A will appoints the executor (niece) to deal with the estate in accordance with my previously expressed wishes.
This was understood to mean that the estate was shared equally amongst the family members.
Niece says she is keeping the estate to herself.
Would you appeal against this if a family member?
State/Country relating to Question: United Kingdom
If there is a will and it expressly divides the estate, the executrix has to follow what is in the will. The executrix has no discretion to do otherwise and a court wont probate the will otherwise.
is there any written evidence of the Aunts wishes? ie had she put them down on paper? if so, then that paper can form part of the Will to evidence how she wanted her estate to be distributed.
If there is no written evidence then the other family members can argue that the estate was given to the niece as the trustee for her to distribute it in accordance with the terms of a "secret trust". A Secret Trust applies here because your Aunt trusted the niece to do the right thing after she died. The law will enforce the trust in favour of the other family members to prevent the niece from committing fraud and keeping the estate for herself. The wording in the Will supports the view that a secret trust was created. However, the family members would need to prove that the aunt told the niece how she wanted her estate to be divided up and the niece must have at the time, agreed to this.
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<p>hi there</p><p> </p><p>the family members will need to sign witness statements or swear statutory declarations confirming what happened and what the niece was told and that she agreed to it.</p><p> </p><p>This is a complicated area of law and i would strongly recommend that you consult a solicitor who specialises in contentious probate claims.</p><p> </p><p>if you are content with the advice i have given you, then kindly click on the green accept button </p><p> </p><p>many thx</p>
10 year qualifified solicitor
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