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  • FIRST POST
    • childofbaahl
    • By childofbaahl 31st Oct 17, 2:57 PM
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    childofbaahl
    Solicitor's letter 7 months after Probate / Estate closed and finalised
    • #1
    • 31st Oct 17, 2:57 PM
    Solicitor's letter 7 months after Probate / Estate closed and finalised 31st Oct 17 at 2:57 PM
    Afternoon,
    I was hoping for some advice as to whether or not to respond to a solicitor's letter I have received this afternoon. My Mum passed away a while ago and I administered the estate as there was no will. The beneficiaries were my Sister and I and everything was going smoothly (apart from the usual family squabbles,) until I found out that my late Mum hadn't taken my dad off the house deed after they divorced. As they owned the house a certain way it transferred to him instead of becoming part of the estate and transferring to her children.

    Long story short, my Dad transferred the house into my name so I could get a mortgage and provide my Sister with a sum of money in addition to what he got from the estate. Even though I guess legally he & I didn't have to do this. Anyway, that's all been done and my Sister got her money in the first quarter of '17, having fully signed off on the estate and everything.

    Now I receive a letter from a solicitor with fully signed authority to communicate form and 25+ points that need answering along with requests for what amounts to 75 pages to be photocopied and sent up to them at their request. I provided my Sister with full and frank estate accounts with copies of all bills, receipts and so on but it seems like they're asking for a photocopies of everything and not just the relevant details. I.E full survey report and not just the valuation page.

    She's signed off on the accounts and never even asked any questions even though I told her to take her time and I would answer it all. I fear that she might not like her share and now she has the funds (on benefits with no job,) she might try taking me to court even though I have been the one to do all the work for the estate, bore the brunt of the costs up front and didn't have to send her the money from the house.

    • Should I / Could I ignore the letter as it's been over 6 months since she agreed to everything?
    • Can I reply asking they forward payment for the costs of complying to their demands?
    • Do I have to answer everything? Some of the questions are asking for bank details for moneys held in trust (partly from my Sister's share), in case of CGTax bills for 5 years. They are asking for account details / signatories of the money I held in a separate account for her and the money I set aside from my own finances!
    • This may be a fishing exercise and as such should I be vague, i.e. answering that the point in question was covered in my letter to my sister dated the blah blah....?

    I've kept it brief but if there are any questions then feel free to ask and I'll do my best to keep it simple and to the point for brevity's sake as I know a lot of you are busy and I appreciate any and all advice you can offer.
Page 4
    • baza52
    • By baza52 6th Nov 17, 5:15 PM
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    baza52
    Read the thread again, the sister is getting half the estate. The house is not part of the estate it is owned by the father who has effective gifted it to his children in a way he sees fit.
    Originally posted by Keep pedalling
    I have read the whole thread and i am aware of the house being gifted to his children.
    Regarding the sisters DRO am i correct in thinking that she did not receive any money until after the DRO had ended?
    • Keep pedalling
    • By Keep pedalling 6th Nov 17, 5:28 PM
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    Keep pedalling
    I have read the whole thread and i am aware of the house being gifted to his children.
    Regarding the sisters DRO am i correct in thinking that she did not receive any money until after the DRO had ended?
    Originally posted by baza52
    OK, but why do you still think the sister is not getting her fair share of the estate? The OP has already said that they will correct the errors with the accounts that were pointed out earlier in the thread.

    As far as DROs are concerned it is the date of death that is important not when you received the money, otherwise you could simply ask an executor to delay payouts to avoid paying your creditors. Any money she was gifted during that period should also have been declared, although it would have been possible to delay the gift to avoid that situation.

    Executors can also be pursued by beneficiaries creditors if the fail to take due diligence on the beneficiaries financial status so they should not just ignore it.
    • Shelldean
    • By Shelldean 6th Nov 17, 8:30 PM
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    Shelldean
    So you and your sister had 50% each of mother's estate not including the house as that wasn't within the estate?

    So all's fair there half each.
    But to be treated as equals. She would need to receive an equal share from your father. She cant as he's given you the house.

    So even if sister get half of his estate you'll still be better off cos you was gifted part of a house.

    That's what I meant when I said equal shares for both.

