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We know that wizards know of a last will and testament. After Sirius dies, Dumbledore tells Harry:

“I must tell you that Sirius’s will was discovered a week ago and that he left you everything he owned.” (HBP)

So did Harry's parents have a will?

  • If they did, what was the content? Especially what did it say about Harry?
  • If they didn't, why not?

It's funny (or not) how all the comments and the only answer so far are limited to how the money got to Harry.

We know that Sirius inherited everything from his parents, including Grimmauld Place and Kreacher, just because he was the only surviving son. The dislike between Sirius and his parents was mutual. Sirius ran away when he was 16, his mother Walburga blasted his name of the family tree. So it doesn't seem likely that his parents would actively do something for him to inherit. Just the fact that he was the only remaining son after Regulus died was enough. As Harry's parents loved him, there is no reason to assume that they would not leave their money to Harry.

It has been tradition since long before there were written laws that the possessions of the deceased would go to the children unless specified otherwise, because that is what most parents would want. Details can vary, either equal split, everything to the oldest, or something in between, but in the case of on only (surviving) child like Harry or Sirius, this doesn't matter.

The main point is, what were the wishes of the Potter parents regarding Harry's guardians. Sirius was Harry's godfather, but he was also pretending to be the secret keeper, a dangerous job in an already dangerous time. So it was not certain that he would be available or alive to raise Harry. They should have made further plans.

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    Considering Harry's large inheritance of money, they must've had SOME kind of will. – Allball103 Aug 13 '18 at 19:27
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    @Allball103 - Not really needed. Harry was their only son and any of their friends (not least Dumbledore, a man of impeccable standing) could have attested to the fact that they wanted to leave it all to him. – Valorum Aug 13 '18 at 19:31
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    It would've been somewhat irresponsible of them being members of the order of the phoenix, at constant risk of death, to not have a will. – Ummdustry Aug 13 '18 at 19:52
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    @Allball103 The UK has statutes that deal with people who die "intestate" (without a will). According to WP, the gist of the law there is that if there's one kid and no surviving spouse, the kid gets it all. – Cadence Aug 13 '18 at 19:59
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    @NKCampbell The principles of intestacy are well-established parts of the common law. Absent any reason to think the wizards don't have a similar principle, I would assume they do, just like I assume they have a law against theft even if it isn't stated. The exact statute may well be different, but this isn't a particularly controversial case as far as intestacy goes. – Cadence Aug 13 '18 at 20:41
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It’s not clear - but Harry did inherit what seems like everything.

Whether or not they had an official will, somehow the Potters’ money was considered left to Harry. Hagrid tells Harry that his parents left him money, but whether it was specified as Harry’s in a will isn’t mentioned, just that Harry’s inherited his parents’ money (somehow).

“I haven’t got any money – and you heard Uncle Vernon last night – he won’t pay for me to go and learn magic.’

‘Don’t worry about that,’ said Hagrid, standing up and scratching his head. ‘D’yeh think yer parents didn’t leave yeh anything?”
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 5 (Diagon Alley)

It’s not specified how the money is left to Harry - they may have left a will or they may not have. If they did, even if Hagrid knew about it, he probably didn’t consider it useful to tell Harry (who was a kid) the legalities of the situation. Even if there wasn’t any will, it’s very likely that others (most likely Dumbledore) would step in to make sure Harry would inherit his parents’ money. It would be a fairly clear cut case. There wasn’t really anyone else who could claim the right to the Potter wealth. Other than Petunia, Lily’s Muggle sister, the rest of Harry’s close family were all dead.

MA: What about Harry's family — his grandparents — were they killed?

JKR: No. This takes us into more mundane territory. As a writer, it was more interesting, plot-wise, if Harry was completely alone. So I rather ruthlessly disposed of his entire family apart from Aunt Petunia. I mean, James and Lily are massively important to the plot, of course, but the grandparents? No. And, because I do like my backstory: Petunia and Lily's parents, normal Muggle death. James's parents were elderly, were getting on a little when he was born, which explains the only child, very pampered, had-him-late-in-life-so-he's-an-extra-treasure, as often happens, I think. They were old in wizarding terms, and they died. They succumbed to a wizarding illness. That's as far as it goes. There's nothing serious or sinister about those deaths. I just needed them out of the way so I killed them.
- The Leaky Cauldron (July 16, 2005)

Harry was the sole survivor, and the Boy who Lived, so it’s unlikely that anyone would be able to claim the money wasn’t rightfully his. Hagrid had the key to the Potters’ vault at Gringotts, so it seems likely that it, and the vault, were being kept safe and ‘held’ for Harry.

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    I never thought about this before, but if Harry did actually inherit everything, which seems the a priori conclusion, then when he and Hermione visited Godric’s Hollow in DH, the ruin of the old Potter house was actually his. He was basically a young real estate tycoon, already with two prime properties under his belt! – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 14 '18 at 7:06
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    @JanusBahsJacquet - One is a ruin, the other is invisible. Even 'Homes Under the Hammer' would struggle to say nice things about them. – Valorum Aug 14 '18 at 18:49
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    @JanusBahsJacquet - Hmm. I guess you could argue that the invisibility is a feature rather than a flaw. Now if it also had invisible off-street parking it'd be worth millions. – Valorum Aug 14 '18 at 21:27
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    @Valorum “Tired of nosy neighbours? Can’t seem to find privacy in your own home? Try the all-new invisible house and you’ll never have to worry about neighbours again!” – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 14 '18 at 21:42
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    @JanusBahsJacquet - But imagine having to explain to your wife that you just paid £1.4M for an uptown house but that you seem to have mislaid it... – Valorum Aug 14 '18 at 21:44
0

Isnt it simple?

Sirius's will was discovered because Grimmauld Place was searched. Before vacating the HQ of the Order, it was searched and the will was discovered. The will was not given to someone for safekeeping because Sirius didn't honestly plan on dying.

Reg the Potter's will, well it is obvious that their money went to their son. However, there was no will because Lily and James trusted Pettigrew. Further, they knew that if anything happened to them, the other Marauders wouldn't let Harry be penniless. They would take care of him. Also, I guess it would be Lily who had second thoughts and left the key to the Gringotts vault with Dumbledore - for just in case scenarios. Or probably so that Dumbledore could help them with the items of need since they were in hiding. So probably Dumbledore would give money to Pettigrew who would buy and take goods to them. Or simply Lily had one of those intuitions and wanted to ensure that the key reached the rightful owner.

I doubt if a will is required for this - I mean what if the Potters had already transferred the ownership to their son? Or since the old wizarding families own accounts in the bank, the ownership gets passed on to the successor who possesses the key. Here Harry was the only descendent and he got the key!

  • 1
    This sounds like speculation. – Blackwood Aug 17 '18 at 19:16
  • There is nothing wrong with speculation, as long as it is aligned with common sense. But most of the speculation here is baseless. A comment is too short to address all points, I would need an answer for that. Additionally, everybody here agrees that a will is not necessary to leave properties to Harry. A will is necessary regarding Harry's guardian, and I already had the question amended by the time you posted this answer. – QuestionAuthority Aug 18 '18 at 12:08
  • I never mentioned that there was any will! Even I am agreeing to it. Reg Harry's guardian.. Sirius was made the godfather when Harry was born.. and then because Sirius, James and Lily - all were unavailable, Dumbledore took charge to place Harry where he was most safe. – Shruti Joshi Aug 20 '18 at 3:08

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