Legal advice on adoption, renting a flat, and wills

My daughter was adopted by my ex-wife's second husband without my knowledge.

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Is there anything I can do about this?

IT is usual practice to give all interested parties the chance to be heard by the sheriff deciding an adoption.

If the natural mother is absent and cannot be contacted, or an attempt has been made to contact her without success, or other factors make it impractical or inappropriate to contact her, then the adoption process can proceed without notice being given. But this is a complex area and I suggest you consult a solicitor experienced in adoption law. The adoption almost certainly cannot be undone.

I RENT out a flat through a letting agent. I never received any contract for their services. I have now decided to take over the running of this rental agreement myself as the agent does nothing but collect money and then take three weeks to pass it on. He claims I have to pay a £250 get-out payment as "his" tenant is staying on.

IF there is no written contract between you, he cannot now bring in new clauses to suit himself. And I know of no general rule that an agent can charge you for bringing in a tenant.

MY wife and I both retire this year. We have two children in their thirties. One still lives with us. We have not made a will. What would happen if either of us died? Would the house etc automatically pass to the widow or widower? Can you advise who to contact about making a will and the cost?

IT is likely (but check) that the house will go to the surviving spouse under a survivorship destination in the deeds, but for the rest of your estate, the remaining husband or wife would inherit the contents, and also a sum of money before the children had a claim.

It is best to make a will now, as this cuts legal costs and time when one spouse dies, as well as allowing you to leave the estate as you wish rather than being stuck with the intestacy rules. Cost - ask a solicitor, could be from £50 to £150 .

MY mother died and left me out of her will. She left everything to her second husband, with me and my sister absent from the will. Can we contest it, as we are sure she was unfairly influenced by this man.

YOU cannot contest the will but you can get round it partially. As children you have legal rights and are entitled to share between you and your sister one third of the moveable estate (everything except any house, and after debts are settled).

You cannot be completely disinherited where there are moveable (non-house) assets in Scotland. It is always hard to prove undue influence - the court might assume your mum's commitment to her partner was a loving, conscious one.

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