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Step Father, not doing what my mother wanted.

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  • Step Father, not doing what my mother wanted.

    My Mother died 25 years ago. Stepfather said there was no will. There was nothing of great value at the time, and I went to live abroad. They had purchased land 12 years before my mother died and within time this would become very valuable. There were 3 children, 2 boys who he adopted and my sister. We were all promised a field each, my mother would constantly remind us of this in front of our friend's, partners at the time, 6 months before she died she confirmed this promise saying I will be financially well off when she's gone. My sister was always local, she received cars, horses, from my stepfather, whilst my mother was alive, plus a field as a wedding gift where she has built her family home.
    Stepfather remarries a much younger woman, starts a new family. Eventually banned from the family home, unable to visit my mother's ashes to this day I never seen the urn to pay my respects, phone calls blocked as well as emails.
    25 years on land turns to gold as we all knew it would, family home is worth £600000, yet no news from the stepfather, he has decided to keep it all for himself. I check the records office, there is a will, my mother has left everything to him and everything to us if he dies within 28 days and her jewelery to my sister which she has received, plus he has recently signed over the remaining part of my sisters land to her.
    This man is a stand-up member of the Catholic community. And serverd over 30 years in the SAS, so you understand this is not somebody who you can just knock on their door.
    What can I do, my sister even agrees I should take legal action.
    Thanks
    Tags: None

  • #2
    "there is a will, my mother has left everything to him and everything to us if he dies within 28 days and her jewellery to my sister which she has received"

    He has complied with the will then.

    What are you wanting to achieve?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by paulajayne View Post
      "there is a will, my mother has left everything to him and everything to us if he dies within 28 days and her jewellery to my sister which she has received"

      He has complied with the will then.

      What are you wanting to achieve?
      Im sorry , I thought this was supposed to be a friendly and helpfull website.
      The fact that he lied about the will, has gone against my mothers wishes, obstucted me in my endevours, signed land over to my sister.
      I was thinking more Provision For Family And Dependants Act 1975. I know it has been 25 years, there have been recent cases where people have won cases over 25 years. Promissory estoppel for example. Does anybody have any exsperience. Thanks

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm not sure that was an unfriendly response, it may not be the response you are looking for, but it isn't unfriendly. The will left everything to her husband apart from Jewellery which was to go to your sister, and it seems the will instructions were carried out. I'm not sure your stepfather lying by saying there was no will has actually created an issue - it may be he didn't want you to know that your sister had been left the jewellery when you had not been left anything unless he passed away within a month of your mum.

        Presumably you are looking at the promise your mother made regarding the field...
        We were all promised a field each, my mother would constantly remind us of this in front of our friend's, partners at the time, 6 months before she died she confirmed this promise saying I will be financially well off when she's gone
        There were 3 children, 2 boys who he adopted and my sister.
        Your sister is your mum and stepfathers daughter? and the 2 boys are your mums sons who he adopted when he married your mum?

        Your stepfather has gone on to have further children with his 'new' wife? - I'm guessing you aren't expecting to have been included in his will, considering your relationship with him? What's your brothers thoughts on things ?( as he'll be in the same position as you I'd guess ?)

        I'll tag Peridot for you on the provision for dependants act
        “We may not win by protesting, but if we don’t protest we will lose. If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.” Hetty Bower

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        Comment


        • #5
          My brother has also been cast aside, I have no idea where he is. What does I'll tag you mean, I am not a computer person.
          Thanks

          Comment


          • #6
            I've just tagged someone else on the forum who is far more experienced in these kind of claims, so hopefully she'll look in when she's about xxx
            “We may not win by protesting, but if we don’t protest we will lose. If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.” Hetty Bower

            Any support I provide is offered without liability, if you are unsure please seek professional legal guidance.

            Received a Court Claim? Read >>>>> First Steps

            If we have helped you we'd appreciate it if you can leave a review on our Trust Pilot page

            Find Solicitors offering fixed fees on our sister site - JustBeagle.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Thank you x

              Comment


              • #8
                I do not do unfriendly.

                I was trying to find out what your aim was.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Sorry, I was overreacting, some sort of financial gain.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Although proprietary estoppel has been mentioned , to establish a claim there must be present
                    1)A promise of a gift
                    2)reliance by the promisee on it to her detriment.
                    3)That it would be unconscionable for the promisee not to receive the gift given the degree of detriment to her.
                    ( Lothia n v Dixon & Webb Claim No: 3LS30314)

                    I just wonder what detriment you suffered

                    Also sec 22 of the limitation Act 1980 might apply' if the land was solely your mothers.
                    That time limit is 12 years in respect of any claim to the personal estate of a deceased person

                    I think you might also have a problem in that you said "they had purchased" the land.
                    If it was jointly owned did your mother have the authority to gift it without express permission of the other joint owner?

                    Be interested to see Peridot 's comments

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have no idea if the land was purchased together. It was first registered in 2004, the Land Registry had no further information.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hi Adamwest101,

                        Sorry to hear of your issues. Were you and your brother legally adopted by your step father and your sister is his biological daughter? Do you have a relationship with your step father? Do you know what his Will states?

