Will done two weeks before cousins death

Discussion in 'Legal and financial issues' started by Ray96, Nov 27, 2018.

  1. Ray96

    Ray96 Registered User

    Sep 29, 2018
    42
    Mums first cousin who had dementia like my mother died at the age of 94 last year, she was single and had no children. A will was done exactly 2 weeks before her death leaving most of her estate to a carer/confidant and a part to charities, the signature is just a scribble, so I'm thinking, did she have capacity to do this will, was she possibly coaxed in some way? I was told that sometimes these events are recorded on video, but there has never been any mention of this. Also we were informed initially that there was no will by this carer/confidant, its all very strange. We have received a copy of the will but no mention of the value of her estate, which should have been quite a bit.

    It's not so much the money but the thought that the poor old woman, a childless spinster, was made to sign when she was almost on her death bed makes me quite angry. Anyone had a similar experience I wonder, I'm even thinking of contesting the will as my mum is next of kin.
     
  2. Ducky601

    Ducky601 Registered User

    Jul 24, 2018
    98
    Hi, I think if I were in your position then I would go talk it over with a Solicitor, see what they advise. I think that’s all you can do in the circumstances.
     
  3. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    4,593
    Salford
    I guess it depends on how the will was made, if it was a "home made" will and witnesses 2 people unknown to anyone then I guess you could see a solicitor about it as suggested, but if the will was properly drawn up by a solicitor then you might have a problem.
    Solicitors are by virtue of their professional qualifications allowed to assess if someone has the capacity to understand what they're signing so you'd have to find a legal firm willing to take on another legal firm and somehow implicate a solicitor in an illegal act which is what it is.
    Even if someone has a diagnosis of AZ that's no proof of lack of capacity and now they're passed away it's impossible to prove whether they had capacity at the time.
    A friend of mine added a codicil to his will leaving several thousand pounds to the carer he had to complete their studies, he told me and a couple of others what he had done and although he did have capacity issues he did know what he was doing. He never told the carer, they only found out after he passed away.
    The carer might not even be aware of the change of the will, it would be unusual for a solicitor to allow a beneficiary to be present while the will was discussed specially under these circumstances, even to the untrained eye a vulnerable person changing their will and leaving their money to someone who may be in a position of trust would ring bells be it a carer or a family member.
    The value of an estate doesn't go into a will as theirs too many unknowns, house values change, share prices, investments, insurance pay outs all are variable so the value of an estate written 10 years ago would be based on house prices at the time, pre the stock market crash and all the other variables which is why people are advised to leave bequests as percentages rather than an amount that now may seem generous in 10 years time might be the price of a bag of chips if inflation takes off again.
    As I say if a solicitor drew up the will your first problem will be finding a law firm willing to take your case on and then the grounds you can prove you have a case of undue influence.
    What's happened "feels" very wrong but in court can you prove that "beyond all reasonable doubt" that the person was unduly influenced and/or that they lacked capacity?
    K
     
  4. Ray96

    Ray96 Registered User

    Sep 29, 2018
    42
    Thanks for your reply, I think you have answered my question there. Yes there was a solicitor involved, in fact it was witnessed by two solicitors so I might as well just leave it. Seems so wrong to me I must say to do this virtually on her deathbed and I can't be certain of her mental state at the time anyway. I bet it must be easy prey when you have someone like mums cousin who has no close relatives left, just an elderly cousin or two.

    This carer/confidant was bequeathed all her property, art, jewelry and 60% of her savings, shares, investments etc.
    I am still curious as to home much her estate is worth currently, there must be a way of finding out.
     
  5. love.dad.but..

    love.dad.but.. Registered User

    Jan 16, 2014
    3,695
    Kent
    A will doesn't usually contain the estate value in answer to one of your questions...individual bequeath amounts are sometimes included however. If the estate requires probate what seems to be different now from a few years ago...is that the estate value is confirmed on the probate document...my FIL's 5 years ago didn't...my dad's 18 mths ago did. If probate has been granted it is on public record and I believe for a fee you can apply for a copy...however will knowing it is a valuable estate if it is...help you or upset you further especially if there aren't legitimate grounds for a legal challenge?
     
  6. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    10,682
    Female
    London
    Personally I would stay out of this. It's not your battle to fight, and you don't know the circumstances. It's equally possible that this will was done without coercion, that this person was closer to her than your mother and might not have known that there was a will, so didn't lie.
     
  7. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    4,593
    Salford
    If you were left a fixed amount in a will then the solicitors need only tell you about that, however, if as you say the estate was split as a percentage then all beneficiaries will get a full statement of accounts to prove they got their correct share of the assets.
    If you're not a beneficiary then you could ask anyone who was and find out that way, if they don't get a set of accounts but were left 10% of the estate and got a cheque for £100,000 then the estate was worth a million.
    If there's a house to sell, shares to sell, art and jewellery then you could be waiting some time before anyone gets anything as everything will have to be sold off so I'm talking months at best, over a year as quire possible.
    K
     
  8. Ray96

    Ray96 Registered User

    Sep 29, 2018
    42
    Thanks for your replies.
    Yes this has been going on for over a year already. Thing is if this woman was so close to our cousin, why wait until the point where she was so close to death to do the will, surely it should have been done earlier on. And why did she say at first when she contacted us that there was no will, and then changed her story to she left everything to charity? Anyway I agree that I'm not going to get involved.

    By the way, I have become very suspiciuos in my old age because of a confidence trickster that took advantage of my father before he died, I was not around all of the time until he got the diagnosis of terminal lung cancer, we didn't get along very well you see, and he only lasted another month after not being well for a long time. I won't go into details but poor old dad did some very silly things and mum lost out big time because of his supposed friend and confidant, including some very dodgy land deals. Unfortunately the world is full of these sociopathic con men, and women.
     
  9. Ducky601

    Ducky601 Registered User

    Jul 24, 2018
    98
    I can understand where you’re coming from Ray but as already mentioned, unless you are able to ‘prove’ with certainty any ‘dodgy doings’ which would cost thousands in legal costs then there’s probably not a lot you can do. However, you may of course be able to get some initial ‘free’ advice from a Solicitor in your area if you wanted to talk things over?
     
  10. Susan11

    Susan11 Registered User

    Nov 18, 2018
    144
    probatesearch.service.gov.uk
    Try searching on the above site. Will tell you when probate was given and you can apply for a copy of the will.
    Hope this helps
     
  11. Ray96

    Ray96 Registered User

    Sep 29, 2018
    42
    Thanks for your replies everyone. I spoke to mum's other surviving cousin and she said leave it, so that is what I will do.

    Got enough on my plate caring for my mother.
     

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