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Thread: Could my brothers contest my Will

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  1. #1
    kearney's Avatar

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    Default Could my brothers contest my Will

    Hi,

    I would like to know if any of my siblings are able to contest my Will. I am married with 3 adult children. I made a Will in 2001 stating all my assets transferred to my wife. Now one of my 5 brothers (second oldest) has said after both my wife and I have passed away the house that I own should be sold and proceeds divided amongst other brothers. Is this possible? Surely my estate will go to my children after we both have passed away.

    I also have my youngest brother living with my wife and I, after my wife and I have passed away we would like him to continue to live at my property, my children are aware of this and they agree. Is this legally possible?
    Last edited by kearney; 3rd October 2017 at 17:18:PM.

  2. #2
    Kati's Avatar

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    Default Re: Could my brothers contest my Will

    one for @Peridot maybe?? (I've tagged her) xx
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  3. #3
    Peridot's Avatar

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    Default Re: Could my brothers contest my Will

    Hi Kearney,
    In the event one of you passes away with no will your spouse will inherit the majority of the estate upto a value then the children receive a share of the remaining assets. On the passing of the survivor of you then the children again would inherit the estate in equal shares.
    If you have wills you can leave your estate to whoever you wish although if you had dependants they would have a potential claim against the estate if they were excluded from the Will.
    In the above scenarios unless you are financially supporting the brother who believes he will inherit he does not have a claim.

    I would suggest the most sensible option would be for you both to prepare wills leaving your estates to each other and then the children. You can include your wife's younger brother allowing him a right to live at the residential property until such time as particular events occurred eg he married or he passed away. Then the property would go to the children. You may need to get some advice about the implications on any inheritance tax that may be due from the estate in doing this but it is definitely a possibility for you and that way everyone you wish to benefit once you have both gone does so.
    I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I 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.

  4. #4
    kearney's Avatar

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    Default Re: Could my brothers contest my Will

    Thanks Peridot, your response makes sense to me, it’s what I assumed it to be.

    I am however confused about your response regarding my younger brother. From my understanding after both my wife and I have passed away the property will be inherited by my kids, since the property is around £300K my children would not pay IHT, even if my younger brother continues to live at the property it will essentially be owned by my kids? Is my understanding correct?

    So you think I should update my Will to include my children? At present I only have my wife included in my Will who will inherit my estate.


    Quote Originally Posted by Peridot View Post
    Hi Kearney,
    In the event one of you passes away with no will your spouse will inherit the majority of the estate upto a value then the children receive a share of the remaining assets. On the passing of the survivor of you then the children again would inherit the estate in equal shares.
    If you have wills you can leave your estate to whoever you wish although if you had dependants they would have a potential claim against the estate if they were excluded from the Will.
    In the above scenarios unless you are financially supporting the brother who believes he will inherit he does not have a claim.

    I would suggest the most sensible option would be for you both to prepare wills leaving your estates to each other and then the children. You can include your wife's younger brother allowing him a right to live at the residential property until such time as particular events occurred eg he married or he passed away. Then the property would go to the children. You may need to get some advice about the implications on any inheritance tax that may be due from the estate in doing this but it is definitely a possibility for you and that way everyone you wish to benefit once you have both gone does so.

  5. #5
    Peridot's Avatar

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    Default Re: Could my brothers contest my Will

    Hi Kearney,
    If you wish to protect both your children and your brother after both you and your wife have passed away I would strongly recommend including them in the Will. Just to make the intentions clear and to set out the conditions that your brother can remain at the property and his responsibilities while living there.

    From the sounds of it you wish that on the first death everything goes to each other, once both of you pass away then to the children, but you also want to allow your brother to live at the property for as long as he wishes or until certain situations arise? If this is the case you need to protect all the beneficiaries to ensure whatever happens they are able to stay in the property or inherit it ultimately. Yes your children would legally 'own' the property as trustees, but your brother needs protection too, with a right to remain living there.

    If the estate combined is not worth more than the Nil Rate Band allowance then there will not be IHT to pay. However if the property increased in value and any other assets tax the estate value to a higher level, so it was more borderline whether tax would be payable, then giving your brother a right to reside may affect whether the residential nil rate band allowance top up could be used. This is available to children and grandchildren only. It can get complicated so best to get some advice which should be part of the wills advice anyway.

