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The law when someone dies

(46 Posts)
endlessstrife Fri 06-Dec-19 16:08:35

Does anyone know whether there is a legal obligation to let a daughter know when her mother has died, if there is estrangement? I’m assuming I’m no longer in the Will, which is fine, but I’d still like to know, I suppose, because then I can just put it to rest. Thank you.

TrendyNannie6 Fri 06-Dec-19 16:22:07

I’m not sure that there is a legal obligation I certainly know of two cases where two members of dif family’s weren’t told as the person that died had written their wishes down stating that both persons were not to be informed

Davidhs Fri 06-Dec-19 16:29:23

There is no legal obligation I’m sure, it is customary to put a notice in the local news paper. As far as funeral arrangement are concerned if no other family member takes it on the executor will do it and notify close family. Even if you are estranged, at least go to the funeral.

Sometimes a solicitor or a bank are nominated as executors this can prove very expensive, if nobody can be found I guess the local authority do what is needed.

Nannarose Fri 06-Dec-19 16:47:16

Sorry you are in this situation.
As I understand it, there is no obligation to tell anyone, other than the Registrar about a death (obviously an Executor has to inform anyone mentioned in a will)
However, the fact of a death is a matter of public record, and you can access those. I am unsure of the exact process, but gov.uk has information.

SueSocks Fri 06-Dec-19 17:04:22

I was estranged from my mother, my sister informed me of her death, it was also in the local papers although I am no longer in the same area so would not have seen it- happened about 10 years ago. Earlier this year my brother in law (husbands side of the family) died unexpectedly, it was only announced on facebook & as I am not on facebook we didn't get to hear about it,until an aquaintance told me. I think it depends on the family as to how and who they tell.

Another poster has suggested that you go to the funeral. I thought long and hard about going to my estranged mothers funeral, my inclination was not to go. A close friend/colleague and my DH persuaded me to go, I wish I hadn't. Nothing that was said had any resonance with me, couldn't recognise the person they were talking about, experienced no emotion at all.

It is not easy when an estranged family member dies - I wish you well.

Smileless2012 Fri 06-Dec-19 17:08:02

As others have said, there's no legal obligation for anyone who is not a beneficiary of the will to be notified.

I'm also sorry that you're in this situationflowers.

ExperiencedNotOld Fri 06-Dec-19 17:14:11

Is there a non-involved person living nearer or closer connected to her that would naturally learn of her death? You could ask them to pass on any such news whilst assuring them they’d be nothing further you’d trouble them with.

Hetty58 Fri 06-Dec-19 17:16:38

You can check probate records and order copy death certificates online or by post.

There is a possibility that you won't be informed of the death or funeral. If you inherit anything, though, the executor has a duty to contact you.

Surely, wider family must be in touch?

Hetty58 Fri 06-Dec-19 17:18:50

www.gov.uk/search-will-probate

Madgran77 Fri 06-Dec-19 17:43:45

I am so sorry that you are in this position endlessstrife I doubt there is any legal obligation. It all depends on the wishes of the person whom has died, if expressed. Or whether the people dealing with the deceased person's affairs is aware of an estranged family member, how to get in touch with them and if they choose to contact

endlessstrife Fri 06-Dec-19 18:27:57

Thank you for all your replies and we’ll wishes, it’s even really helpful. I identify with you SueSocks. It’s been a long time and I’ve no intention of going to the funeral. Her last address is not local to me, some distance in fact. There wouldn’t be anyone there who would benefit from my being there, and I definitely wouldn’t be comfortable. Once again, thank you for your help.

endlessstrife Fri 06-Dec-19 18:28:50

I meant ‘ well wishes’ and ‘ it’s been really helpful!’

endlessstrife Fri 06-Dec-19 18:35:26

Experiencednotold there are people who would know, but don’t know whether they’d let me know. Thank you for the link Hetty58. I have no way of contacting anyone. I just wish her peace.

ALANaV Sat 07-Dec-19 11:16:04

I have left instructions in my Will that my daughter should NOT be informed when I die ….she has chosen not to contact me for 15 years although I did discover where she and her now family are living. My solicitor said she can contest the Will...yes, maybe ...if anyone tells her, and no one but me knows where she is (although of course, that could easily be found out) I am sad my grandson, whom I have never met will be the loser as I would have set up a Trust fund for him ….c'est la vie ! In my late husband's case his daughter refused to come and visit him when he was dying and as soon as he died demanded to see the Will...under French law any property is divided between the children with a right for the spouse to remain in it until death …...all was done exactly according to French law so I told her to get on and contest is as that was her intention ...the Notaire said it will cost so much in a French court she will simply end up with nothing !!!!

