You and the Law – 23rd March 2010

Family rift

 After my grandmother died, my aunt stayed on in the family home until her death last year.  Since my grandmother had four children it had been assumed that she had arranged it so my aunt could stay in the house during her lifetime, after which the property would be divided among the rest of the family.

This now appears not to have been the case.  The whole estate has gone to one of the grandchildren, which has caused a family rift.  We don’t believe this was my grandmother’s intention, but her Will cannot be found. How can we get a copy?  DB

There must have been a Will if the entire estate went to one family member.
Although it’s possible your grandmother signed over the house to your aunt while she was alive, the rest of her cash and property would have been distributed among her family when she died if she hadn’t made a Will.

The fact that your cousin has received everything on the death of your aunt would confirm this.  You can either search for the Will and Grant of Probate at the District Probate Registry, or write to the York Sub-Registry, which handles postal inquiries. There’s a small charge.

Name change

I’ve been divorced and I want to drop my married name and either revert to my maiden name or take a new surname.  What are the formalities and legalities connected with this?  GA

If you just wish to go back to using your maiden name you shouldn’t need to do anything other than contact people like your bank and the DWP informing them of the change.  They may wish to see your divorce certificate.

If you want to adopt a new surname you will probably need a change of name deed, drawn up by a solicitor, although for everyday purposes you can ask people to call you by whatever name you choose.

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