SIGN UP

What if you cant find the Will but are pretty sure it exists you just dont know where?

Avatar Image
oracle39 | 10:18 Wed 29th Dec 2010 | Law
18 Answers
What if the administration had been granted and the state distributed in accordance with the will, and the only losers were the solicitors due to loss of fees, would there still be a problem? We think there is a will I recall my late mother in law saying she had made one and what was in it because its brief, and there are only two beneficaries my husband and nephew; but we cant find it and dont know who she would have made it with. We always assumed there would be a copy at home but looked high and low. So we obviously don't want to lie when asking for applying for letters of administration and say there is no Will. However we would distribute the estate as she requested her between her only son and grandson, which I cannot see as being a problem if the will does turn up. In this case the only losers might be the solicitors or whoever is the company named as executors. How are we supposed to locate them when there are so many in the area? What would happen if we have done their job for them? What are the alternative routes, other than checking if its lodged for safe keeping which I am doing?

Answers

1 to 18 of 18rss feed

Avatar Image
There is a clue there. If her husband died in 1986, do a "Probate search" on him. IE find out if there was a Grant to his estate. If so, this may have been done by solicitors and they will have been the obvious ones to update her own will.

Write to the York sub Probate Registry at Duncombe Place, York. Give date of death, full name, address and enclose a cheque for...
18:52 Wed 29th Dec 2010
If there is no will available you need to seek to find it and then if it can't be found the estate should be distributed in accordance with the rules of intestacy. Read this to check whether your hsuband and nephew would be entitled to all the estate.
http://www.adviceguid...ules_of_intestacy.htm
If there is no will you have to distribute IAW the rules of intestacy - you can't just do what you think the deceased wanted.

You can do a 'Deed of Variation' - anyone adversely affected by the deed has to agree though.

Most solicitors these days enter wills in an index - so approaching just one might uncover where the will is.
Question Author
Thanks, There are only my husband and nephew blood relatives, but when she would have made the will my sister in law was alive. She died, mum in law said she had specified that if any of her children died their share was to goto any grandchildren eg my nephew.
When my sister in law died she was separated and dying from cancer, did not have long enough for legal divorce. She got something drawn up with a solicitor that he agreed to and signed that he would make no claim on her estate (it didn't affect his entitlement to lump some from her pension). Sister in law also stated in her codicil (because he was bad with money always getting into debt, and in any way had his own property here and in Romania), that any monies due to her or her son were to be managed by trustees one of whom is my husband. We look after all his needs, his father barely puts his hand in his pocket!And he wouldn't get decent holiday if it wasn't for my husband. Sorry I diversify.
So I am waiting to see if this will is lodged for safe keeping.As stated before there are far too many solicitors I checked the nearest in proximity but that was negative. I can't go through the phone book and try them all I don't think I am being unreasonable am I?
in essence it sounds like it wont make much practical difference if the will is found or not. If it is found, and it leaves everything between your husband and nephew, all well and good. If it is not found, it sounds like the money will pass to your husband, who will then be at liberty to give the nephew half if he wants to.
Question Author
The nephew's half would be put in his trust fund.
well there you go then - if the will is not found, your husband can put 1/2 the money in the trust fund.
Question Author
I am just wondering what to do if ten years from now we get solicitors letters saying they were the executors, and they want their money (eg fees)? :(
They won't have done any work so there will be no fees.
the only problem i can forsee is if hypothetically a will is found at a later date that says it needs to be split between nephew and husband, the nephew could insist he gets his share (even if your husband has already gifted him a share)
Law people - is that possible?
I would send a standard letter to all solicitors in the locality to see if they have a record of the Will. I would also contact MIL's bank to see if she lodged it there for safe keeping. Also try placing an advert in the Law Society gazette and the local newspaper.

Couple of points here (and what I say is based on the following facts - MIL had only two children - your husband and his sister. Your sister in law predeceased her mother leaving an only child - your nephew?).

There is a presumption at law that if a Will is known to exist, the original was in the hands of the testatrix and it cannot be found on death the will has been revoked. However, you don't really know that a Will exists so I cannot see that the presumption can apply. Thus it seems to me that by applying for a Grant on the basis of intestacy you are not lying. There is absolutely no evidence (and assuming the searches above do not prove fruitful) that MIL ever made a Will.

On that basis, her Will will be distributed on intestacy. Thus her estate will be split between all her children. Assuming she only had two children (your husband and SIL) the estate will be split in half. Your hubby gets his half and your nephew gets the other half.

