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  • FIRST POST
    • gll5dm
    • By gll5dm 9th May 17, 9:51 AM
    • 43Posts
    • 6Thanks
    gll5dm
    Very difficult situation regarding grandmother's will
    • #1
    • 9th May 17, 9:51 AM
    Very difficult situation regarding grandmother's will 9th May 17 at 9:51 AM
    Hi all,

    I’d appreciate any advice anybody may have on this. It will be quite longer winded, so thanks in advance if you’re prepared to read and reply.

    My grandmother died 20 years ago and left money to her daughter (my mother), and her four grandchildren (me, my two brothers and the son of her second husband’s son whom she didn’t know).
    When she died – and I don’t know how it happened – the solicitor in charge of her will told us we had all been left X amount. Let’s say 30k each for the sake of argument. This money would only be accessible for those under 25 (everybody apart from my mother) if there was a valid reason, for example a school trip, a first car, study fees, etc.

    It couldn’t just be given out willy-nilly, so to speak, aside from my mother’s share which she was given right away and used for home improvements and a nice family holiday.

    The fourth grandchild that my grandmother didn’t know was left twice as much as her own daughter, as, prior to the death of my grandmother’s second husband, he’d had a huge argument with his son and cut him out of the will and left that share to his grandson, essentially giving him two shares and everybody else one.

    This went on for a decade, before the solicitor retired and passed it on to a different company, who then told us the conditions were actually completely different, and that the money was being saved in “stocks and shares” and was being kept in a fund, not divided up between everybody but rather available for everybody to access if they had a valid reason, which I find completely crazy.

    The parents of the fourth grandchild were given permission to take an interest-free loan of 30k from the will around 10 years ago, and have seemingly only just paid it back recently, while the final two grandchildren (the fourth one plus my younger brother) will turn 25 next year. Once this happens, I have been told by the solicitor, any funds remaining will be split four ways between us.

    I have also been told that those over 25 cannot access any further funds until the final grandchild reaches 25, so myself and my older brother essentially need to sit and wait and see whether the fourth grandchild makes a request for further funds, even though he’s received far, far more than even my grandmother’s only child.
    We assume he’ll be doing all he can do drain as much from what remains (around 40k) in the fund, in the knowledge that once he passes 25 he’ll have to do as we are doing now, which is sit and wait for my younger brother to turn 25 which happens a few months later next year.

    Does anybody have any advice here? This guy has received an awful lot of money from the will of a grandmother he didn’t even know, while my mother who has been scrimping and saving for years could end up without a further penny from what her mother left behind.

    We need to somehow get access to these funds to stop this guy from draining even more than he already has. It appears my younger brother is the only one who can access them, given that only he is under 25. I’d love nothing more than to be able to hand my ‘share’ of what’s left over (currently around 10k per person) to my mother, but know this fourth grandchild can request funds for another year over and over again until there is nothing left.

    Thanks for any advice and tips.
    Last edited by gll5dm; 09-05-2017 at 10:00 AM.
Page 4
    • Manxman in exile
    • By Manxman in exile 10th May 17, 4:40 PM
    • 500 Posts
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    Manxman in exile
    OP - I think if I were you I'd try the approach suggested by Malthusian in #45. (But I think I would wait until I've received the will from the probate registry to make sure it is identical to the copy your mother has).


    Then see what the trustee says. They may say "OK".
    • gll5dm
    • By gll5dm 10th May 17, 5:00 PM
    • 43 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    gll5dm
    I'll keep you updated on events, thanks all for your contributions.
    • gll5dm
    • By gll5dm 12th May 17, 12:41 PM
    • 43 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    gll5dm
    By the way, there is an amendment to the will by my grandmother in which it says: "I further direct that X (the step-grandchild who was given 1 share (his father's which was moved over to him and is one fourth of the trust fund along with me and my two brothers) shall not inherit any capital under the terms of my will under he reaches the age of 25."

    Now that, to me, says he cannot have any money from the will until he is 25, no?

    We know he received an interest-free loan of 32k when he was 10 years old, which his parents used to purchase a house (unbelievable..) and we are currently waiting on a breakdown of any additional payments to him over the last decade.

    Can anybody confirm my suspicions are correct, or does that mean something else?

    Thanks!
    • securityguy
    • By securityguy 12th May 17, 1:07 PM
    • 2,352 Posts
    • 3,594 Thanks
    securityguy
    "We know he received an interest-free loan of 32k when he was 10 years old, which his parents used to purchase a house (unbelievable..)"

    In the abstract, not unbelievable. A common problem when people are orphaned is that parents have written their wills in trust, and in particular their life insurance in trust, such that they will be rich at 18/21/25 but in the meantime get to be Harry Potter living with the Dursleys, the poor orphan regarded as a burden. We wrote our wills very carefully such that were we to die leaving minor children, their guardians would have appropriate funds. And that included things like buying a larger house. We didn't bother worrying about the fact that the effect of that would be to transfer part of our estate to the children's guardians, because what matters is loving people raising our children well. Indeed, I think the way we drew the will up was so that my children and the guardians' children would be treated the same.

    Now obviously, this isn't a guardianship. But the general premise of "why live badly now to save money for later" is not unreasonable. As to whether a large interest-free loan is "inheriting capital" is another question, too.
    • gll5dm
    • By gll5dm 12th May 17, 1:16 PM
    • 43 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    gll5dm
    Thanks for your reply.

    Does the terms of the will not make it clear that this step-grandson is not to receive money until he is 25 though?

    If we exclude the loan (which has since been repaid), should we expect, when the breakdown of payments is revealed soon, no further payments have been made to this guy since he is not yet 25?

    After all, that's what's stated in the will, so why could it be any different?