                        Unfortunately, as Amethyst has mentioned the fact you were not informed of the content of your mother's Will would I suspect make no difference. Provided the Will was created, signed and witnessed to ensure it was legal, then your mother's estate can pass under the Will to her husband, irrelevant of any discussions had while she was still alive. Someone's wishes are not legally binding. The only weight they carry would be from a moral obligation side but as mentioned this is not a legal obligation.

                        If the assets transferred to your step father then he can do as he wishes with them including passing what has become his property to your sister if he wishes. The only other thing to consider is whether the land was in joint names as joint tenants. If this is the case then it would automatically pass to your step father your mother's death and wouldn't be able to be left in any Will to anyone else in any event.
                        Was a Grant of Probate obtained? If not it may indicate that the land was jointly owned and therefore passed straight to your step father.
                        You can obtain a copy of the Grant and Will here if you haven't already:-
                        https://www.gov.uk/search-will-probate

                        The Lang Registry would have details of who currently owns the land which can be found here
                        On the Grant there will be a couple of figures, one a gross value of the estate the other a net value which excludes debts, testamentary expenses and any joint property values. In addition the relevant values are the value of the land at the date your mother passed away. The fact that the land has increased in value post death over 25 years does not provide any recourse for you.

                        If you believe the Will was not created in the correct manner you may have had a potential claim although you would have been expected to deal with this far sooner. The Court's can agree an extension to the time limit of 6mths from grant of probate but it would only be in exceptional circumstances. I don't see the circumstances are exceptional in this situation I'm afraid. From what you say you were not dependant on your mother. Unless she was making regular payments to you for your upkeep for example, I suspect your chances of bringing a successful claim would be unlikely.

                        I would reiterate what Des8 mentioned above regarding promissory estoppel. It is very hard to prove and even more so when the person who may have made a promise is no longer here to confirm it. I assume there is nothing in writing?

                        Have you sought any face to face legal advice on this at all?

                        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


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by des8 View Post
                          Although proprietary estoppel has been mentioned , to establish a claim there must be present
                          1)A promise of a gift
                          2)reliance by the promisee on it to her detriment.
                          3)That it would be unconscionable for the promisee not to receive the gift given the degree of detriment to her.
                          ( Lothia n v Dixon & Webb Claim No: 3LS30314)

                          I just wonder what detriment you suffered

                          Also sec 22 of the limitation Act 1980 might apply' if the land was solely your mothers.
                          That time limit is 12 years in respect of any claim to the personal estate of a deceased person

                          I think you might also have a problem in that you said "they had purchased" the land.
                          If it was jointly owned did your mother have the authority to gift it without express permission of the other joint owner?

                          Be interested to see Peridot 's comments
                          I relied on the promise that I would be able to puchase my own home, I knew it would take time for the land to become building land. This might sound greedy or selfish, I live in rented accomodation and I am now to old to get a mortgage

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The reliance has to be to your detriment, which in this type of situation normally means you acting in some way prior to the gift becoming yours eg looking after an elderly person and giving up your career in expectation of receiving the land.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Peridot View Post
                              Hi Adamwest101,

                              Sorry to hear of your issues. Were you and your brother legally adopted by your step father and your sister is his biological daughter? Do you have a relationship with your step father? Do you know what his Will states?

                              Unfortunately, as Amethyst has mentioned the fact you were not informed of the content of your mother's Will would I suspect make no difference. Provided the Will was created, signed and witnessed to ensure it was legal, then your mother's estate can pass under the Will to her husband, irrelevant of any discussions had while she was still alive. Someone's wishes are not legally binding. The only weight they carry would be from a moral obligation side but as mentioned this is not a legal obligation.

                              If the assets transferred to your step father then he can do as he wishes with them including passing what has become his property to your sister if he wishes. The only other thing to consider is whether the land was in joint names as joint tenants. If this is the case then it would automatically pass to your step father your mother's death and wouldn't be able to be left in any Will to anyone else in any event.
                              Was a Grant of Probate obtained? If not it may indicate that the land was jointly owned and therefore passed straight to your step father.
                              You can obtain a copy of the Grant and Will here if you haven't already:-
                              https://www.gov.uk/search-will-probate

                              The Lang Registry would have details of who currently owns the land which can be found here
                              On the Grant there will be a couple of figures, one a gross value of the estate the other a net value which excludes debts, testamentary expenses and any joint property values. In addition the relevant values are the value of the land at the date your mother passed away. The fact that the land has increased in value post death over 25 years does not provide any recourse for you.

                              If you believe the Will was not created in the correct manner you may have had a potential claim although you would have been expected to deal with this far sooner. The Court's can agree an extension to the time limit of 6mths from grant of probate but it would only be in exceptional circumstances. I don't see the circumstances are exceptional in this situation I'm afraid. From what you say you were not dependant on your mother. Unless she was making regular payments to you for your upkeep for example, I suspect your chances of bringing a successful claim would be unlikely.

                              I would reiterate what Des8 mentioned above regarding promissory estoppel. It is very hard to prove and even more so when the person who may have made a promise is no longer here to confirm it. I assume there is nothing in writing?

                              Have you sought any face to face legal advice on this at all?
                              Well thats that then, we were legally adopted.
                              Thanks

                              Comment

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