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Late Father's Will And Belongings

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Anne1977 | 07:51 Thu 19th May 2022 | Law
24 Answers
Hello, apologies if I've put this question in the wrong section.
Basically my late father passed in Dec 19. He met a horrible woman 20 years ago who was/is very controlling. They met, and he sold our family home to fund a new property 200 miles away from my brothers' and I ( it was always her plan to move my dad away from his family and closer to hers). She never liked me (possibly because I'm like my lovely mum).
My dad was far from stupid- he was a business manager, but he was weak. We were never estranged.
His new woman was a single mum with nothing (I'm not judging, because I am one too),so our family home of 20yrs was sold 20 yrs ago for £350k.
Dad passed quite suddenly, and my brothers' and I were denied information as he was dying.
Hospital staff were able to see what she was doing, so I they took pity on me and allowed me to set up a password to gain information on his condition, so much so , I forced myself to be by his side whilst he lay dying.
When he passed, his wife told me they had a mirror will. I have no idea what that means. Anyway, I asked for a shirt of his or something to remember him by but received nothing!
Just before Christmas I googled my dad's address only to find out the home had been sold, and new people were living in it! I contacted his wife (despite all, I've always bitten my tongue and been kind to her) to ask again if I could have something of my dad's- again nothing. I asked her daughter to ask her mum on my behalf, again nothing!
As it stands, my brothers and I have nothing of my dad's. My brother would have liked my great grandad's war medals, but she's not given them to him. For all I know, all my dad's belongings could be in a charity shop, which I find most cruel.
As my dad lay dying, my dad's wife told me that her daughter was more of a daughter to my dad than I, which broke my heart (she didn't know she was on loud speak, so other people heard her say that).
I've since found out that her two brothers do not speak to her as she withheld their mum's possessions when she passed (she was executor of the will).
My question is this; I don't have any rights to anything of my dad's do I? I've tried appealing to her good will, but nothing, and if there is a mirror will, can she change it to leave everything to her two children and grandchildren, and leave my dad's side out (i.e. my brothers and I)?
If there is a will, it's with a solicitor somewhere, and I've no idea how to find out.
She's not given us her new address, so I have no way to find out where she is.
I'm right in saying we have no legal rights and we've (my brothers' and I) are unlikely to ever get something to remember my dad by. Should I finally admit defeat and give up?
Why are people so cruel?

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To answer one question - if your dad left everything to her she can write a new will leaving everything to whoever she wants to. She can leave it all to a cats home.

You need to see your dad's Will, which is a public record. Apply here https://www.gov.uk/search-will-probate
Question Author
Thank you barry1010.
Can I look on there even if it's been done through a solicitor? (sorry if that sounds like a stupid question).
there is always the problem that he may not have had a will, in which case everything would have gone to her anyway. It's very easy for someone to "lose" a will - all they'd have to do is chuck it away either before or after the other person dies, should it suit them to do so (which it would have done in the circumstances you describe)
in answer to your q, yes. A will has to be probated, and when the executor has received probate, the will is made public.
//Can I look on there even if it's been done through a solicitor?//

Yes, once probate has been granted (it may not have yet) a will becomes public. Anyone can see it - there is a small charge (£1.50?).
Anne, it doesn't matter who did the Will - it should have gone to probate and is a public record, anyone has the right to see it.

As for his personal possessions, after more than two years it is likely that his wife has disposed of them especially as the house has been sold.
Unless the Will names you as a beneficiary you are unlikely to receive anything. If you are a beneficiary you will have legal recourse against the executor of the Will who is legally bound to ensure your late father's estate was properly dealt with. The executor could be his wife, a solicitor or anyone he trusted.

As bednobs rightly says, your father may not have written a Will, or it could have been conveniently destroyed, in which case his wife inherits everything unless his estate was worth over £250,000. The rules are set out here https://www.gov.uk/inherits-someone-dies-without-will

Of course, your father could have given his wife everything before he died - put the house in her name, for example, to bring the value of his estate below the £250k threshold.

It is essential you get a copy of the Will for your own peace of mind
Question Author
I've just looked, and there's no will/grant/probate registered, which I find really really strange. Her words to me were "we've got a mirror will" (which she said angrily to me). He was an intelligent man, with an estate of over £800k, so it doesn't make sense.
Silly thing is, I'm still having bereavement counselling, and just to know I was thought of (not in monetary terms- say my nan's watch -which he knew meant a lot to me) would resolve a lot of issues that I have (ironically that my dad didn't love me).
Anne, I just wanted to say that I’m so sorry of the situation you are in x
With an estate that size, she should pay inheritance tax - I suggest you grass her up to HMRC.
Anne, mirror wills are used by couples where each Will reflects the other - wife leaves everything to husband; husband leaves everything to wife. There can also be bequests to children, charities but nothing complicated.

