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Who gets it?

including wills and probate
staffordian
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Who gets it?

#232016

Postby staffordian » June 25th, 2019, 6:28 pm

I've just been reading a sad, but interesting case. Details might not be spot on, I did read it in the Daily Mail, after all...

An elderly couple were both found dead, from hypothermia in their home.

They had both been dead for several days when they were discovered, and experts were unable to say with any certainty on what day they died, let alone the time of death or which of them died first.

I assume there were no wills, as both the husband and the wife each had a daughter from a previous marriage, and both of these children have asked a judge to determine who died first. I assume, too, that the unfortunate couple had no children together, or at least none still living.

If the husband died first, the wife would have briefly inherited the jointly owned house, and it would then pass entirely to her daughter, and vice versa.

So, the first question in my mind is how can a judge determine something which medical experts can't?

Secondly, if there is an assumption in such cases that, for example, the older person died first, why would it go to court at all, unless one or other is being given duff advice?

And thirdly, is there any scope in a situation like this for a judge (or the two potential beneficiaries themselves) to say that they should have half each as a definite order of death is impossible to determine, so it should be assumed they died together?

I can see it becoming one of those classic cases where the only winners are their respective legal teams...

Lootman
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Re: Who gets it?

#232022

Postby Lootman » June 25th, 2019, 6:51 pm

staffordian wrote:And thirdly, is there any scope in a situation like this for a judge (or the two potential beneficiaries themselves) to say that they should have half each as a definite order of death is impossible to determine, so it should be assumed they died together?

With absolutely no legal knowlege to back it up, I'd say that that is the only fair and Solomon-like ruling that a judge should make, absent any evidence to the contrary.

Although I think this problem may have been indirectly caused by the couple not making wills that ensure that each offspring gets half, or else that each inherits from their blood-line parent.

staffordian
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Re: Who gets it?

#232024

Postby staffordian » June 25th, 2019, 7:01 pm

Lootman wrote:Although I think this problem may have been indirectly caused by the couple not making wills that ensure that each offspring gets half, or else that each inherits from their blood-line parent.


Absolutely agree, and I agree with your first paragraph too, but I wonder how much weight common sense has as far as the law is concerned...

JohnB
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Re: Who gets it?

#232035

Postby JohnB » June 25th, 2019, 7:25 pm

Look up Commorientes

https://uk.practicallaw.thomsonreuters.com/2-383-4021

If there are wills, the older one is deemed to have died first. If not, then if if the gap is less than 28 days then the brief survivor is deemed to have not survived.

AJC5001
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Re: Who gets it?

#232208

Postby AJC5001 » June 26th, 2019, 7:20 pm

JohnB wrote:Look up Commorientes

https://uk.practicallaw.thomsonreuters.com/2-383-4021

If there are wills, the older one is deemed to have died first. If not, then if if the gap is less than 28 days then the brief survivor is deemed to have not survived.


If there are wills, the older one is deemed to have died first.

This is however overridden by a 'survivorship clause' in the Will. Mine says my wife only inherits if she survives me by seven days or more. I've seen 30 days suggested elsewhere.

If not, then if the gap is less than 28 days then the brief survivor is deemed to have not survived.

See also https://www.thomasguise.co.uk/intestacy-dying-without-will-husband-wife-dying-accident/ which says:-
"The position is materially different if given the tragic accident where both parties die and are married but both are intestate i.e. they have not made a Will at the date of their death. The rule that the elder survives the younger is not imposed. If it is not possible given these circumstances to establish who survived then neither spouse will take an interest in the estate of the other i.e. the husband’s property on death will fall to go to his children or other relatives and the spouse will likewise devolve her property to her children.
The only slight amendment to this rule is that if the husband and wife have the tragic accident and say the husband dies and the wife survives by more than 28 days and both parties have not made a Will i.e. intestate then the wife in this example will take the estate of her husband."

This would imply that in this case, as the time between last known alive and discovery is less than 28 days, the families inherit from their respective parent.
As there is nothing in the newspaper articles I've seen that suggests there being any Wills, or any indication of how the £300,000 estate was owned, it is impossible to know how much either family would inherit.
Given that I've found this just from searching the web, it is possible that there is more to it when subjected to a proper investigation by a judge. It will be interesting to see what the final decision will be.

Adrian

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Re: Who gets it?

#232792

Postby AF62 » June 29th, 2019, 8:09 pm

Given that the children let their parents die of hypothermia, I rather hope the judge decides that none of them get anything.

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Re: Who gets it?

#232797

Postby Garless » June 29th, 2019, 8:52 pm

AF62 wrote:Given that the children let their parents die of hypothermia, I rather hope the judge decides that none of them get anything.


That seems a bit harsh. My parents lived a 4 hour round trip drive from where I worked, single child. We phoned up each week but that could easily be too late if they were still living independently. Did neighbours not notice anything or does our selfish country not care for elderly neighbours?

AF62
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Re: Who gets it?

#233788

Postby AF62 » July 3rd, 2019, 9:30 pm

Garless wrote:
AF62 wrote:Given that the children let their parents die of hypothermia, I rather hope the judge decides that none of them get anything.


That seems a bit harsh. My parents lived a 4 hour round trip drive from where I worked, single child. We phoned up each week but that could easily be too late if they were still living independently. Did neighbours not notice anything or does our selfish country not care for elderly neighbours?


So set up remote monitoring of the thermostat, set the thermostat to the 'granny' setting where it can't be set below a certain level, make contact with the neighbours and ask if they could keep an eye, pay someone to keep an eye, phone them, etc, etc, etc.

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Re: Who gets it?

#233955

Postby Garless » July 4th, 2019, 2:16 pm

AF62 wrote:
Garless wrote:
AF62 wrote:Given that the children let their parents die of hypothermia, I rather hope the judge decides that none of them get anything.


That seems a bit harsh. My parents lived a 4 hour round trip drive from where I worked, single child. We phoned up each week but that could easily be too late if they were still living independently. Did neighbours not notice anything or does our selfish country not care for elderly neighbours?


So set up remote monitoring of the thermostat, set the thermostat to the 'granny' setting where it can't be set below a certain level, make contact with the neighbours and ask if they could keep an eye, pay someone to keep an eye, phone them, etc, etc, etc.


That is also harsh. Parents did not own flat so can not change thermostat, paid their own carers as saving over the council limit. Care home called ambulance several times as they did not have overnight nursing cover. And that was a good care home, how thay would have managed if still living alone I do not know.


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