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Wil is null & void. Is this legal?

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  • Wil is null & void. Is this legal?

    Around 8 years ago my grandfather had a fall and was taken into hospital. He hit his head and it was decided by the doctors that he should not be allowed to return home. He had considerable savings and a house and these were used to pay for a nice care home for him. As far as we knew his savings were paying for this of around £1000 a week. Our side of the family live a long distance from him and so it was left to my uncle who lived nearby to organise. A few years later his house was sold by my uncle to pay for his care. At the time they sold it for 80% to a quick buyer which I thought was odd as he should still have had savings left. A few years later the same uncle told us he had been moved into NHS care as he was too ill now for the care home to look after him. This we were told was not paid for any more.

    He recently passed away and the uncle has phoned my father (his brother) and told him that he and my grandfather set up a joint account and all the money had gone into there. As a result his will was null & void and there was only enough left to pay for a basic funeral. He should have had a large amount still in there from the house sale but also he had a good pension being paid into there.

    Before he was ill we had an inheritance stolen by another side of our family and my grandfather took us aside and told us not to worry, his will was in place and we would be looked after equally.

    My uncle and his wife are a nasty pair who actually had the house valued just after my grandmother died while my grandfather was still there. My grandparents actually told us once to be careful of them because they would try and steal everything for themselves.

    My question is, is it that easy that my uncle could have taken my grandfather who was not in his right mind to open a joint account, have the proceeds of his house sale and pension paid into there and then null & void a will? Could it really have been that easy to steal his money?

    Is there anyway we can check if the will is actually null & void and do we have any power to see where his money has gone in terms of the bank account etc?
    Tags: None

  • #2
    Well, the Will isn't 'null and void' at all unless your grandad made a new will at any point before he passed. Do you know who he appointed as executors in his will? ( seems unlikely it would have been your Uncle if he didn't trust him) or where his will was stored ?

    A 'few years' in a care home would very quickly swallow up any savings (particularly at £1000 a week over a number of years) so I'd investigate before jumping to any conclusions.

    Tagging Peridot for you as well xx
    “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


    • #3
      Thanks for your reply.

      He trusted his son but not his sons wife. We know however that this guy will do whatever his wife tells him to do. It was her that went around the house on the day of my grandmothers funeral putting labels with her name on on the things she wanted.

      I know the money would be quickly swallowed up and if it has all gone on his care then I will be glad. However not long after his house was sold for £300,000 he had been moved into an NHS home which was free, we were told this was because his home could no longer look after him. He also had a large pension being paid up until his death.

      There are various things that have happened over the years which we are now looking at in a different light and it is starting to look like this has been a long drawn out plat to take all his money.

      By the sound of it we need to track down his old will which I think my father has a copy of. Will the solicitor then be able to tell us whether it has been made null & void by a new one and what the new one says?

      Comment


      • #4
        If your father has a copy of the will it should say who your grandad wanted to apoint as executor. If your Uncle argues that will is not the latest will he will need to produce any subsequent will - unless he did a new one with the same solicitor then the solicitor wouldn't necessarily know if the will your father has still stands. But asking the question can't hurt. The solicitor may be ab;le to advise on getting the estate accounts etc as well.

        Specific legacies may fail if there is no estate left but it doesn't make the will 'null & void'.
        “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


        • #5
          Thanks, we will contact the solicitor that made the original will and take it from there.

          I'm worried that my grandfather was taken to make out a new will without him realising what he was doing when he was not in sound mind. There was a point where my uncle did anything he could to stop us going to see him and would rush round if he found out we were there. I remember being told I had to leave as he was too ill. Didn't make sense at the time as he seemed ok.

          Comment


          • #6
            What I don't really understand is how the will is affected by the joint bank account.

            My grandfather has just died so surely even if the will was changed and my uncle was made the only beneficiary that would only come into effect after he died? He is saying they set up a joint bank account to make it easier to pay for his care. If he has been taking my grandfathers money out of that before his death then does the will even come into it?

            Also I have just been told his pension was £250 per week so that should have taken care of his care home fees.

