Q: My ex-husband’s father said he would leave money to my nineteen-year-old daughter when he died. A year after his death, nothing has appeared. My daughter’s father and uncle were the executors of the Will and her uncle continues to live in her grandfather’s house. I have approached my ex-husband, but he refuses to discuss it with me. Can I get a copy of the Will? And if it shows the old man’s wishes were not carried out, what can I do to ensure my daughter gets what is due to her?
A: When someone dies, the executors of their Will must apply to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Probate. Once Probate has been granted the Will is retained by the Probate Registry and a copy is available to any member of the public. You can obtain a copy either by requesting a standing search be carried out by the Probate Registry, on payment of a small fee, or by going to the Probate Registry and doing a general search yourself for free if the person died more than twelve months previously.
If you find your daughter had been left money that has been withheld by the executors there are steps that you can take to action her entitlement. If your daughter has been left a cash legacy in the Will, she will also be entitled to claim interest on the unpaid legacy once 12 months following the date of death has passed.
It may also be that as the uncle is still living in his father’s property, he should be paying rent into the deceased’s estate. Clearly from what you say it is unlikely that your ex-husband and his brother are going to hand anything over without a fight. You should therefore seek legal advice. By going through a solicitor, it is also likely to achieve a less confrontational outcome for your daughter.