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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 22620
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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My brother (adopted) died here 28th of December. He had

Customer Question

My brother (adopted) died here 28th of December. He had given me the card for his lawyer in England (he was English) I called his lawyer in England and he has retired. The office where he worked has no record of my brother. I hope to find a will when I go to England as I am supposed to be the benificary. what will I need to do if I casn't find a will.
JA: Estate laws vary by state. What state are you in?
Customer: I am in california but Terry is a british citizen, and his assets are all in London.
JA: What documents or supporting evidence do you have?
Customer: I have his adoption papers showing that my mother adopted him, but he lived in England, visiting here 6 months out of every year.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: just about international rules
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 6 months ago.

Good evening. Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to assist you with this today. Do you have any parents alive or any siblings?

I know that you say your brother gave you a card for his lawyer, are you certain that your brother did in fact write a will? If so, do you have any idea what was in it?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I have a sister, parents both deceased. Terry always told me I was the only one in his will. He gave me the solicitors card probably 10-15 years ago. and that solicitor retired a long time ago, according to the office where he was. That office is also closed due to the retirement of everyone else. I hope to find a will in his house when I go to London.
Expert:  Stuart J replied 6 months ago.

Thank you.

There is no central register of Wills. There have been many attempts to get one put together but it is never succeeded. Hence, it is a case of doing all the usual searches in writing to solicitors.

If this was 10/15 years ago, that he gave you the card, he could well have done another will, with another firm of solicitors even.

If the solicitors can’t find the will and have no record, it is highly likely that it was given to your brother for storage rather than being retained by the solicitor. It is not uncommon for us to be asked for a will from our deeds store and for beneficiaries to be adamant that we have the will and we cannot find it. We then get the file out (always stored separately) only to find that the last is the letter sending the client the will and telling them to keep it safe because they didn’t want us to store it. Whereas the Wills would be kept for ever, the actual file that produced the will would not be stored longer than about 7 years (it must be at least six) which may account for why the solicitors have no record.

If your brother is adopted legally then he is treated as a blood relative and so are you.

If there is no will that can be found, then the proceeds of the estate are dealt with under the rules of intestacy and with no parents alive, that means that you and your sister would it doesn’t matter what your brother said, the rules are quite clear.

If there is a house to deal with, or other substantial property or assets and not just a few odd bank or building society accounts, then you are going to need probate in exactly the same way that you would if there is a will.

Can I answer any points arising from this?

Please don’t forget to use the rating service to rate my answer positively. If you don’t rate it positively, I don’t get any credit from my time today.

However even after rating, the thread does remain open and if anything else need clarification, we can still exchange emails.

Kind regards.