You and the Law – 8th September 2009

Marrying money

My son-in-law died recently. I understand that my grand-daughter may be entitled to her father’s share of the estate left by her paternal grandfather when he dies.

How would my grand-daughter, or my daughter on her behalf, go about making such a claim following his death? AB

Your question seems slightly premature. If your son-in-law’s father doesn’t leave a Will, then the share that would have passed to his son will now pass to his issue – your grand-daughter –  if he had no other children.

However, if his estate is sizeable enough to worry about, the chances are that he has made a Will, and will probably update it now his son has died. In that case, he can leave his money and property as he chooses.

If your granddaughter was left out she would only be able to make a successful claim on his estate if he was supporting her financially at the time of his death.

Cut off by contractors

I am a tenant and last year storage heaters were fitted in my flat. When the contractors left, my phone wasn’t working so I called out BT, who charged me £70 to repair the fault. They said the contractors had damaged the wire.

I have refused to pay the BT bill but the contractors deny responsibility. They say BT were to blame because the wire was laid under the carpet so they couldn’t see it. Who is responsible for paying the bill? SH

You asked BT to come out to repair the fault, so you must pay the bill.

However, assuming the storage heaters were fitted by a firm working for your landlord, it’s possible that he will be able to recover the money on your behalf from the contractors, since the contractors would be expected to make ‘reasonable’ checks for wires and pipes underneath carpets and floorboards before cutting and drilling.

Your landlord could make a claim against the contractors in the County Court but it’s hardly worth it for the amount of money.

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