    The simple fact your father has gifted you part of the house means you'll never have equal shares.
    • elsien
    • By elsien 6th Nov 17, 8:44 PM
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    elsien

    The simple fact your father has gifted you part of the house means you'll never have equal shares.
    Originally posted by Shelldean
    Which was the father's decision to make, and not the OPs responsibility. Whatever his reasons, sometimes life ain't fair.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
    • Keep pedalling
    • By Keep pedalling 6th Nov 17, 8:46 PM
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    Keep pedalling
    Not having equal shares, is not nessasarily a matter of fairness. If I am in the position to gift children money, there are other factors that come into play that might mean I might not simply split it 50/50.

    For IHT purposes we make regular gifts to our children. This is usually an even split, but in the past we gave our daughter more because she had a student debt, and my son was lucky enough to avoid it. Next year we will give more to our son, as he and his wife have just had their first child so need it more.

    If one of my children had a serious gambling problem then they would get nothing, but I would still gift to the other. If one was in the fortunate position to be in a very high paying job, and the other wasn't then the less well off one would get more financial help.
    • baza52
    • By baza52 6th Nov 17, 8:55 PM
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    baza52
    If one of my children had a serious gambling problem then they would get nothing, but I would still gift to the other. If one was in the fortunate position to be in a very high paying job, and the other wasn't then the less well off one would get more financial help.
    Originally posted by Keep pedalling
    So as the OP,s sister is obviously a lot worse of financially than him you still think its ok for the OP to get a bigger share?
    By your way of thinking OP would have got the smaller share with more going to the sister who has financial problems.
    • Keep pedalling
    • By Keep pedalling 6th Nov 17, 9:13 PM
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    Keep pedalling
    So as the OP,s sister is obviously a lot worse of financially than him you still think its ok for the OP to get a bigger share?
    By your way of thinking OP would have got the smaller share with more going to the sister who has financial problems.
    Originally posted by baza52
    Don't cherry pick, I gave two examples of where I would treat children differently, one of which was based on someone's poor decisions on what they did with it. We don't know why the sister got into debt, but if her father thinks she will just waste it he has the right to restrict how much she gets.

    I would still like to know why you think the OP is not prepaired to give his sister her 50% of their mother's estate?
    • baza52
    • By baza52 6th Nov 17, 10:24 PM
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    baza52
    Don't cherry pick, I gave two examples of where I would treat children differently, one of which was based on someone's poor decisions on what they did with it. We don't know why the sister got into debt, but if her father thinks she will just waste it he has the right to restrict how much she gets.

    I would still like to know why you think the OP is not prepaired to give his sister her 50% of their mother's estate?
    Originally posted by Keep pedalling
    to be fair the OP has admitted that things were charged to the estate that should not have been. That alone means the sister did NOT receive her 50% share.
    correct me if i am wrong
    • Keep pedalling
    • By Keep pedalling 6th Nov 17, 10:54 PM
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    Keep pedalling
    to be fair the OP has admitted that things were charged to the estate that should not have been. That alone means the sister did NOT receive her 50% share.
    correct me if i am wrong
    Originally posted by baza52
    Yes the OP has openly admitted that, but he has also accepted the fact and has said he will correct those errors and distribute the estate correctly so that she does get her fair share (or maybe the OR will). Judging by his attitude and response to those pointing out his error, I am prepaired to give him the benefit of the doubt, that this was a genuine mistake rather than deliberate action to take from his sister, which is why I think your piece of work comment was OOO.

    She could have queried this with him directly, but has chosen instead to resort to solicitors, and to complicate matters has committed a serious offence in not declaring assets to the OR, which puts the OP in a tricky situation, which could get seriously messy unless they can sort this out between them, and remove the solicitors from the equation.
    Last edited by Keep pedalling; 06-11-2017 at 10:57 PM.
    • badmemory
    • By badmemory 7th Nov 17, 12:05 AM
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    badmemory
    To be blunt he has given more to one child because he thinks the other is just going to p*** it up the wall. No-one wants to see this happen to their money, especially if it is their choice and nothing to do with a will. I know that my sister has changed her will recently because she has realised that one of the friends she was going to leave about £50k to was going to do that as she had done just that with £250k left to her by someone else. No-one wants to see their hard earned cash thrown away.
    • childofbaahl
    • By childofbaahl 7th Nov 17, 12:19 AM
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    childofbaahl
    Baza52 = From your point in post #59: I didn't short change my sister deliberately from the estate, I honestly believed that it had been done fairly and we each received a 50/50 split. When the errors were brought to my attention, I owned them and will amend the estate accounts to ensure she gets what is owed. The estate is not mine to do with as I please, it is/was my responsibility to see that my late mothers life was closed out with dignity and anything remaining is disposed of according to the rules, I thought I had done that and will make sure it is done now I've been made aware of the lapses.


