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    • pencil31
    • By pencil31 21st Nov 17, 1:00 PM
    • 4Posts
    • 2Thanks
    pencil31
    Lost Original Will
    • #1
    • 21st Nov 17, 1:00 PM
    Lost Original Will 21st Nov 17 at 1:00 PM
    Hello - First time poster and grateful for any advice/help Apologies in advance for the length of my post . Some backgroundfirst : We are a family of 4 sisters and 3 brothers. Our only surviviing parent (mother) passed away in May 2017 and when we felt able to sort out her possessions, we found a Will dated 1993 along wither some other important papers eg. Deeds to her property. In the Will, my mother named my eldest sister as the Executor and passed all her estate (small property and cash in bank) to the 4 daughters. 2 of my brothers are aware they were not named as beneficiaries and are ok with that. My other brother is terminally ill with cancer and would be unable to declare any thoughts on the subject but we believe he would also be ok with it. We understand his wife has something called Enduring Power of Attorney, Around Sept 2017, my sister (Executor) submitted all the relevant paperwork to the Probate Registry in London along with the Will. A few weeks later we received a reply back stating the Will is actually a copy and they need the original. We have now searched everywhere that its possible to search and cannot find the original amongst Mum;s possession. At the same time, we contacted the Solicitor who originally created the Will and to say he has been very unhelpful is an understatement. Most of the time, he will not take our calls and we have to had to resort to going to his office. In summary, he is stating that he cannot locate the Original and that we shouldnt expect him to have kept it for so many years without contacting my mother and returned it to her. We would all happily have notthing more to do with him , his behaviour towards us has been quite outrageous. however, we understand that without his statement confirming that he no longer holds the Original , there is very little hope of the Probate Registry accepting the copy Will. So far he has offered to prepare the statement along with various other documents he thinks we will need if we are prepared to pay his fees which are estimated around £800. We have subsequently written to him stating we only require that he produce a letter/statement confirming the current position regarding the Original Will. We will of course pay for that if required but we don;t need his services more than that. We are loath to give him any business and if necessary, would rather go to another Solicitor. Sorry again for the long background piece but can anyone advise what we should/can do if he decides not to do anything , so far it has been a week since we sent the letter and no acknowledgement or reply. We sense at best he will take as long as he wants or at worse, will not reply. Just to add also, we understand that if the copy will has any hope of being accepted, at some point the Registry will need a statement from my 3 brothers attesting to their acceptance of the copy Will ? - what would happen therefore in the case of my 3rd brother who does not have the capacity to do this, would this need to come from his spouse with the Power of Attorney ? Many thanks
Page 1
    • Keep pedalling
    • By Keep pedalling 21st Nov 17, 1:56 PM
    • 4,104 Posts
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    Keep pedalling
    • #2
    • 21st Nov 17, 1:56 PM
    • #2
    • 21st Nov 17, 1:56 PM
    Difficult situation. In reality she died intestate and if any of your brothers or their attorneys object
    Then you will have a difficult time of it. As your brother's attorney your sister in law has a duty to achieve what is best for her husband so agreeing to give up his inheritance would be a neglect of her duty.
    Last edited by Keep pedalling; 21-11-2017 at 2:41 PM.
    • Margot123
    • By Margot123 21st Nov 17, 2:51 PM
    • 328 Posts
    • 292 Thanks
    Margot123
    • #3
    • 21st Nov 17, 2:51 PM
    • #3
    • 21st Nov 17, 2:51 PM
    Firstly, I am sorry for your loss.

    Please don't accept the solicitor's word that they cannot locate the original will.

    My family have just been trough a very similar ordeal with my late Father's solicitor. Dad passed away in July, we located a copy of the will showing solicitor's details. I called them to establish they had it, and it was the last will and that we could proceed with the funeral as per his wishes. All was fine and we proceeded.

    Some days later, the solicitor called to ask if we'd like them to 'do probate'. We politely declined as the estate is very straightforward. I called again after the funeral asking to collect the original will..........low and behold, they denied having it in the first place, saying we must have it in our possession!

    This situation forced us into using another solicitor who wrote to them on three occasions requesting release of the will. They consistently denied having it until I realised that I had kept an email from them confirming they had the will. Thank goodness for that, there was no denying it after that. Although it still took them another 2 months to send the will to our new solicitor.

    From my initial phone call to actual Grant of Probate was 4 months.

    I am now making a formal complaint about the original solicitor as they were clearly holding the will to ransom to make us pay them to administer the estate.

