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Thomas
Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
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Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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My father died 3 yrs ago. His wife (not my mother) is now selling

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My father died 3 yrs ago. His wife (not my mother) is now selling up and going back to her native Finland. I have no idea if there was a will, or if the house she just sold was in her name. Can I do anything to find out? Can she just walk off with the money, or can I do anything to challenge the legality of that?
Walter
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 2 years ago.

Hi Walter

Thanks for your question.

To enable me to answer your question could you please respond to the following:-

  • 1. Did you not enquire about a Will at the time of your father's passing

Kind regards.

Tom

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
no, I didn't
Expert:  Thomas replied 2 years ago.

Hi Walter,

 

Did he have any other significant assets?

 

Has she already sold the house and moved out?

 

Kind regards,

 

Tom

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
She is waiting to complete. I don't believe he had any significant assets
Expert:  Thomas replied 2 years ago.

Hi Walter.

 

 

 

 

Thanks for your reply.

 

She would not be able to sell the property unless either the property was in her sole name or if it was in the name's of her and your father AND she had a grant of probate/letters of administration showing that she has the right to deal in your father's estate


You can download a copy of the register for your property from the land registry's search engine:-

http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/wps/portal/Property_Search

Enter the postcode for your property and if it is registered it will give you the option to download a copy of the register.

 

You will be able to tell if it is registered in her sole name by looking at the proprietorship register.

 

If it is then she could have owner the property with your father as joint tenants, which means that the property would pass automatically to her following your father's death regardless of if there was any will or whether his estate would pass according to the intestacy rules.

 

The intestacy rules state that she would receive up to £250,000.00 of his assets would go to her, anything over that would pass to you and your siblings - half now, and half once she passes away herself. If his share in the property was less than this amount then she would receive it even if it was in your father's name and he did not have any other assets.

 

If his estate was greater than £250,000.00 and he did not have a Will then you should have received something. You need to check to see if a grant of probate/letters of administration was taken out:-

http://www.justice.gov.uk/guidance/courts-and-tribunals/courts/probate/copies-of-grants-wills.htm

 

If letters of administration were taken out and your father had an estate greater than £250, 000.00 then it could be that she has effectively defrauded you of your inheritance. Chance are it will have been in their joint names earlier and then passed automatically to her.

If this has been useful please kindly click accept so that I may be rewarded for my time. If you do not click accept your money stays with the site and I do not receive any credit for the time I have taken to answer your question.

 

I will answer your follow up questions you may have.


Kind regards,


Tom

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks,

I take it that his assets do not include the house, which she is selling for £430,000? Is that correct?

If it turns out that she has the right to take all the money out of the country, I assume there is nothing I can do to claim the money back when she dies?

My father told my wife on the phone some years ago the money would go half to me, half to her son by a previous marriage, but I cannot know if he stated that in any will. If he did, what's to stop her tearing up that will?

Does his will, if he had one, have any legal power once she has inherited the money?

Thanks,
Walter
Expert:  Thomas replied 2 years ago.

Walter,

 

 

His estate for the purposes of how it is inherited as part of his estate would depend if it was held jointly with her on the registered title. If it was held solely by him then it would pass according to his WIll/intestacy rules.

 

If it was held in both or their names then whether it would pass according to his will or under the fitness levels depend on how it was held because joint registered propreitors can hold in two way - if held as 1) joint tenants then the property would have passed to her automatically, if held as 2) tenants in common then it would pass according to his Will.

 

If there was a Will which was torn up or disposed by her then you would have a claim against her. It woudl not be unthinably difficult to sue her in Finland, but you woudl need proof and given the amount of time that has passed it would presumably very difficult to prove now. Frankly, I am a little astonished that you have been as relaxed as you have about it.

 

You need to carry out the search of the probate regsitry and land registry as above described immediately and wait for the results. IN the meantime you shoudl ask her what happened, whether they owned the property jointly and whether this was held as joint tenants.


Trust this clarifies, if so please click accept.

Kind regads,


Tom

Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 6295
Experience: BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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