Your late father would have been well advised to leave a small something in the will to those children who he was no longer speaking to rather than leave them out altogether. If he was adamant he wanted to leave them out altogether, then he should have prepared a letter of wishes which explained that he knew exactly what he was doing and he simply did not want his estranged children to have anything. We don’t know what happened between the solicitor and the father and probably never will.
it’s probably not worth pursuing the line.
It can be challenged but challenges like this are not cheap.
Wills and estate admin can be contested on various grounds
If a person doesn’t provide for dependents, children incl adopted children of all ages and a spouse (but not step children unless they have been treated as the deceased’s own children) in a will it can contested by making a claim under the THE INHERITANCE (PROVISION FOR FAMILY AND DEPENDANTS) ACT 1975.
Details are here
Undue influence if it is thought that the person making the will had been “got at” when drafting the will.
Or if, when drafting the will the person lacked mental capacity/didn’t know what he/she was doing
There are strict time limits for contesting will under 1 above of 6 months from death.
Claims under 2 or 3 above 12 months.
Claims under 4, no time limit.
Promissory Estoppell. This is a technical legal doctrine not used very often. It says that if anyone has been promised something during the lifetime of a person and they relied on that promise to their detriment then they are entitled to have whatever was promised. The classic case is indeed the young man on the farm, who is told by the old man “don’t go off to seek your fortune son, but stick with me and work on the farm and I will leave it to you when I die,”.
So the young man doesn’t go off to seek his fortune and stays and works on the farm and it turns out that when the old man dies he leaves everything in his estate to the prize cow, Daisy or his new girlfriend, who is 30 years younger than he is.
In that case, the young man having given up a future (to his detriment) on the basis that one day (he was promised) the farm would be his and he believed it and relied on it, he can get a court order that the farm is transferred to him. Such claims are not cheap or quick to bring in do require a large burden of proof of the promise and reliance to detriment.
Anyone can get a copy of a will once it has been admitted to probate from HM probate registry, upon the payment of £6 pounds.
If there is no will the estate is distributed under terms of the rules of intestacy
A person can register a standing search at the probate registry, which must be renewed every six months and it will tell them if anyone applies for probate. When they do, they can then apply for a caveat.
If anyone is considering litigating the matter on any of the grounds above, they can make an application to court for pre-action disclosure of the will and can ask the court to award costs against the executor. If the application fails, costs can be awarded against the applicant.
Can I answer any points arising from this?
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