My aunt is taking the inheritance that should be split. What can we do?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 18, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My grandfather owns a farm with land. We have just found out that last year my aunt's name has been put on land registry info to inherit the estate. What do we do? My granddad hasn't been in complete right of mind since he was in hospital April 2008. Obviously we are all upset and my aunt told my dad she was always going to do that. We all assumed it would be divided equally. My dad was always told by my grandmother that he would inherit the house and his sister would get barns and land. How do we fight it? My granddad says he doesn't know what's happening. My aunt moved into the house with him when my Nan died in December 2004.

Expert Answers

Steve Weisman hosts the nationally syndicated radio show A Touch of Grey, heard on more than 50 stations, including WABC in New York City and KRLA in Los Angeles. He is a practicing lawyer specializing in estate planning and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. He's a public speaker and commentator who has appeared on many radio and television shows throughout the country, and he's the legal editor of Talkers magazine, the preeminent trade publication of talk radio. His latest book is The Truth About Avoiding Scams.

I am not quite clear as to what you mean by "my aunt's name has been put on land registry info to inherit the estate." This could mean multiple things from your mother being added as a joint owner of the property to your grandfather establishing a life estate. The precise repercussions depend upon exactly what your grandfather did. A promise to make a gift of property in a Will as you indicate your grandmother told your father is not enforceable. If your grandfather was not competent at the time that he altered the title to his property, any changes he made would not be valid. If, your grandfather is competent, you may suggest that he contact his lawyer to make sure that his estate plan comports with his wishes. If you believe he is not competent, you should contact a lawyer and look into establishing a guardianship of him and then you would be in a position to challenge whatever conveyances of property interests he may have done when he was not competent.