    As for the way I administered the estate, I emailed her each and every week with updates on the progress, kept her in the loop on all things and provided her with a 45 page detailed accounting of the estate breakdown which she signed same day and sent back without ever asking any questions... Honest mistakes happen and if the roles were reversed and she were owning up to her mistakes I would be fine with that.


    Baza52 = From your point in post #61: My sister received the estate payout 4 months before the DRO completed (it was above the £1990 threshold) and knew what she would be getting even before that. She also laid out the agreement with my father to split the house and knew how much she was getting from that 1 month before the DRO completed so is in breach of the DRO as I understand it.


    Shelldean = I understand what you mean now and can agree that this is a view that can be taken but the split decision was my sisters idea and it was my father's to gift me some of his share. What right does my sister have to come after me now? The house was my father's to do with as he pleased. I understand that she might not see it as fair, but that doesn't give her a right to come after me does it?
    Last edited by childofbaahl; 07-11-2017 at 12:23 AM.
    • childofbaahl
    • By childofbaahl 29th Nov 17, 2:46 PM
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    childofbaahl
    An update of sorts for anyone who is interested = I've had a meeting with solicitor advocate who agrees the house is separate from the estate and my sister has no claim that he can fathom. The money she received from the house was a gift and entirely up to our father to decide how much. We have prepared and this week sent a point by point answer to all of her questions along with newly adjusted estate accounts and informed her in that letter that a sum is available to her regarding the adjusted accounts, detailing the maths involved.


    It's a waiting game now to see what / how she replies. We mentioned her DRO in the letter too as it played a part in one of the answers so this also now makes her solicitor aware in case she decides to escalate the matter.
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 29th Nov 17, 3:46 PM
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    getmore4less
    Would it be advisable for the father to sign a deed of variation in respect of the 50% of the house he inherited, just in case his estate is liable to IT?
    Or is that not possible?
    Originally posted by Tom99
    It can be done.

    what happens is the joint tenancy is retrospectively severed and the asset falls into the estate or as directed by the DOV.
    Last edited by getmore4less; 29-11-2017 at 3:52 PM.
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 29th Nov 17, 4:06 PM
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    getmore4less
    If the father did DOV the mothers share back into the estate to be shared that would be 25% each.

    What the father does with his half is his business.

    If the sister was under the OR ot may ne that they should have been notified prior to distribution.
    • Tom99
    • By Tom99 29th Nov 17, 7:23 PM
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    Tom99
    If the father did DOV the mothers share back into the estate to be shared that would be 25% each.

    What the father does with his half is his business.

    If the sister was under the OR ot may ne that they should have been notified prior to distribution.
    Originally posted by getmore4less
    No, the father's DOV would redirect his inherited 50% share however he wished e.g. entirely to the OP. It does not go back into the general estate pot.
    • Shelldean
    • By Shelldean 29th Nov 17, 7:44 PM
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    Shelldean
    Shelldean = I understand what you mean now and can agree that this is a view that can be taken but the split decision was my sisters idea and it was my father's to gift me some of his share. What right does my sister have to come after me now? The house was my father's to do with as he pleased. I understand that she might not see it as fair, but that doesn't give her a right to come after me does it?
    Originally posted by childofbaahl
    Childofbaahl

    I was just explaining, how I interpreted "a fair share" "an equal share"


    I would hazard a guess that she feels hard done by now, given that you got a larger share. Perhaps he's spent hers and wants some more??? No idea why shes changed her mind. But change her mind she has, hence the solicitors letter.
    She has very right to ask you and to get a solicitor to write to you asking the same thing. She even has the right to take you to Court, should she so wish.
    But it's whether she has a chance to win if she chooses that route. ............. that I can't answer, I'm not a solicitor!!
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 29th Nov 17, 7:47 PM
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    getmore4less
    No, the father's DOV would redirect his inherited 50% share however he wished e.g. entirely to the OP. It does not go back into the general estate pot.
    Originally posted by Tom99
    of course the father can do what he wants.

    I thought it was fairly obvious the point I was making perhaps not...

    I said "If the father did DOV the mothers share back into the estate to be shared"

    Say in the interest of a sense of fairness many seem to think has not happened

    those shares would be 25%.

    The sis has already had more than that...

    As for the father share he is still alive .


    There is the possibility mother was fully aware of the joint tenancy
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