Progression of dementia

Discussion in 'Middle - later stages of dementia' started by Cathy02, Aug 6, 2015.

  1. Cathy02

    Cathy02 Registered User

    Aug 6, 2015
    #1 Cathy02, Aug 6, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2015
    Hi. My mother has just passed away. She was suffering severe dementia at the time of her death. All this had been kept quiet from me as I was working abroad with orphan children in Africa and my mum knew how important my work was. I hadn't seen my mum for just over 3 years. I did write to her often and was unaware that it was my aunt that had been writing back to me.
    My mother has left everything to me, her house and a large sum of money. She made the new Will just 8 months before she died. It was done with a solicitor but, he was a close friend of my mothers and would have done anything for her so? My sister is contesting the Will saying she wasn't of sound mind or mentally able to make the decision she did just 8 months prior to suffering severe dementia. I know why my sister has been left out, they had a terrible row 7 years ago and hadn't spoken since. I do suspect my mother made a bit of a panic decision in making the Will when she did but, I have noticed that the ''Of sound mind'' has been left out of the Will and I don't think she signed it either to be honest, I think my aunt forged her signature, but nothing has been said about that. I have spoken to the solicitor and all he said was ''Your mother was present at the making of the Will and they were her wishes''. And he wouldn't comment on anything else. My sister works as a carer and she said there is no way she would have been able to make a Will just 8 months prior to her death or severity of her illness. Is she right?
  2. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    Hi Cathy, welcome to TP
    It's an impossible question to answer by anyone who wasn't close to your mum in here later life. Your aunt and the friendly solicitor aside is there anyone else you could talk to about her condition at the time? If she'd specifically said in her will why she'd disinherited your sister it would have helped. I think anyone doing anything "unexpected" in their will should provide an explanation why.
    There's a link below to a very recent story where a disinherited daughter got a will overturned by the courts.
  3. loveahug

    loveahug Registered User

    Nov 28, 2012
    Moved to Leicester
    Just an obtuse thought, Cathy, but do you agree with your mother's decision or do you feel it would be right for your sister to have a share? There is nothing to stop you doing a deed of variation and passing on some of your inheritance to your sister if you so wish. These things are always so painful to deal with and a will can give rise to so much bad feeling that what is left of a family is fractured forever.

    My condolences and best wishes to you x
  4. Cathy02

    Cathy02 Registered User

    Aug 6, 2015

    I know what you are saying and I too have thought the same but, also because of my work and travelling I have nothing. My sister and her husband have quite a large house with no mortgage and they both have very good jobs and holiday 2 times a year. They both have cars no less than 2/3 yrs old and both their children go to a private school. But I fully understand what you have said.
  5. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    I think that last posting says it all. Your mother looked at your lives and made a decision.
  6. Cathy02

    Cathy02 Registered User

    Aug 6, 2015

    I think my main worry is, did my mother have the mental capacity to do what she did because she knew I had nothing or was she swayed by my aunt who never did like my sister much.......which I can understand my sister being a carer and only living 20 miles away but never going to see mum or any offer of help.
  7. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    North Manchester
    Who witnessed your mother's signature on the will?
    Who is executor?
  8. cragmaid

    cragmaid Registered User

    Oct 18, 2010
    North East England
    Cathy, please accept my condolences on the death of your mother. I have no legal experience, however I think that any appeal on the grounds of mental capacity at the time of signing the will would be looked at thoroughly.
    I think that you need to be careful about suggesting that it may have a forged signature, because, if that can be proven, it would open a huge can of worms and bring legal proceedings against a few people. Now I would want it investigated but that is only my opinion.
    .....this is also quite difficult to comment on as it will be quite difficult to prove.
    I think you have several options. The first is to take no action and simply accept the will as it stands. If you chose this path, then you can decide if you want to split the proceeds with your sister and to what degree.
    If you want to raise the matter legally, then you will need to contact a solicitor who may well suggest that you contact the police. You must understand that this will probably drag on for some time and will naturally cost money. It will also probably cause a large amount of friction in the family.
    I'm sure you also understand that your sister may choose to contest the will herself.
    I wish you luck, and hope that you will let us know how things proceed.
  9. chrisdee

    chrisdee Registered User

    Nov 23, 2014
    #9 chrisdee, Aug 9, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2015
    Cathy, this is going to sound rather blunt [I'm from Yorkshire!] but I hope you will accept this is sincerely meant. Mum died earlier this year and my brother and I have just got through the first part of Probate ie the cash in the bank. Partly, accepting you parents money is rather upsetting. Secondly, lawyers really do cost, they will be rubbing their hands if you bring them a problem to 'solve'. I suggest you accept the will as it is, and decide if you want a relationship with your sister. If you don't, fine, go ahead with the 'poor me' justification, which you will have to live with. If you do, then go for the 'Deed of Variation' option and give her a percentage of the proceeds up to 50%. What you do now will affect the rest of your life.
    Do not line the lawyers pockets or leave yourself with irreparable regrets.
  10. chrisdee

    chrisdee Registered User

    Nov 23, 2014
    Sorry to wade in again! we live in a very selfish society. Some will feel sympathy for your charitable work and see you as 'deserving' others of course will not and will see what you have done as a lifestyle choice. Opting out of the difficulties of forging a career in the individualistic and competitive western world. IMHO siblings falling out is an ugly thing. Its very hard work holding it together, but some, including myself have made it a priority. Anyone with dementia does not see things as they really are, but are very largely unaware of their problems.
  11. LYN T

