A woman has failed to have herself appointed as the administrator of her late mother’s estate because the High Court considered that she was untrustworthy.
A man claiming to be the deceased’s husband was also rejected as an administrator with the court preferring to appoint someone independent from outside the family.
The case involved a woman who died intestate, that is, without having made a will. Her daughter and a man claiming to be the late woman’s widower both wanted to administer her estate.
The court heard that the woman had died in 2015, leaving assets in the UK and Nigeria.
The daughter sought a grant of letters of administration, together with declarations that she was the deceased’s next of kin. She said the man claiming to be the widower had not been lawfully married to the deceased because he had not divorced his first wife. She claimed he had no interest in the estate even though he and the deceased had a child together.
The issue was whether the man had already been married to another woman when he married the deceased.
The court held that the evidence suggested that he had merely separated from his first wife rather than divorced her and so the marriage to the deceased was void. It would not therefore be appropriate to appoint him as the administrator of the estate.
Nevertheless, he might still have an interest in the estate, especially as he was the father of the deceased’s child.
The court was also reluctant to appoint the daughter as she had lied in evidence and shown herself to be untrustworthy.
The best solution was therefore to appoint an independent administrator to ensure that the estate was shared fairly and in accordance with the law.
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