As I said earlier, your father could have disposed of his assets long ago - put the house in her name, moved money to her accounts. Or put everything in a trust.
Canary42 said "With an estate that size, she should pay inheritance tax". Not if, for example, he left everything to his 'new' wife, see here under 'Overview':
https://www.gov.uk/inheritance-tax

"There’s normally no Inheritance Tax to pay if ... you leave everything above the £325,000 threshold to your spouse ..."
if you werent that close to him(?) he may well have disposed of the assets before his death anyway and you didnt know
Question Author
oh my goodness, I've just read all your responses (many thanks btw). So effectively what you're saying is, he could have signed everything over to her , even if his estate was over £800k, then she would keep everything?
As bizarre as this sounds, my dad really did have his head screwed on when it came to matters such as this. He was always really clever with money. He called each of his children weekly, so it's not like we never talked, or we didn't mean something to him?
My brothers and I are kind people, who have been respectful throughout this awful business. All I've asked for is a shirt.
It all seems really fishy to me, and I'm not the only one who thinks so. Trouble is she lives 200 miles away, and I can no longer go to the house as it's sold! I've no idea where she is!
I have no money yet bought her gifts for birthdays and Christmases, yet all I got for my birthday was a 50p birthday card.
I guess what they say is true, the more money you have , the tighter people are!
Thank you all for being so kind as to offer your advice (thank you smowball xx). I'm never going to get over this, and sadly my dad's memory is tarnished because I'll always think he just didn't care enough about me.
I don't have any money (none at all in fact, but I only have to think of Ukraine and I count myself lucky)but I've made sure my pension is signed over to my daughter in the event of my death. Isn't that what you do as a parent? make sure your children are looked after when you're gone. Looks like my dad didn't think of me at all.
It is possible that all assets were in joint names (because the house has been sold, it is possible it was in joint names and passed to her by survivorship) - this would explain how she has been able to sell it without a Grant of Probate. If assets were in joint names then they pass outside of the terms of the will (or, in fact, intestacy).

Irrespective of this, I think you should seek legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in claims for reasonable financial provision for maintenance pursuant to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. I cannot comment any further, but urge you to seek advice. If funds are an issue, try a local law centre who may be able to secure you 30 mins free advice from a barrister or go to a solicitor who will do this work on a no win-no fee type arrangement.
Thanks for the correction Etch, I didn't realise that (my knowledge was based on being Executor for my Mother's estate, which anyway came out under the minimum)
Question Author
bednobs- we were close. In fact I lay for days with him whilst he was dying. I fed him. I loved him. I asked his wife to put a picture of my brothers and I in his casket, she 'forgot', and she also gave me the wrong time to be able to see my dad as he lay in the chapel of rest, so I didn't get to see him before he was cremated.
I'm a nurse who is used to holding the hands of dying people, I only wish I'd been allowed the privilege of holding my dad's.
I sensed a deep regret in his eyes as he lay dying, a regret he moved far away from his kids and never really got to know his grandkids because of this.
My only blessing is, my mum still loved my dad, and I managed to put her flowers on the casket (my dad's wife didn't know), I guess because my mum was denied going to the funeral, it was my way of letting my mum say a final goodbye, so for that, I'm thankful.
I did say on your other thread but he may have simply decided to leave everything to his wife as my dad did.
I was extremely close to my dad and also received nothing in his will, would I have like something - of course but it was his wishes to care for his wife and I will abide by them.
I suppose it helps that I care deeply for my stepmother.
As for her being cruel - you obviously dislike her and did before all this happened so perhaps that is why she is not giving you her new details.
Question Author
Thank you all for your extensive knowledge. I know nothing of my rights, and I know you are not able to give me legal advice, but if I were to call someone i.e. a solicitor, (you're right, I don't have any money lol) who do I ask to speak to or about. Sorry if I sound clueless. Is it a family solicitor or? thank you in advance.xx
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Redhelen1972, I'm sorry for your loss and circumstances. You know how it feels. Nobody liked my dad's wife. She was controlling. You could think I was the bitter , hurt daughter, but two of her own brothers do not speak to her, for holding their mother's money.
I'm sure your step mother would give you a shirt of your dad's, she sounds like a nice person. My dad's wife won't. In fact the only thing I have of his is a razor I used when I shaved him, just before he died. Some people are born selfish I guess.

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