    LYN T Registered User

    Aug 30, 2012
    Brixham Devon
    I think you will have to weigh things up and try to see what the future will hold as a result. Personally I wouldn't try to overturn the decision of the will as you will only be lining the pockets of solicitors etc. However, if you feel that your Mum didn't have capacity to make the decision that she did (or was pressured into doing so) I would pass on an amount to your Sister. As others have said she didn't stipulate WHY she disinherited your Sister-even if you have a good idea why-but there was nothing in writing.

    Even though your Aunt disapproves of her it wasn't up to your Aunt to settle a score with her using your Mum's will. If your Sister finds out that your Mum's signature HAS been forged then I'm afraid your Aunt, and the Solicitor (her friend!!!) will be in serious trouble.

    Looking to the future, what would become of any relationship with your Sister? Sometimes accepting less will give you more in the long run.

    Take care

    Lyn T XX
  12. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    My condolences on the death of your mother, Cathy02.

    I too am from Yorkshire - know about family fall outs - and am 'old fashioned' about these things - so will be straight forward too :-
    Your parents had 2 children so the inheritance is split 2 ways equally. It's up to you to organise that now.
    I personally would doubt the 'appropriateness' of a will made in these circumstances - so if I were your sister, I would be considering contesting it. What would you think if the roles were reversed? I would make the Deed of Variation, no question.

    There may be lots of 'mitigating' factors (the quarrel; the apparent disparity in your financial states - which to me is irrelevant as they are the result of choices you each made as adults - how much each of you were involved in your mother's care .... ) but to me they don't count for anything overall. No-one 'deserves' an inheritance more than someone else.

    I do wonder what any earlier will would have said - did your parents (I say parents as my guess is that your mother was a widow and sole heritor from her husband's estate -which may be wrong) state their wishes in the past? You seem to be questioning this way yourself.

    You've lived so far without this money. Half will be still be a massive gift to you both.
  13. Lindy50

    Lindy50 Registered User

    Dec 11, 2013
    My condolences Cathy on your loss x

    You must feel very torn about this situation, and in some ways overwhelmed by your mother's generosity to you. However, I think you must have considerable doubts about the validity of her will, otherwise you would not be posting about it here?

    Given those doubts, if it were me, I'd go for the Deed of Variation and give your sister half or thereabouts of the inheritance. As Lyn and others say, this will affect your life for a long time to come. Family is likely to be more important than money, in the long run.

    I hope you are on good terms with your sister, and if you are, I hope you are able to maintain this relationship.

    All the best to you :)

    Lindy xx
  14. janetlynn

    janetlynn Registered User

    Jul 22, 2012
    #14 janetlynn, Aug 12, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2015

    What a dilemma!
    I don`t know how close you and your sister are, but it sounds like your sister does not need the money, so ask yourself why she is doing this.

    Should it really be up to you to give her any money.

    Others have given some good advice.

    If I may, can I add another option. Why not put half of the money into a new account, or even premium bonds, with a view that this may be her money if she successfully contests the will. That way, you do not need to do anything, and if she wins, the money can be paid to her. At least then, you know where you stand financially and you don`t have to worry about overspending. You never know, you may win a substantial amount with a premium bond!!!

    Whatever you decide, I hope it works out for the best.

  15. RobynNZ

    RobynNZ Registered User

    Feb 16, 2013
    #15 RobynNZ, Aug 25, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2015
    Sounds Fishy

    Oh dear what a sad situation. I would doubt that your mother would have understood her new will, even if she did sign it, if she had severe dementia at the time. I think your aunt has been most unwise not enlightening you about your mother's condition and writing on her behalf. That seems deceitful to me. I'm sure, regardless of your charity work, you would still put your family first and would have visited your mother. You don't seem a close family and very sad that your sister didn't make amends with your mother. As for the money - as Lyn T said "Sometimes accepting less will give you more in the long run." I'd discuss the situation with your sister - she is your flesh and blood afterall and I'm sure you'd like to be closer. For peace of mind I'd be offering her some of the inheritance and perhaps give some to the charity you were working with in Africa.
    My mother, who is in the final stages of dementia, had left a third of her home to my rather selfish brother who lives overseas. Her home has been sold (she is in care) and I know I inherit her savings but I've put the proceeds of the house into a separate bank account. This way I will make sure my brother still gets what was the intention of my mother's will. I need peace of mind - money doesn't give you that. In your shoes I'd be looking a little deeper into your aunt's involvement and also the solicitor's role. You might be able to seek some independent legal advise.

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