Left out of Will – Probate Questions.
Left out of Will: I wonder if you can help.
My aunt died last January. She was the wife of my mother’s brother who died in 2003.
My family including my mother are apparently not in my aunt’s will and we were not informed of her death. We found out a few months later and contacted the executor. We did not know of her death and therefore were not informed of her funeral. We were in contact with my aunt and I saw her a couple of times a year.
The estate i.e. a house in Chelsea, London was left to a family friend of my aunt’s (he is the executor and claimed not to be able to contact us – I know my phone number is in my aunt’s address book). He has been evasive about the inheritance and the contents of the house. He has said at one point that my aunt said that contents were to be left to family and friends but we have not been included. I had to – and it was so embarrassing – scrabble for things that belonged to my grandfather (my mother’s father) and for family photographs. It was difficult getting to say goodbye to a house that we loved as children.
The executor has been unhelpful to say the least. Are we entitled as a family – my mother and siblings to dispute any part of the will?
I am still unclear about what was meant about contents being left to family and friends – there would have been sentimentally valuable and possibly other pieces of art from 1960s London. Are we entitled to find out more and if so how?
Probate Answer: Left out of Will.
I am very sorry: unfortunately there is no requirement for a Will to be fair, or for an executor to be thoughtful or courteous. Indeed, the executor could be at fault in allowing you to have anything at all if the Will does not provide that you should.
I am afraid, in the absence of some other factors such as undue influence, the only right you have is to obtain a copy of the Will from the Probate Registry after the grant of probate has been issued.
It does not seem likely that you have any grounds to contest the Will on the information you have given.