In a recent High Court case a widow was awarded £80,000 from her brother-in-law’s inheritance following a dispute over property ownership. Here’s what happened.
Her husband has made a Will leaving his estate in full to her. However, after his death, there was a dispute concerning the family home that she had shared with him. The property was registered to her husband and his brother. It had been owned by their mother until she died in 2009, but it wasn’t clear whether the brothers held the property as joint tenants or as tenants-in-common.
When someone dies, a personal representative (PR) is appointed to manage their estate (money, property, and possessions). If the PR is named in their Will, they are known as the executor. Part of a PR’s role is to close any bank accounts, but sometimes this isn’t straightforward and there can be several challenges.
Claudia Lawrence, a chef at York University, went missing in 2009. In these circumstances the rule is that someone will be presumed dead when they have been missing for seven or more years.
Claudia’s father, Peter, Kevin Hollinrake MP, and the charity Missing People, campaigned for this rule to be changed. They argued that the family and friends of a missing person should be able to deal with their property and financial affairs before seven years have passed.