Two will problem
November 7, 2012 4:38 PM   Subscribe

A family member died. There exist two wills, one of which probably revokes the other - each was written in a separate jurisdiction (England, and Ireland). The solicitor of the later will is unwilling to release it to us. What are our next steps?

My father died unexpectedly nearly 6 months ago. The majority of his estate is in England, which is where he was resident and domiciled. A small part - land and a bank account - was in Ireland, where he has family connections.

His English solicitor drew up a will in England for him once his divorce was finalised. It leaves all his estate to be split equally between his children, with three of us named as executors. Later, when he acquired the Irish property his Irish solicitor drew up a will for him in Ireland. It leaves all his estate to be split equally between his children, with two of us named as executors.

The Irish will has the phrase 'revoking all other wills and testamentary depositions at anytime heretofore made by me'. When I explained this to the probate people in England, they said that probably means that it revokes the English will and so we must use the Irish will for probate in England and in Ireland (it doesn't matter on the order). The Irish court system says that we can apply for probate in Ireland using the grant of probate in England. So we want to do that.

The complication is that dad's Irish solicitor is essentially refusing to release the will to us, the executors. They believe that it only applies to the part of the estate in Ireland, although there is nothing in the will that makes any reference to only applying to one country.

WTF do we do now? We have a copy of the Irish will (not good enough for probate). We have the original of the English will. We want to apply for probate asap. How can we definitively work out which will is valid where? Do we need to speak to an English solicitor, an(other) Irish solicitor, or both? Do we need a specialist type of solicitor? Can we insist that as executors we receive the will?

Aside from not having the Irish will, we are ready to apply for probate.
posted by plonkee to Law & Government (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If the probate people in England are telling you to use the Irish will, why are you trying to get around that?
My cynical paranoid conspiracy theory (based on a friend's experience) is that there is something really fishy going on with the Irish solicitor, perhaps something to do with the Irish family connections.
And is the 3rd sibling who is not an executor in the 2nd will ok with the situation?
posted by anon4now at 5:05 PM on November 7, 2012

Best answer: Another Irish solicitor, a good one from a big firm that handles this kind of thing regularly. It's super common in Ireland for people to have assets in multiple countries and Irish law is weird and you need good advice here.

The solicitor may be right, as far as I can tell my parents Irish will just ignores the existence of the rest of the world, but they aren't handling this well if you're turning to the internet for answers so get a new one.

Btw, land ownership and inheritance in Ireland cam run a little differently than other places so be prepared for that.
posted by fshgrl at 5:06 PM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

If the probate people in England are telling you to use the Irish will, why are you trying to get around that?

Doesn't sound like he is. Sounds like he's trying to get the original of the Irish will so that he can use it in England.

You mention that 3 of you are executors of the english will and 2 of the Irish will. Is the 2 a subset of the 3, or 2 different people? Surely the irish lawyer would give the will to someone that was named in the will itself as the executor?

I don't know anything about law, much less law over there, but if the Irish guy is the one giving you trouble, seems like you need an Irish lawyer.
posted by RustyBrooks at 6:43 PM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also, and this seems a bit odd to me - if both wills specify for it to be split equally between the children, does it really matter? Is the English court insisting you bring in the Irish will?
posted by RustyBrooks at 6:45 PM on November 7, 2012

Response by poster: The 2 executors in the Irish will are a subset of the 3 in the English will. We are all also beneficiaries plus there is a 4th beneficiary - all 4 are dad's kids and next of kin. None of us dispute either will.

We have asked the solicitor to release the will to the executors. Their reply is that we don't need it yet.
posted by plonkee at 12:20 AM on November 8, 2012

you need to secure your own Irish Solicitor, preferably one of the big FU probate firms like IrwinMitchell to sort out that sorry excuse. Sounds like he's trying to milk the situation tbh.
They do a freephone line that may clear things up before you have to pay anything (don't know if it works from UK)
best of luck, all you need is dollops of patience for the stupid and the greedy that comes out of a situation like this and count your blessings that it is not coming from the family side!
posted by Wilder at 3:37 AM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am in the U.S. My answer here would include the advice to retain another lawyer, but would also mention that probate proceedings could be initiated and the judge could be asked to order that the will be produced.

In my state, a person in possession of the will of a decedent is required to turn it over to the probate court pronto (to use a technical legalism) even if no one is asking.
posted by yclipse at 4:40 AM on November 8, 2012

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