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Advice needed about Will 'interpretation'.

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  • Advice needed about Will 'interpretation'.

    Hi. First time poster here - hoping to get some thoughts on other people's experiences.

    The situation I have is thus;
    A Parent has died last year and so according to the will, the estate is to be shared equally between 4 siblings. However, the wording of the will is as follows

    “…1/6th share to my Son X, or to his wife if he dies before me”.

    Unfortunately the son has now also died - after the parent but before the Estate has been settled.

    I spoke to the Solicitor briefly and they’re view was that it could be interpreted either way, but that if 1 of the beneficiaries objected (to the wife of the son gaining the inheritance) then there was legal precedence for her not to get the inheritance.

    On the other hand, it could also be interpreted that the ‘intention’ of the will seems to be that the wife should get the inheritance if the son was not alive.

    As Executor of the Will, I believe I will have to make the final decision and I am aware that more than 1 of the beneficiaries are going to object to the wife getting the inheritance, so I just wondered if anyone had been in a similar situation, how they dealt with it and what the resolution was.

    Thank you for reading.
    Tags: None

  • #2
    As he didn't die before the parent the share would go to his estate and be passed as per his will. Were there no clauses about surviving for xx days ?

    If the estate is to be shared equally between 4 siblings, how come that clause is for 1/6th ? Was Son X one of the 4 siblings or were there originally 6 siblings all with similar clauses ?

    But yes seems pretty clear the parent wanted her son's wife to have his share if he died.
    Was this a homemade will ?

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    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Tangerine,

      In my opinion as the son died after the mother (unless there is a clause to state he should have survived 30 days after his mothers death) then the legacy should pass to his estate and be distributed according to his will or intestacy if no will was created. The words seem quite clear really if he pre-deceased then his wife should receive his inheritance. He did not pre-decease therefore the sum should go to his estate.

      A slight aside, is the 'wife' the same woman the son was married to when the mother's will was created?

      What does his will say (if he had one). Did he leave everything to his wife, in which case the same scenario occurs, so somewhat immaterial what the rest of the family think..
      I am a qualified solicitor and am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

      Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

      If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi and thank you both for your views. Firstly to clear up the numbers, it was a typo - 6 siblings not 4.

        There was no clause in the Will for the son to have to survive for any number of days.

        The wife is the same woman that the son was married to at the time of his mother making the will and as far as I know the son has left everything to his wife (I believe there was a will made).

        So if I understand it correctly - the inheritance will go to his estate and be distributed in accordance with his will. I wonder why the Solicitor didn't tell me that?

        I'll maybe have another look at the wording of the Will in case I have missed something. I'm sort of caught between a rock and a hard place, in that I know some of the beneficiaries have seen the Will, and have interpreted it that since he didn't die before the Mother - the inheritance has lapsed and goes back into her Estate. I also know they do not want the wife to have the inheritance (and it's true that the Mother did not think much of her either).

        But on the other hand - I also know that the wife will probably contest the will, if she doesn't get the inheritance.

        All that said, it sounds fairly straight forward from a legal aspect - and as long as I can justify it then the wife should get the inheritance and the other beneficiaries will just have to 'suck it up'.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi Tangerine,
          Technically the legacy isn't going to the wife it is going to the son (or his estate). What happens to his estate is down to his Will so I can't see that the other beneficiaries can argue this. If the son definitely died after the testator (his mother) and there is no confusion over dates then it would appear quite clear.

          Even if they had died together in circumstances that prevented determination of who died first the eldest would be deemed to have died first, the commorientes rule so I am unsure what the issue is unless there is some other clause in the Will indicating that if a beneficiary has died prior to distribution their estate would not be entitled, which would not be usual. Maybe clarify what the solicitor believes the issue to be.
          I am a qualified solicitor and am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

          Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

          If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

          Comment

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