    I'm trying to get my head around how the will says he is not to receive money until he is 25 yet he has seemingly been given a heck of a lot of it, while the solicitor tells me and my older brother we no longer have access to it, despite this not being in the will.
    Last edited by gll5dm; 12-05-2017 at 1:22 PM.
    • securityguy
    • By securityguy 12th May 17, 2:50 PM
    • 2,352 Posts
    • 3,594 Thanks
    securityguy
    After all, that's what's stated in the will, so why could it be any different?
    Originally posted by gll5dm
    You need legal advice, on this as so much else.

    Discretionary trusts are just that, discretionary, and the power of clauses in the will to limit the powers of the trustees once the trust has been established are limited. What will matter is the precise document that was drawn up by the executors establishing the trust. If that carried over the terms from the will, you have a problem with the trustees (although enforcing it may be hard). If that didn't carry over into the trust, you have a problem with the executors, and little chance of fixing it. There's no reason why the trustees should have seen the will, for example.

    Trustees act according to the terms of the trust they are running. You need to know what those terms are. They would have been set up by the executors.
    • gll5dm
    • By gll5dm 15th May 17, 4:10 PM
    • 43 Posts
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    gll5dm
    Been waiting since Tuesday for an email response from the trustee. I'll wait until tomorrow to make it a full week, then I'll ring her again and ask for some answers.
    • Tygermoth
    • By Tygermoth 30th May 17, 9:16 PM
    • 1,254 Posts
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    Tygermoth
    Because i am nosey and intrigued - any news?
    Please note I have a cognitive disability - as such my wording can be a bit off, muddled, misspelt or in some cases i can miss out some words totally...
    • gll5dm
    • By gll5dm 12th Jun 17, 4:46 PM
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    • 6 Thanks
    gll5dm
    Well, the solicitor is useless and it's taken three weeks for her to get round to telling me that infact the trust CAN be wound up early, so I've organised my two brothers to each send her a signed letter requesting that, and I've sent one myself. Apparently the other fella has agreed to an early winding-up of the trust fund, which is good.

    We still have no idea if and how much money this guy has had, so until we find out that I really have no idea what's in store for me. I'll expect very little and hopefully be surprised.
    • Manxman in exile
    • By Manxman in exile 13th Jun 17, 4:33 PM
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    Manxman in exile
    You may be pleasantly surprised.


    I can't find the details now but I think the "other fella" got his deceased dad's share and then he, you and your two brothers got shares in a discretionary fund, so that in effect, you and your two siblings have a "share" each and the "other fella" has a double "share". (Is that more or less right?).


    I know the trustees have absolute discretion over how the fund is finally distributed, but do you have any real reason to suspect that they would act arbitrarily and not treat the four of you (including the "other fella") fairly?


    I think you thought it had been unfair that that he'd benefited from an interest free loan, but wasn't that because you and your immediate family had misunderstood the terms of the trust and didn't realise that you could apply for funds etc. too? (Apologies if I've got that wrong. Don't want to criticise any of you).


    I think you may be being unduly pessimistic. See what happens.


    EDIT: I suppose you could possibly argue that the interest free loan has disadvantaged the other beneficiaries to some extent as the trustee couldn't earn interest on those funds until repaid. But I don't know if that's splitting hairs and worth getting worked up about. I suspect that in my family (in your situation) we would at least discuss the implications of an interest free loan to just one beneficiary.


    But I'm no lawyer. See what other posters think
    Last edited by Manxman in exile; 13-06-2017 at 4:52 PM. Reason: Addition
    • gll5dm
    • By gll5dm 14th Jun 17, 3:54 PM
    • 43 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    gll5dm
    Yeah your post is more or less correct, he got his dad's share (not because he died, but because his dad had an argument with his dad and was cut out of the will), and also got a quarter of this fund that was set up.

    Now with 40k remaining in the fund it's impossible to tell what's going to be allocated when it's wound up because the trustee refuses to share any info about what anybody else has received. She did say it will be done fairly and so in the end everybody will have received a more or less equal share.

    That could be good if this fella has already received a similar amount to myself and my two brothers (in the 20-30k range each), but it could also be awful if he's had significantly less, as a majority of the 40k would go to him and very little to us. Of course that'd be fair according to the rules of the will, but after all this time and effort put in to getting it sorted out, we'd all be a bit gutted!

    So we are hoping he's received similar to what we have and that the remaining 40k will be split into quarters (or probably a little more to my younger brother as we know he's received less). But as I mentioned, we have no idea at all because the info hasn't been shared with us and the trustee is appalling in her communication.

    By now she'll have received the three letters from me and my two brothers to formally request the fund is closed early, but I really don't expect to hear from her any time soon going off her previous communication...

    PS the "unfair" part regarding the loan was because his father, i.e. the guy cut out of the will completely, was given permission to receive 30k interest free on behalf of his (then) 10 year old son to put a big deposit down on a house. Now this man cut out of the loan should have nothing to do with the will, never mind being written out cheques to buy houses! I mean, is a 10 year old boy able to purchase a house? I think not. My parents have struggled financially my whole life, and I am sure they'd have loved a similar opportunity. That said, I put this down to my mother not reading the will properly, as one look at it myself shown that she could have done exactly that and everything she told us about how it is set up was, in fact, incorrect. So the blame lies with her on that, but I still think it was handled awfully regarding this loan.
    Last edited by gll5dm; 14-06-2017 at 3:58 PM.
    • Manxman in exile
    • By Manxman in exile 16th Jun 17, 2:48 PM
    • 500 Posts
    • 314 Thanks
    Manxman in exile
    I'm sure your mum not understanding the will is a source of annoyance but I wouldn't blame her for it. This sort of confusion can be quite common in families where wills are concerned.


    If the trustee has said you'll all be treated fairly and more or less equally that sounds pretty reasonable to me.
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