Intestate and no family

Discussion in 'Wills, inheritances and gifts' started by fraggle, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. fraggle

    fraggle Frequent Poster


    My wife gradually became friends with an elderly man in our town.

    The man was 80 when she met him, and over time she used to visit him in his house as he became less mobile. Over the years they developed into a close bond. The man has no family. I believe his mother died in 1972 and he has been alone since then.

    Over the last 15 years she has done a lot for him. Visiting him, making his meals, shopping, washing etc. My wife is a genuine person and was not doing any of this for any gain.

    As the years went by she has gone above-and-beyond. She used to find him lying on the floor after falling during the night, and she would wash him and get medical help. She had improvements made to his (council) housing. She got extra home help arranged. She was a good friend.

    Eventually he had too many falls and the health services wanted him put into a home. With no family my wife was put down as next of kin. She managed to get him into a local home.

    During all this time, she has had official authority to manage his money. She has records for every penny she spent. She is acting as next-of-kin for the home and hospitals etc but I do not believe this has been done through any legal method. There was no solicitor involved.

    Sadly, the man died recently. She organised the funeral and all the logistics around the nursing home. She has lost access to his bank account but arrangements have been made to pay the funeral home.

    In the 15 years we have known him there has never been any family member on the scene, and there is no will that we know of (I am 99.99% sure he would not have a will) so I am wondering what to do with the funds in his account. There would be a reasonable amount.

    My wife will under no circumstances make any approaches that would make it seem like she wants what is there. However, I would like to better understand the situation in case it is plain that she is able to get it.

    - If he died intestate it goes to next of kin. My wife has been acting as next of kin. Is this enough or does it need to be 'legal'?
    - If she is 'next of kin' does there still need to be a search for distant blood relatives?
    - Who kicks off the Grant of Administration/Next of Kin search? Can anybody who thinks they might be related do it? Is it up to us?

    In the past he has said to her verbally that she can have his money but he would not have been aware of how much was in his account etc and obviously that has no legal standing. I just would like my wife to be able to get it if all is above board as he would have had no problem with her having it, and she would put it to good use.

    If we do nothing, and nobody else comes forward, then after 15 years it goes to the state. We don't really have a problem with this as he has lived off the state for a long time.

    If we kick off something, then somebody might be found and they will get it.... or nobody will be found and then does she get it, or what would she have to do?

    She is the type that will probably do nothing even if there is a chance she can get it, but I would just like to understand what is what a bit better. I could go to a solicitor but even that makes her feel uncomfortable about it!

  2. Monbretia

    Monbretia Frequent Poster

    Having watched a million of those UK Heir Hunter programmes I'd say the chances of your wife ever getting it are nil unless her name is actually on the bank accounts as a joint holder.

    There are firms who search for heirs, I am sure someone here will be able to give you the name of one, a quick google throws up a few possibilities.

    There are probably some distant relatives who will benefit even though they never knew the man but that's what happens!
  3. noproblem

    noproblem Frequent Poster

    I've seen your wife's situation to happen here in the West of Ireland a few times. It's always a pity the person wasn't advised/told to make a will, some are grateful for being told and will make the will, some won't but that's too late in your situation. The people I know did go to a solicitor, told them their journey and there was an advert put in papers looking for next of kin and all that, but not much more done outside of that. Only thing is, i've no idea what happened afterwards with the estate, I was never told and never asked which leaves me a tad suspicious the people involved may have been recipients of "something". Deserved if they did, just feel they may have but that's the only help I can give you. Good luck and I hope you and your wife are "lucky".
  4. thedaddyman

    thedaddyman Frequent Poster

    Following is the order of dispersal if someone dies intestate. This is from the Citizens Information Bureau
    If the deceased is survived by

    • spouse/civil partner but no children - spouse/civil partner gets entire estate
    • spouse/civil partner and children - spouse/civil partner gets two-thirds, one-third is divided equally between children (if a child has already died his/her children take a share)
    • parents, no spouse/civil partner or children - divided equally or entirely to one parent if only one survives.
    • children, no spouse/civil partner - divided equally between children (as above)
    • brothers and sisters only - shared equally, the children of a deceased brother or sister take the share
    • nieces and nephews only - divided equally between those surviving
    • other relatives - divided equally between nearest equal relationship
    • no relatives - the state
    Unless there is a will therefore and if no relatives can be found, it will all go to the state
  5. Vanilla

    Vanilla Frequent Poster

    Hi Fraggle,

    Your wife sounds like such a lovely person. She may not want to be compensated for all the work she has done, but she certainly may have a legal claim to be.

    She should consult a solicitor. There are three potential avenues that I am aware of to claim against your friend's estate. Maybe she does not want to, but would she prefer an undeserving very far removed relative profit or indeed the state or would she like her friend's wishes to be honoured- he did say she should have his funds.
  6. noproblem

    noproblem Frequent Poster

    got feedback for you about a similar situation like I mentioned in an earlier post. The person was advised by the solicitor to lodge with him a bill for their time including any expenses incurred. This was done and resulted in a sizeable amount of money being paid with no problem at all. They never found out what happened to the estate of the deceased person though.
  7. fraggle

    fraggle Frequent Poster

    Thanks for the replies.

    I'll have a think about it. I guess I might need to just visit a local solicitor and say this is what we have done.... we need advice on what to do with the remaining money.... and see what happens.
  8. amtc

    amtc Frequent Poster

    We had a family friend who died intestate last year aged 95. My mam, my uncle and his wife called every day. She had promised the house to my aunt who lives abroad, in writing. However with no will all went to her grand.niece