If the nephew is under 18, it will need to be placed in trust for him. No problem with the administrators acting as trustees until he is 18. Your SIL's will is of no consequence here. Her ex hubby has no claim on these monies if SIL predeceased her mum since nephew automatically inherits under intestacy laws.

If I've got the facts wrong, it may change the answer.
Question Author
Thank you Barmaid. Yes there were only ever 2 children, and SIL died 2004. Therefore only beneficaries would be my husband and her only grandson. We are not talking big sums of money here, just the value of a very run down house probably worth around £170k.
I have sent a letter of enquiry to see if a copy was lodged with the Custody Clerk Record Keeper's Dept, just in case; I realise they won't send the Will, if they have it, but hope they will inform who executors are. I will do as you suggest and send out letters to other solicitors in immediate area and the bank, but the prices of ads in Gazette are too high on our income.
I always thought there was a Will because I recall her saying some years ago she had to sort something out when her husband died in 1986. I can't see that she would have spoken about these things if she hadn't made one. Whether it turns up or not the beneficiaries would still be the same, the only difference would be who administors the estate as far as I understand. I am just wary of my husband applying for letters of administration until all avenues have been exhausted because I don't want him to be accused of doing the work of an executor if there is one, especially if its a law firm... we can do without the hassle. There must be some sort of precedent in cases like this?
There is a clue there. If her husband died in 1986, do a "Probate search" on him. IE find out if there was a Grant to his estate. If so, this may have been done by solicitors and they will have been the obvious ones to update her own will.

Write to the York sub Probate Registry at Duncombe Place, York. Give date of death, full name, address and enclose a cheque for £5 to HMPG and they should send you a grant if there was one. I'd do this before writing random letters because it could provide a quick answer.

If you do make enquires and no will turns up there is not going to be any hassle. Please try not to worry. The only likely other interested party will be the executors. If they have not done any work, they cannot claim any fees. As long as you have done all you can, it is no problem.
it is quite likely that the will if there is one, was stored with the same legal firm that handled her husband's estate.
Question Author
Ok, will do that, yes that sounds like a good idea, find out who dealt with the late husbands estate, if it was a solicitor then it might follow that they did one for MIL. Fingers crossed.Thank you for all your suggestions. Cheques literally "HMPG"? or written in full?
Don't know about the cheque - but sorry to say they have moved!

Full details here:-

http://www.hmcourts-s...e.gov.uk/cms/1183.htm
<<I always thought there was a Will because I recall her saying some years ago she had to sort something out when her husband died in 1986. I can't see that she would have spoken about these things if she hadn't made one>>

You'd be surprised how many people talk about it and never actually get round to it.
Question Author
dzug2 yes she did that frequently....always saying she was goin g to do this and that and never actually took steps to do anything. She did say she was going to arrange for a solicitor to visit her at home, and as far as I know she never did. I spoke to her sister in law, she said she took a draft round there for her to sign, but she just said she would think about it.....I don't think she was keen because it was written by a friend who had no legal experience. She also told her that she wanted me written into the will, in the event that my husband should die before her, that I should have his share. Very sweet, but I won't be needing that provision now. We have put out some feelers, and going to have another systematic room by room search on Sunday.
Question Author
This was extremely stressful , but eventually my husband and brother in law (on behalf of my nephew) obtained probate. 10 months on and now another problem has arisen, we have only just found a buyer for the house, but the solicitor said they cannot complete because its still in my late father in law's name. Does this legal stuff never end??? Why can't they just accept the marriage certificate and mother in law's probate. There are only 2 beneficiaries my husband and his nephew. Can someone please tell me how do I find out whether someone applied for letters of administration/or probate for my mother in law, because she would never have done it herself. I'm going to need to get a copy if there is one. I don't think there will be because otherwise the house woulf have been transfered to her name.
Further complications are late fil had bought the freehold to not only his own house (solicitor informed us from info on land registry) but not just his own home but ten in a row???We are pretty sure he had no idea, but then again 4 were sold to close family friends. Yet the only paper work found was a letter saying the transaction to buy his freehold had been completed. No mention that it meant any other houses. We are pulling our hair out now, we just want it to all be over. How the hell will we complete an application for probate without any information about bank accounts or insurance & pensions schemes?

1 to 18 of 18rss feed

Do you know the answer?

What if you cant find the Will but are pretty sure it exists you just dont know where?

Answer Question >>

Related Questions

Sorry, we can't find any related questions. Try using the search bar at the top of the page to search for some keywords, or choose a topic and submit your own question.