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2 wills but only received bequest from 1

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  • 2 wills but only received bequest from 1

    Hi, just wondering if anyone could give some advice?

    What would happen if there was a husband and wife with some joint and some separate assets and separate, although mirror, wills. In both wills you were due to receive a set amount. The wife dies and you arenít notified you are in the will and donít receive anything. A few months later the husband dies and this time the executors do inform you are in the will and you receive your bequest, but only of the amount laid out in his will. Am I right in thinking that you would be due to receive the bequest left in both wills? Or is it different because there are joint assets to consider?
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  • #2
    If you were due to receive a specific bequest from each estate, that is what you should have received unless the wills contained a contrary clause.
    Unless of course the first will leaves everything to the surviving partner, and only on the subsequent death do the other specific legacies get paid.

    Perhaps post up the wording of both wills as until then we can't be certain¬* what they actually say or
    Ask the executors of the wife where your legacy is, and perhaps remind them that if payment is delayed for over 12 months interest is payable.


    • #3
      Thank you for your reply. The reason I ask is that Iíve been looking into contesting my grandadís will (my dad pre-deceased my grandparents) and from that my solicitor mentioned the possibility of a mirror will for my grandma, which we were probably never told about. From what I now know about grandad's will and that both grandparents said they had wills I suspect they might be right.

      The executors also said something odd when they informed us of his bequest in that it was actually from grandma and grandad didnít leave us anything, even though his will says he did. I think both wills would've been changed at the same time and I can't see any contrary clauses or anything that says it's only to be paid out upon both deaths. I guess there could've been in grandma's but they were both ill so obviously couldn't have known she would die first. I didn't think to question any of this before as I assumed we would've been told about another will but now I'm not so sure.

      Iíve posted the parts that mention the legacies to check the wording, am I right in thinking if this other will does exist we would be due the same? The executor would have been my grandad and I don't want to ask the executors of his will (also the main beneficiaries) as due to all this we're no longer in contact and I don't trust them anyway! My solicitor mentioned writing to the solicitors who drafted this will but I understand they are under no obligation to tell me anything or to show me a copy of the other will, if there is one.
      Attached Files


      • #4
        Have you looked to see if your grandmother's will is recorded here:¬*https://www.gov.uk/search-will-probate

        IF they were exact mirrors and IF there are no other conditions or clauses it would seem you should have inherited £1000 from your grandmother.
        If that is correct I wonder if it is even¬* worth trying to obtain it.

        You mention¬* both grandparents were ill, but your grandfather was the executor of your grandmother's will.
        Would he have been capable of acting as executor?


        • #5
          Thank you again Des8. Yes, I checked and it looks like it never went through probate.

          I assume he would have been executor as she was named as his but there's a chance it could have been my aunt and uncle. If it was my grandfather I think he would have been capable as he didn't get very ill until just before he died. Although it's hard to know for sure as we were living overseas and kept in the dark about a lot by our aunt and uncle.

          I should point out my grandmother died in 2014, is there a time limit for pecuniary legacies? I wish I'd known all this at the time! It's only recently that I've been looking into everything, when I sought legal advice back then about my grandfather's will I was told there was nothing we could do as it had already been through probate (although assets hadn't yet been distributed).

          From speaking to extended family about all this it also seems that my grandma was also an executor of another will where money was left to my dad after he died but she never told us. This was some years ago though, probably about 25.

          There are 3 of us that would be due to receive the additional £1000, if there is a mirror will and no other clauses or conditions. I know you said it might not be worth it but if we were to pursue it what would be our next steps and could we do it ourselves?


          • #6
            Your first step will be to locate your grandmother's will, as without that everything is pure speculation.
            From your solicitor mentioning the possibility of a will, to actually finding one on which to initiate litigation is quite a jump
            If there was no will your Grandfather (assuming the estate was relatively modest) would probably have inherited everything.

            Pecuniary legacies should be paid within 12 months of the testator's death.¬*
            After that interest (very minimal rate!) is payable on the legacy.

            It is possible to conduct contentious litigation yourself, but do be aware the other side might use solicitors and if you lose there could be cost implications.
            Contentious litigation is expensive, and it is a fallacy that costs are always borne by the estate


            • #7
              Thanks Des8, yes I understand this merely speculation at this point and that even if there is a will finding it and then getting to see it will be a challenge in itself! If I write to the solicitors that dealt with my grandfather's estate to ask if they have a copy of a will for my grandmother and if we are named in it do they have to tell us?

              I don't think her estate was modest, both grandparents were independently wealthy and never spent a penny! There's a good chance it was worth a lot more than £250,000.


              • #8
                If there is a will, and if a grant of probate has not been obtained, the will remains a private document and the only person with a right to read it is the executor.
                This means that even if the solicitor has the will he cannot release it (or a copy) to you without the express permission of the executor


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