    Hope that clarifies things?
    You also need to think who would be responsible for paying bills, maintaining the property and ensuring insurance is in place. All this can be dealt with under the Will and is not unusual.
    I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I 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.

  6. #6
    kearney's Avatar

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    Default Re: Could my brothers contest my Will

    Thanks very much Peridot, my main concern was that non of my other brothers have any claim on my estate because they all live separately with their families only my younger brother lives with me, so your answer did clarify this.

    I just want to let you know when my father passed away he made a wish not in his will but as a side note to all my brothers that the property “will go to” to myself and my younger brother after his death all my brothers signed this statement, but the fact is my name is on the house deeds from inception it was never in my Fathers name, can this statement “will go to” be questioned by the brother who wants to sell the property after my death?

  7. #7
    Peridot's Avatar

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    Default Re: Could my brothers contest my Will

    Hi again,
    So legally your father never owned the property? So when he passed away it was not part of his estate to be dealt with?
    Did your father have a Will and who did he leave his estate to?

    As I'm sure you're aware, a wish is not sufficient. However if the property was never his legally then it is also not his to 'leave' and would not have formed part of his estate. Is there a reason your brother's name is not on the deeds as well as yours?
    I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I 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.

  8. #8
    kearney's Avatar

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    Default Re: Could my brothers contest my Will

    Correct legally my father never owned the property, when I bought the property in early 70s it was only my name on the deeds, this was because I was the first one who came to UK from East Africa, all my siblings and parents came later on. When they did all arrive they were all living at the same property, then over the years they all moved out with their families with the exception of my parents my wife and younger brother.

    So to answer your question my Father did leave a Will and his estate did not include the property only money, his estate was distributed equally amongst all his children. This was in 1994. My second oldest brother has no right to tell me what happens to my property after my death.

    Now if I want to add my younger brother to the deeds this will obviously impact IHT? So is it best to just amend our wills like you suggested?

  9. #9
    Peridot's Avatar

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    Default Re: Could my brothers contest my Will

    So you paid mortgage bills etc for the duration of the ownership?

    I would recommend getting some advice on adding your brother and any ramifications of this. A property lawyer would be able to advise although many wills specialists will be able to give you an overview of any implications for you, your brother and the family. Of course if you put your brother onto the legal title, then he can do what he wants with his share of the property. Your wills need to ensure that those people you wish to be able to stay in the property after you have passed are protected.

    Provided the estate isn't valued over the nil rate band allowance or the potential transferable NRB allowance if you initially leave everything to your spouse then there should be no IHT to pay. It depends on your asset value (including the property).

    Do get some face to face advice to ensure that you have covered all the areas you need to, property ownership and what happens in the event you pass away.
    I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I 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.

  10. #10
    kearney's Avatar

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    Default Re: Could my brothers contest my Will

    When we were all living together everybody assisted with mortgage repayments hence the mortgage was paid off in 1986. Upon till today myself and younger brother pay household bills. My other siblings moved out late 70s. But surely if they made any financial contribution in the 70s they can't make a claim on that contribution today?

    I will seek face to face legal advice, but at least I now have some clarity.

  11. #11
    Peridot's Avatar

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    Default Re: Could my brothers contest my Will

    Doubtful they could have a claim, was checking what the circumstances were regarding the house and it's purchase and payment, in case they may have. Unless they could show with written proof that they had a beneficial interest in the property ie they funded major building projects at the property (and bearing in mind the length of time since they lived there) it is highly unlikely they would have any sort of claim.
    They have, I assume not contributed since and were not promised an interest at any timer from you and that have acted to their detriment upon, believing they would receive a beneficial interest in the property.
    As you can see there can be complications hence seeking face to face advise would be advisable.
    I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I 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.

  12. #12
    kearney's Avatar

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    Default Re: Could my brothers contest my Will

    No the other brothers never contributed to any ongoing house maintenance whilst they were living there in the 70s. All maintenance work was funded either by my father (whilst living) , younger brother and myself, plus they were not promised any share of the property.


    Thanks for your help in clarifying my query , I'll seek further legal advice face to face and get our Wills updated .

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