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Step mother and my fathers will

Discussion in 'Personal' started by maggie m, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. maggie m

    maggie m Occasional commenter

    Sadly my father passed away about 10 weeks ago. My brother and I are executors of the estate but our step mother is being very obstructive. My father had been married to her for 9 years and she has one son.
    My step brother seems to be encouraging my step mother to contest the will. We have seen a solicitor who has said she hasn't got a leg to stand on but she is being incredibly obstructive. She will not speak directly to either of us and via her son has told us we are despicable and our father would be ashamed of us.
    She only agreed to had over my fathers papers so we can start sorting out the estate after a letter from the solicitor. Now we have these papers we have noticed that she has been accessing some bank accounts that were in our fathers sole name since his death
    So far we have both kept calm and been civil but I am getting to the point where I feel like throttling her and to be honest the whole situation is making me feel sick.I want to hand the whole thing over to the solicitor but my brother wants to save on lawyers fees and do as much as possible ourselves.
    Any advice?

     
  2. maggie m

    maggie m Occasional commenter

    Sadly my father passed away about 10 weeks ago. My brother and I are executors of the estate but our step mother is being very obstructive. My father had been married to her for 9 years and she has one son.
    My step brother seems to be encouraging my step mother to contest the will. We have seen a solicitor who has said she hasn't got a leg to stand on but she is being incredibly obstructive. She will not speak directly to either of us and via her son has told us we are despicable and our father would be ashamed of us.
    She only agreed to had over my fathers papers so we can start sorting out the estate after a letter from the solicitor. Now we have these papers we have noticed that she has been accessing some bank accounts that were in our fathers sole name since his death
    So far we have both kept calm and been civil but I am getting to the point where I feel like throttling her and to be honest the whole situation is making me feel sick.I want to hand the whole thing over to the solicitor but my brother wants to save on lawyers fees and do as much as possible ourselves.
    Any advice?

     
  3. We had exactly the same situation in my husband's family.
    She will not speak directly to either of us and via her son has told us we are despicable and our father would be ashamed of us.
    Gosh, history repeats itself. Perhaps they all buy the same script. The gold-digging b*itch from hell professional widow, as she turned out to be, had a son whom no-one liked, because he was fundamentally unlikeable. He encouraged his mother, not that she needed much encouragement, to take as much money away from the family as she could and divert to him and his business, which I am delighted to say, went tits up a few years ago.
    But I digress. She is entitled to money from his account to defray present and funeral expenses, and she is entitled to a mighty chunk of the estate regardless of his testamentary wishes, because she is the widow. I can't remember what the precise percentage is, but there won't be much left after. That's on top of the shared dwelling and its contents.
    The law is right behind her. My f-i-l knew there was a chance of this but he was lonely and she seemed quite nice. He managed to settle some of it away (leaving her a whole house, the contents and all of his savings and pension) but the son kept chipping away at the shares and the other house until they'd got pretty much the lot.
    You could get a solicitor but I don't think you'll end up with much.
    Moral: I could go for no fool like an old fool, or marry in haste, repent at leisure, but will settle for look before you leap.
     
  4. cornflake

    cornflake Occasional commenter

    I'm sorry that you are having to deal with this on top of losing your father.
    Does the will provide anything for her? Is she going to be left homeless? Is that really what your father would have intended? Is she scared? Is her son? Are there other relationship issues between you/brother and her?
    I feel that the key thing is to try and sit down and talk about all the issues - together if you can manage it. Ultimately, the beneficieres of a will can actually change it by deed if you all agree (we did). I'm guessing that this isn't what you want to do ... because you will inherit less? Becuase it isn't what your father would have wanted?
    Be careful about your motivation. Step back and think about your father's wishes, and what is fair to all. It's REALLY hard to do that when you are grieving.
    I know. My father died intestate. The arguments that followed shattered the family into pieces. I have not seen them in the last 7 years as a result. I lost both my father and mother as a result. And my sisters, and most sadly of all, the relationship with my young nephew.
    If there is no immediate hurry, step back and take stock.
    Your teachers union may be able to provide legal advice too. (Mine did: it was invaluable)
     
  5. Climber sorted out his mothers estate and basically had to watch his FILs estranged family (20 years and no contact) walk away with everything (he died a few weeks after she did).

    The best advice I can give is to stay calm and to weigh up the consequences to you and yours. We chose to let all the anger go, Climber's sibs did not. We are relatively hapy, though th FILs kids had better not meet us in the street. Climber's sibs however seem to wallow in ther unfairness of the situation and they seem to be utterly miserable!
    Grab a solicitor for an hour or so and get it all explained, then make a fully informed choice.

    PS I second that as his widow she is indeed entitled to access sole named accounts for living expenses, funeral costs etc, as she is his next of kin.
     
  6. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    She does have the right to defray funeral expenses but your father's sole name accounts should have been frozen as soon as he died. Check with a solicitor but I think she may have committed a criminal offence in accessing them.
    We managed to be executors of my father's estate and get probate without a lawyer but there was nothing at all that was contentious about it. As in so many other areas, the law is a minefield where probate and inheritance are concerned. Despite the costs I think you would be better to put this into the hands of a solicitor.
     
