 6 nephews and nieces all inherited from the estates of their own parents when the last parent of each one died. Now they will inherit again. Michael who is the 7th nephew won't get a penny until his own mother dies (his mother being John's sister who's getting the quarter) and that depends on whether there's any left by then or whether she outlives her son (she's in her mid 80's Michaelmas in his 60's). Does that seem right? Everyone gets a share except Michael just because Michael is the only nephew who still has a living parent? So his 6 cousins inherit twice while he might inherit once if there's anything left? And I appreciate it doesn't matter a hoot how close people are or not, I was simply trying to give a little background information, probably wasn't necessary, but hey ho.....
I guess it was John's money to do as he wanted with, and he chose to do nothing, so the law kicks in. It must feel tough, but if people won't make wills...
if your husband's uncle hd wanted him to inherit his money, he could have left it to him in a will. He didn't.
I don't see how this is unfair or how it could make him feel penalised.
That is correct, siblings inherit and if they are dead their share goes to their children. It is the way the intestacy law has been established. If your husband is the only child he stands to inherit his mothers estate including what she has inherited from her brother as long as her Will does not distribute it differently. His cousins may have already inherited their parents estate and are now just getting their parents share of their uncles estate.
well you have been given the intestacy rules

and it seems that the family have got it right

Michaels mumm can issue a deed of variation and leave her share to Michael if she wishes ( I think ) altho it doesnt sound as tho she wishes

and the lesson is: make a will !
Your husband will be inheriting what is rightfully his and fair. If your husbands mother was deceased your husband and any brothers or sisters of your husband would be receiving the same 25% of the estate. What is unfair to your husband is that he has to wait for his share until his mother passes.
It can be tough but this is the sort of thing that happens when there is no will. The rules of intestacy apply as everyone has said. Factors such as'they all got inheritances when their respective parents died' and 'they haven't seen nor heard of them in decades' don't normally come into it
Look on the bright side - your husband, being your only child, will eventually get twice as much as the other six cousins. He will get all of his mother's 25%, they all only got half each of their parents' 25%.
Question Author
Thanks so much to everyone for your input and a special thanks to the last 3 posters previous to this one for completely understanding where I was coming from with regards to my husband feeling a little hurt and upset. We both now feel so much better knowing that a) Michaels Mum wasn't being hoodwinked into something not quite correct, and b) that everything is exactly as the Inheritance Rules says it should be (excuse my wording not being totally correct but I'm sure you get the gist of what I'm meaning). It really wasn't about the money, we have struggled financially for the last 20 yrs whilst running an animal rescue charity and are used to watching the pennies. It would have been lovely to have inherited along with Michaels 6 cousins and we had been confused up to now as to why Michael was getting nothing. Michael is the only child of his Mother as she has said many times that she has made a will leaving everything to him, of course I wish her to go on for many years and there's no reason why she shouldn't she's in excellent health, where as Michael has several health problems, so she could well outlive him. I suppose whoever it is that makes these laws see everything in black and white where parents die before their offspring etc etc. It is what it is though and I'm happy at least to know it wasn't to do with a family decision but simply the way the Laws of Intestency work out. Don't suppose we'll ever know why Uncle John didn't write a will, he was in his 90's when he died a few months back, he had been living in a Nursing Home for the last 5 yrs or so and was also suffering with Dementia, but why a man with a considerable amount of money hadn't written a will long before that is a mystery. Thanks again for your help...
your mother in lw could always just give him her shre right now
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She thinks that the only way she can give us any money is in the form of gifts, like buying us a car or paying for house repairs (which is abit daft when we live in rented accomadation) but after reading up on Inheritable Issues I think that only relates to if she had inherited over £350,000, have I got that correct?
We'll just lay off from mentioning anything about it to her I think, she feels bad enough about the whole situation as it is and we really don't want that at all. It's not her fault that John didn't write a will or that the Intestacy laws are what they are. What's meant to be will be and all that...:-)
As PP said, his mother could do a Deed of Variation (or whatever it is called in an intestacy) so her share of the money goes direct from the deceased's estate direct to your husband. Or she could give him the money receives it - but this could raise inheritance tax issues if she then dies & leaves more than £325000.

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