Hetty58 Sat 07-Dec-19 11:21:05

it's all so very sad. Everyone estranged has my sympathies.

Smileless2012 Sat 07-Dec-19 11:23:03

It's a difficult one isn't it. I'm sure our DS will tell his brother when I and Mr. S. have died.

I have made it quite clear that I don't want him at my funeral. If Mr. S. pre deceases me, he says he wouldn't mind if our ES was there but appreciates it would make an extremely difficult day for me and the rest of the family more so if he attended, so I'm hoping if that is the case, he wont.

Nannymarg53 Sat 07-Dec-19 11:48:35

My youngest son found out that his paternal grandfather had died via Facebook! My son was so upset by this as, although he was estranged from his father (my ex) he was quite close to his grandad. When I asked paternal grandmother why they hadn’t phoned my son to tell him she said they didn’t have his number??? They actually had my son’s and my number. But hey ho - family’s are strange 🤷‍♀️

grandtanteJE65 Sat 07-Dec-19 12:09:44

Perhaps while we are all alive and well it would be worthwhile discussing notifications of deaths?

I am old fashioned enough to find it hurtful if deaths and for that matter births and marriages are only announced on Facebook.

Perhaps we should discuss this within families and work out what we would like to do.

In my family we still insert a notice in the local paper and whichever national newspaper the person who has died used to read. That way we hope distant friends and acquaintances whom we haven't been able to contact are informed.

jaylucy Sat 07-Dec-19 12:37:58

No, no obligation beyond the registration of the death or if there is a will, the beneficiaries.
Same thing happened to my SiL - she had a falling out with my MiL a few years before, over something trivial. She had no idea that MiL had been taken into hospital , let alone passing away.
Apparently my ex husband was aware and was instructed by MiL that SiL was not to be told. 3 months later he let it slip in conversation (was always rubbish at keeping secrets) so SiL had not been able to make reparation or even say goodbye. The only mourners at the funeral had been MiL's partner and my ex. Very sad because Sil and Mil had been so close and had even worked together for several years.
So sorry, endlesstrife that you are in this position, it's not nice.

Notagranyet1234 Sat 07-Dec-19 12:58:59

When my husband and divorced 13 years ago our DC were in their teens. As he walked out of the house for the last time I begged him to tell them where he was going, he refused. He saw them locally maybe twice in the first year after, never paid a penny for their upkeep, going as far as taking redundancy from his job and taking a 0 hour contract meaning he legally paid only £10 a month for them. He never bought a present, not birthdays or Christmas.
He hasn't seen or spoken to them in a decade. His choice.

My lovely DC were badly affected by this at first but 13 years later they have made their peace and he doesn't have any idea of their lives. Their choice.

He was not a great dad when we were married his needs always came first, finally by going NC they have some control in their lives.

notanan2 Sat 07-Dec-19 13:02:40

No. I know someone who wasnt told that their absent father died by his family, so its common enough for children to not be informed.

BeenBizzy Sat 07-Dec-19 17:01:37

I saw my dear husband killed in a road accident , I told the police officers I would not inform my estranged son,
they insisted that they would tell him...... It was their duty to do so .
This I accepted . The results of that awful day were that mother and son are reunited.

notanan2 Sat 07-Dec-19 17:10:51

ALANaV if you are leaving a trust to your GS his guardians MUST be informed by the executer of your will. You saying "dont tell my DD" in your will does not override that.

annemac101 Sat 07-Dec-19 18:13:03

BeenBizzy, it must have been a comfort to you at such a sad time to be reunited with your son but sad that it took a tragedy for it to happen.

endlessstrife Sat 07-Dec-19 18:28:33

I’m so pleased for you BeenBizzy, but so sad about your husband. I’m wondering whether it’s easier for the estranged child, or parent. I suppose it depends on the circumstances, but I know it would break me to “ lose “ one of my children. With my mother, I think it was always on the cards, and strangely enough, it took a death, my father’s, for our relationship to be finally over. I haven’t missed her at all. I realise how that must sound, but just being honest.