  7. i was involved in a very messy case. I wanted to let the other side have what they wanted and the other executor (not a beneficiary) wanted to fight them every step of the way. In fact, the work and stress landed on my shoulders. EVen now, thinking about it all reduces me to a wreck. And we employed very highly recommended solicitors. I would just put it in their hands. It might cost a few thousand but that is worth your mental health. Sorry if that sounds a bit melodramatic, but it was a dreadful time for me. No one cares about the fact that you have suffered a loss, and it all brings out the worst in people, as you have already found out. all the best.
     
  8. rach1968

    rach1968 New commenter

    So sorry for your loss. Unfortunately it is true - you'll probably end up with very little. My mum died 2 years ago - leaving everything to her husband (my step father). He couldn't cope and within weeks of my mum dying he ended up in a MH unit for 12 months - before dying himself a year ago (very tragic). Everything my mum had left him (which she had inherited from my nana - my mum and step dad hadn't worked for years and lived in rented accomodation) has now gone to my step brothers and sister - except 12000 pound which we are due to get very soon. My nana's estate when she died was worth 300000 pound (no pound sign on my comp). I have also been left with all the house clearing etc, yet they are getting the bulk of the money. The aw isn't necessarily fair and leaves many people horrified - my nana would be turning in her grave if she knew where her mooney had ended up. Best to do as gorgy said - leave it to the solicitors and save your own mental health, as it does put a terrible strain on you.
     
  9. rach1968

    rach1968 New commenter

    oops! *law and money
     
  10. maggie m

    maggie m Occasional commenter

    She is the joint owner of the property anyway.She is getting a third of my fathers share of the property , the right to live in for the rest of her life and a lump sum of £10,000. The remainder of his cash assets are to be held in trust and she will recieve the interest they earn. The capital will be divided between my brother and I on her death.
    To be honest I am not that concerned about the money but why is she arguing for more? All it is doing is preventing us from moving on
     
  11. jacob

    jacob Lead commenter

    I must do a will.
     
  12. Working in banking industry atm...
    Depends what she is accessing the account for and how she is accessing it.
    If she is using cash machines or anything to do with the card then technically it is Fraud.
    If it is to pay funeral expenses and household bills that normally would have been paid by your late father then this is ok.
    Best way to resolve is to talk to the bank.
     
  13. Will they talk to the children? They wouldn't talk to us!
    Agree with whoever said it will all end in tears. The damage the infighting did to Mr L's extended family relationships has never been repaired.
    I would urge everyone, no matter how young they are, to make a will. If you can't afford a solicitor, just write the damn thing yourself, get two non-beneficiary people to witness it, keep a copy yourself where your next-of-kin can find it, and leave one with a trusted friend.
    But better by far to look upon coughing up for a proper one as a wise investment. My f-i-l had made one himself, we had severally seen it. We all knew where it was kept. But in the time it took b*itch-from-hell to eventually put him in an ambulance and send him off to hospital (died on the way), she'd been round to the safe and swiped it. Because his natural "carefulness" had precluded paying a lawyer to keep a copy, it was treated exactly the same as if he had died intestate.
     
  14. I hope you don't mind me hopping onto this thread to ask a question of my own.
    My Father-in-law recently died, he has been married to my husband's step-mother for 30 years. About 5 years ago, he told my husband and his two sons that he was leaving the house to them and that his wife would be allowed to stay there until her death.
    My husband wants to know when he will get to see the will, but hasn't the heart to ask his step-mother.
    Any advice?
     
  15. If they bank haven't been told they'll talk to anyone to register the death.
    In the case of the people I work for Inhibits get put onto the account meaning that NO transactions can go through unless allowed by the bank.
    Then they will wait to see a copy of the will, death certificate and who the executors of the will are before releasing funds in accordance with the will. No will means it goes to next-of-kin.
    There is a department that deal with death and can give advice to anyone regarding financial matters assuming that the deceased was a customer.
    As to entitlement to our parents belongings/money/house/cars etc...
    Death is a very nasty business and gets very messy very quickly. Before my father died he'd set up a company with a friend but my father owned all the assets (ie motor bikes and a van) for the motorcycle training company but they were stored at the partners house. The partner in the company denied the existence of any of this stuff and took it for her own.
    The way I dealt with it is that was my fathers not mine, when it came to wrapping up the estate we'd've sold the bikes and spit the money between my brothers and I. There was no sentiment attached to them. Had we wanted to keep the bikes I am sure it would have been a different matter. As we had no connection to the bikes and were sure that had my dad been alive and written a will he'd have given them to the partner anyway we let her have them.
    My dad made all his moeny himself, and my brothers and I each got some for which we are greatful for as it has helped us through education coming at the right time for us.
    You may find that the will becomes 'lost' or you may find that she is more than happy to show it to you. But without it you fall into the quagmire of litigation.
     
  16. maggie m

    maggie m Occasional commenter

    Delighted to say this whole hideous business has finally been settled. My vile step mother did take this to court and yesterday we got a judgement. The Will stands, the judge decided our father " had made fair and reasonable provision" for her and she has to pay our expenses which as you might guess are considerable. Incidentally it seems she did act illegally when accessing our fathers bank accounts as she signed forms stating probate had been granted when it had not. The bank concerned also got a telling off for not asking to see documentary evidence.
     
  17. Good for you and yours, maggie.
    I hope you can all let it go and grieve cleanly now. Good luck.
     

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