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Unscrupulous Nephew?


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In January our stepmother died leaving all her money and moveable goods to her nephew. Our father predeceased her and had left the property to myself and my two sisters, with the proviso that our stepmum could live in the property until her death. I was away when my father died 15 years ago but his will only went to probate 8 years ago when it suddenly 'turned up' when our stepmum wanted to make her will. The nephew had come from Poland in 1981, 7 years after our dad married his wife - there was no animosity between us, we chose her!

On dad's death the nephew gradually became a more frequent visitor. This was because he lived close by and claimed incapacity/disability benefit thus having the free time. Later he was given money 'claimed' for by mum to assist in weekly care. He did some shopping for her, household repairs and renovations and gardening for her, in addition to collecting her pension but was frequently away working as a restaurant fitter or holidaying in Greece with his girlfriend.

Because our mum died with c. diff. complications there was a delay in the funeral and there was also to be an inquest. We decided to all have a meeting at our mums house to discuss the will and the way forward. The nephew had been give £5000 cash he said, for the funeral expenses (she kept this hidden in a back room), though he did not contribute to the stone or grave. He brought out a will which we read, leaving all her property/moneys to himself and said no probate was needed as all was less than £5,000 and that he had been told this by the solicitor ( the same one as our dad's).

Later thing turned nasty when we asked for a few items which were ours as children to be given back - he had gone ahead before the burial and sold/taken what he couldfrom the house despite what we thought was an agreement to wait until after the burial. He deemed some of our items 'antiques', our mum and dad were ordinary workers, nothing of antiquity there. He then went on to accuse myself of stealing the English and Polish money plus the 'gold', hidden in the house. We did not have a key until a week after our meeting and by then he had been selling what he could (still before the funeral). We later found out that he removed the jewellery she was wearing in the coffin, including her wedding ring (which he had tried to remove before she died). It was then that the girlfriend resurfaced - they had pretended that their relationship was off - she acted as interpreter for him, placator etc.

Later on, when I was clearing out what was left I came across a statement of savings from 1998, in 2 accounts, totalling about £10,000. I contacted the building society who told me that the account was closed and that the nephew had withdrawn all money. He also took out her pension the day after she died and the week following, but i believe they are asking for it back.

Should the will have gone to probate? Given that he was claiming benefit was there anything he should have declared? something niggles...

We had the inquest last week where, with his girlfriend he represented himself as 'the family'. We asked for details of the inquest so we could attend and requested that we be noted as the daughters of her husband. Even though the inquest related to the death in hospital the nephew then brought up his belief that the community care was inadequate - this was not relatable to the inquest and was dismissed. I feel he was angling after compensation. Any comments?

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