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Half siblings knew I existed but never informed aunt - will should have been divided 4 ways

  • 24-11-2022 1:21pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 664 ✭✭✭ Hannaho


    I have a strange situation in that my dad's first wife died, and he married again. There are 3 children from first marriage - the youngest is 16 years older than me. My dad was the black sheep of the family so not much contact with his siblings. I grew up with my mum and dad alone. My half-siblings stayed with their grandfather in Dublin. I have had contact with my half-siblings over the years, but not now. One of them was my godmother. They would never introduce me to any of my dad's family, saying they were cold, not nice etc. although they talked often about being left money by an aunt who had no children. In August, I managed to contact a first cousin on my dad's side through family history, he told me that my dad's sister, who my half siblings had never told that I existed, had given each of her nieces a share of her estate, with a third of her estate to go to my father's children - so the estate went to my three half siblings but was not divided 4 ways as it should have been as I am also a niece to my aunt that died. Is there anything I can do about this now?



Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,302 ✭✭✭ seagull


    You'd need to find the exact wording of the will. If it named the other 3, you have no claim. If it just said a third to your father's children, then you should have received a share of that portion.



  • Registered Users Posts: 23,574 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    If you know the name and date of death of your aunt, you should be able to get from the Probate Office of the High Court a copy of any grant of probate that was taken out when she died and a copy of her will would be attached.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,716 ✭✭✭ 3DataModem


    Seek legal advise asap. There are time limits for contesting wills, that vary depending on the reason for contesting.

    Step 1: Get a copy (easy to do, and anyone can do it)

    Step 2: Contact solicitor

    The executor is PERSONALLY liable for any failure to correctly distribute the proceeds, even if they didn't know about you. They have to have made every attempt to find potential beneficiaries.



  • Registered Users Posts: 865 ✭✭✭ Pinoy adventure


    Get a copy of the will.

    have your solicitor examine it.



  • Registered Users Posts: 333 ✭✭ Happyhouse22


    Chances are it doesn’t say a third to his children. Much more likely to name them individually. Would be weird to leave something to someone you have never met.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 23,574 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    Not at all. Would be quite common to leave a stated sum, e.g., to "my brother Happyhouse22, if he survives me, and to his children in equal shares if he does not survive me". You don't name his children because then you'll have to make a new will every time he has another child, or risk cutting out his youngest child, which presumably you don't want to do.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,302 ✭✭✭ seagull


    My grandmother's will had a clause leaving an amount to each grandchild and great-grandchild. No need to include names. The whole point is that the intention of the instruction needs to be clear.



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,574 ✭✭✭ Loueze


    My Mother's Will mentioned each of her children by name. She was in her 60s when she made it, so not much chance of her having more kids at that stage! Grandkids weren't named.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,617 ✭✭✭ Claw Hammer


    It is sensible to name beneficiaries and make sure they are properly identified. Some things were done in the past because illegitimate children could not inherit and there wasn't much room for doubt. Now with illegitimate children, blended families of step children and their offspring it can be very messy if beneficiaries are not identified. A good solicitor would include married names "pet names" and other identifying information. many people are known by names other than the one on the birt cert and it can result in trouble when a gift to Mary results in someone known as Dolly all her life turning up and saying her name is Mary and she has the birth cert to prove it.

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/solicitor-expresses-regret-for-error-in-will-as-case-is-resolved-1.1272463



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  • Registered Users Posts: 11,195 ✭✭✭✭ snoopsheep




  • Registered Users Posts: 15,201 ✭✭✭✭ Donald Trump



    That argument is unlikely to hold much water. Whatever is written into the will would be difficult to defeat based on circumstances as briefly described.



  • Registered Users Posts: 9,723 ✭✭✭ Marcusm


    Not really; depending on the age of the aunt when the will was made it might very well include all issue of the sibling as that would obviate the need to update it regularly.



  • Registered Users Posts: 213 ✭✭ phildub


    They don't know that they were, they havnt seen the will.



  • Registered Users Posts: 213 ✭✭ phildub


    I disagree, it is my opinion that thebjudge will look at the intentions of the deceased. They never knew this person exosited so how would it be their intention for them to benifit.

    it's a massive risk for low reward considering a court case will eat into the estate and if they were to loose then they are left with costs.



  • Registered Users Posts: 15,201 ✭✭✭✭ Donald Trump


    Well your first obvious hurdle there is proving that she did not know there was another relative.


    Regardless it will come down to, prima facie, the wording of the will. After that you might be into some equitable arguments as regards something having being promised explicitly to some of the other beneficiaries.If the aunt said for it to be split equally between all her nieces and nephews, then that is what she intended. Especially in a general "just split it equally between them all" fashion. If it said "equally between |John's three children" when he had 3+hidden one, then it might go somewhere



  • Registered Users Posts: 213 ✭✭ phildub


    Well the half siblings van all swear affidavits that the aunt did not know of this other sibling. The poster could swear one that she did but they would be lying to the court. There would be no proof thebaunt knew her, no birthday cards, photos etc so balance of probability would fall agaisnt the OP imo.