            Comment


            • #7
              Any monies in the joint account will pass by the rule of survivorship to the surviving account holder and don't form part of the estate. So if your Uncle and Grandad had a joint account then any monies in there will remain with your Uncle, unless you argue that your grandad put all his money in the joint account, solely for ease for using to pay his care fees and it was intended to be part of his estate rather than pass to your Uncle. If your Unbcle put no money into the account and it wasn't truely a joint account it can be challenged. Have a read https://www.ibblaw.co.uk/insights/bl...-intention-key
              “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


              • #8
                Hi Felix the Cat,
                I think Amethyst has basically covered the points you needed. The issue of the joint account is where I think the problem lies. The Will is not null and void (unless it has been defaced but even then it may not be void) Assuming the Will stands if all property had been previously sold and proceeds placed in a joint account, that is where the problem lies.
                i would recommend obtaining some face to face legal advice on this as there are strict time limits for bringing claims. Consider the link Amethyst posted above and maybe look at getting a free half hour or reduced fee initial appointment with a contested probate specialist so you know what options you may have.
                It would be useful to write down a timeline of the facts, so you can make best use of any appointment time.
                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


                • #9
                  Thanks,

                  The issue is my father was talked into signing a form giving power of attorney to my uncle. We all live a long way from where he was in care except the uncle and he convinced my father into signing for form as it would make it easier rather my father having to travel down to sign forms etc. This was some years ago so along with the fact that his money was going into a joint account with the uncle we cannot get access to anything.

                  We were under the impression that when he moved to palliative care a few years ago the cost was taken up by the NHS. I'm not sure where my father got this from as my own research suggests this would not be the case. Unless my uncle had in some way hidden the real amount that belonged to my grandfather (the uncle had no money of his own).

                  The main issue for us isn't that we want anything but that the uncle is now telling us there is no money left even for a funeral. This seems terrible for someone. that worked hard all his life, had lots of savings and a nice house. If it all went on paying for his care then that is good but from my own research he should have stopped paying for care when his savings were down to £23250. So there should be at least that for his funeral. We have tried to get a statement from the home but they just refuse and say we have to go through my uncle as he has power of attorney. Obviously he is not telling us anything other than there is nothing left.

                  My father is going to contact the solicitor who made the will. Do they have any kind of duty to trace allocation of funds and payments made to the care home?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Power of Attorney doesn't survive after death.

                    Any idea who your grandad put as executor in his will ? The executor should be able to obtain the accounts from the care home as part of dealing with the estate.

                    The solicitors who drew up the Will may have a copy of it. Unless they were also appointed executors of the Will they have no duty to look at the estate though.
                    “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


                    • #11
                      Interesting. He is going to get his copy of the will today so we should find out who the executor of the will is.

                      Thanks

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        He has the original will which goes back some years and he is named as joint executor.

                        Apparently the form he signed was not power of attorney but called a codicil.

                        The original solicitor died and another firm has taken them over but they have confirmed they have the will on their books and will look into it.
                        Last edited by felixthecat; 6th June 2019, 10:36:AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hmmm ok, that's normally an amendment/addition to the Will - you'll be wanting a copy of that - it's nothing to do with managing affairs while still alive..., The care home seemed to think there was a power of attorney in place so that wants investigating too. I think you can check with the office of the public guardian whether there was a poa in place.

                          So your Dad and Uncle are joint executors ?

                          Find out what you can and hopefully Peridot will pop back on later with sensible advice ( although once youve gathered the info I think a sit down with a contentious probate solicitor might be wise to check your options )
                          “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


                          • #14
                            Yes, he is going to arrange a meeting with the solicitor that has the will.

                            He remembers signing the codicil and asked the solicitor at the time 'Am I signing away my inheritence here?' to which the soliitor told him it was just to make things easier in terms of care. We need to see that form though to see what it says.

                            Yes, they are joint executors in the original will. Unless there was another will made at some point but surely either my father or the original solicitors would have been informed? Anyway my uncle never mentioned another will, just that the original will was null and void because all the money was in the joint account.

                            Could there be a power of attorney without my father agreeing to it?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi again,
                              A codicil operates similar to a Will and is not actionable until the person has died.
                              As far as a power of attorney being in operation without your grandfathers knowledge, was he suffering with dementia or did he have full capacity to make his own decisions?
                              He would have to have had capacity to create a power of attorney or a will or codicil for that matter. If he did not have capacity the only way to have an attorney would be through a previous document that had been prepared either an Enduring PoA or a Lasting PoA both of which would have to be registered. If he had lost capacity then an application to the Court of Protection would have been necessary for someone to be appointed his deputy (who then acts in his best interests effectively as an attorney).
                              There is definitely some digging needed and contacting the Office of the Public Guardian May be sensible to see if there were any registered PoA in place (if he no longer had capacity) and his solicitor to see if a standard PoA allowing specific actions to be taken by an attorney while he had capacity. The Office of the Public Guardian details can be found here:- https://www.gov.uk/report-concern-about-attorney-deputy
                              Just to be clear any attorney appointment occurs during he lifetime and ends on death. Wills and codicil stake effect after death and not before.
                              Very sensible to be getting some face to face advice on this one. Here if we can give any more pointers.
                              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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