    But that's the great thing about law, you can argue both sides all day. The answer us at what cost and for what benefit. Does the OP know how much 1/3 of the estate was and that now has to be split into 4.


    The OP mentioned that the siblings used to talk about this money but they don't talk anymore, id also be wondering about any statute of limitations barring them from taking a case in this area



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,730 ✭✭✭ Deeec


    Op do you know how much your half siblings got? - Is it worth the hassle?

    Also did your Aunt have other nieces and nephews - Did they get a share?

    As others have mentioned the wording of the will is what is important here so you need to check this out before you do anything.

    Also this needs to be said - your Dad is the problem here - Why didnt he let your Aunt know you existed - it wasnt the job of your half siblings to let your dads family know of your existence. You seem to have a chip on your shoulder re your half siblings when this anger should be towards your Dad for hiding you.



  • Registered Users Posts: 15,201 ✭✭✭✭ Donald Trump


    Nobody can swear as to what other people knew. They can only swear that they never discussed it with her.

    But you are right in that it can be argued til the cows come home and still not know.



  • Registered Users Posts: 23,574 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    If it it could be proven that the Aunt did not know of her nephew's existence, I do not think it follows that she would not have wished him to benefit. Had she known, she might have been appalled at the thought of her brother's child being excluded from the family in this way, and if she left a bequest to her brother's children it's a big assumption to read in the words "except the one whose existence they all conspire to ignore".



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  • Registered Users Posts: 664 ✭✭✭ Hannaho


    Hi! All, thanks for comments. My half-siblings are the ones who are at fault. They knew of my existence - one was my godmother, one, my children and I had contact with for several years, and the other one refused to acknowledge me at all. They always refused to introduce me to the rest of the family - I didn't know where the rest of the family, including our aunt lived. I met the aunt who died only once, and I was introduced by my first name, and I think the aunt presumed I was my half sibling's friend. When through family history I met other first cousins, they were really annoyed that my half siblings had kept my existence from them. The aunt's estate was worth 1.7million - a third when to the three children of my father - but of course there was a fourth - me! Then the rest went to all the other nieces and nephews.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,730 ✭✭✭ Deeec


    Your father kept you hidden. He is the one that didn't tell his siblings about you. You need to stop blaming your half siblings for your father's inadequacy - they are not at fault. Fault lies with your father soley on this whether you like it or not. You need to take off the rose tinted glasses.

    Now as regards your claim you need to determine the following:

    - you need to see a copy of the will and read the wording to determine if it just says your father's children rather than named individuals

    - who was the executors of your aunt's estate

    - how long ago was the estate distributed

    - is the amount worth chasing ( remember this could end up costing you money)

    - your half siblings may have played an active role in taking care of your aunt and morally deserve the share of her estate. Of course legally this doesn't come into it but it is worth your consideration. Presumably you had no part at all in your aunt's life.

    - don't do this just because of bitterness towards your half siblings. If all your dad's family fell out with him and most did not know about you well it does say alot. Remember there is always 2 sides to every story and you've presumably only heard your dad's side. You could end up hearing truths you are better off not hearing.

    - I'm assuming your dad is dead - did your half siblings receive anything from his estate. If they didn't, could your actions encourage them to start their own proceedings against his estate.

    Thread very carefully as this will be very emotive for all concerned. Please make sure it's worth it before you decide.

    Best of luck whichever way you decide to proceed.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,271 ✭✭✭ ittakestwo


    Out of curiosity did your aunt have three siblings ( one your father) and then left a third of her estate to each of her siblings or if dead that siblings children?


    If it was done like that then i disagree with the above saying you're not entitled to any morally. If your dad had out lived your aunt and then he died intestate you would have got the same share as the rest of his kid. So you have to find what the Will said and if it did say something to the effect of to be shared equally among your father's children without naming them then definitely you're entitled to a share whether you knew this aunt or not.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,617 ✭✭✭ Claw Hammer


    The intentions of the deceased can only be ascertained from the will itself. the court will not write a new will. If the will is clear as to which individuals are to benefit, that is the end of it. If the will specifies a class of individuals there might be an issue as to whether the o/p is a member of that class.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,617 ✭✭✭ Claw Hammer


    Extrinsic evidence is not admissible to aid in construing a will unless there is an ambiguity. Nobody can swear anything unless there is an ambiguity on the face of the will which must be resolved. Eg there are 2 nieces called Mary and there is a bequest to Red Mary. It would be admissible to lead evidence that one of the nieces had red hair and was known as Red Mary in the family.



  • Registered Users Posts: 15,201 ✭✭✭✭ Donald Trump



    Extrinsic evidence can be used to over-ride what is in the will. A person could establish an equitable entitlement to something based off relying on a promise to their detriment for example.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,806 ✭✭✭ Pissy Missy




  • Registered Users Posts: 5,617 ✭✭✭ Claw Hammer


    there are a few cases based on estoppel, which are very extreme. There can be no suggestion of anything like that here.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,302 ✭✭✭ seagull


    Have you managed to see a copy of the will?



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