    What I am saying is, don't give up, tell them that you intend to report them to the SRA and Legal Ombudsman. Hopefully the original copy will appear (solicitor keep documents for decades).
    • pencil31
    • By pencil31 21st Nov 17, 6:14 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    pencil31
    • #4
    • 21st Nov 17, 6:14 PM
    • #4
    • 21st Nov 17, 6:14 PM
    thank you so much for your quick responses. With regards the intestate rules applying, none of us have any concern with that and will comply if thats what ends up happening. In fact some of us felt our brothers should have been beneficiaries anyway so maybe it will turn out like that after all. As for my older brother, there are some long standing personal issues with my sister in law who has Power of Attorney so having to take the matter to her is quite painful for us all but of course appreciate we may have to do that. . As a next step though, we will write back to the Solicitor and this time with some slightly stronger words. Lets see if that pushes him into action .
    • Margot123
    • By Margot123 21st Nov 17, 7:02 PM
    • 328 Posts
    • 292 Thanks
    Margot123
    • #5
    • 21st Nov 17, 7:02 PM
    • #5
    • 21st Nov 17, 7:02 PM
    Write to the compliance manager at the solicitor's firm, unless the solicitor is a 'one man band'. You are legally entitled to request, and be provided with, their details.

    As you have a copy of the will, you may be able to apply for Probate using that. Just remember that you have told of its existence so cannot later deny having a copy should you wish to go down the intestacy route.

    Seek advice from an independent solicitor when you are ready to deal with it. Many offer a free 20 minute advice session.
    • jackyann
    • By jackyann 21st Nov 17, 10:46 PM
    • 3,275 Posts
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    jackyann
    • #6
    • 21st Nov 17, 10:46 PM
    • #6
    • 21st Nov 17, 10:46 PM
    Just to say that my dad's solicitor kept his will from 1969 to 2010, and the solicitors were not executors.
    • Margot123
    • By Margot123 22nd Nov 17, 9:08 AM
    • 328 Posts
    • 292 Thanks
    Margot123
    • #7
    • 22nd Nov 17, 9:08 AM
    • #7
    • 22nd Nov 17, 9:08 AM
    My solicitor's office has documents dating back over 100 years. So, the excuse that 1993 was a long time ago is rubbish!
    When my partner's solicitor retired, he wrote to his clients asking if they wanted to collect their original wills or leave them for safe-keeping with the firm that took over his business. That is what happens when a solicitor abides by ethical practice, and respects the duty of care he owes to his clients.

    Find a young, newly-qualified solicitor to take your case on. They love something like this to get their teeth into. Ours certainly did......he didn't even charge for some work as he was so disgusted with the way Dad's solicitor treats bereaved families.
    • Moogles44
    • By Moogles44 25th Nov 17, 11:16 AM
    • 137 Posts
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    Moogles44
    • #8
    • 25th Nov 17, 11:16 AM
    • #8
    • 25th Nov 17, 11:16 AM
    I found someone who actually could do searches for wills who was local. I would ring around local solicitors to the person that died and the council and ask if they know of someone who does that locally . Can you search the loft of the house also? I found an old will in a box in the loft.
    • Yorkshireman99
    • By Yorkshireman99 25th Nov 17, 1:23 PM
    • 3,379 Posts
    • 2,748 Thanks
    Yorkshireman99
    • #9
    • 25th Nov 17, 1:23 PM
    • #9
    • 25th Nov 17, 1:23 PM
    thank you so much for your quick responses. With regards the intestate rules applying, none of us have any concern with that and will comply if thats what ends up happening. In fact some of us felt our brothers should have been beneficiaries anyway so maybe it will turn out like that after all. As for my older brother, there are some long standing personal issues with my sister in law who has Power of Attorney so having to take the matter to her is quite painful for us all but of course appreciate we may have to do that. . As a next step though, we will write back to the Solicitor and this time with some slightly stronger words. Lets see if that pushes him into action .
    Originally posted by pencil31
    POA ceased upon death. Now she has no more rights tahn you to deal with thing.
    • jackyann
    • By jackyann 26th Nov 17, 5:15 PM
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    jackyann
    I think, Yorkshireman, that the sister-in-law has power for her husband (OP's brother) not for her deceased father-in-law.

    Sadly, it seems that she may not be as helpful as the other 2 brothers in declaring acceptance of the wishes in the copy will (and in fairness, I'm not sure of her exact position legally). Her PoA will of course, cease on her husband's death (if I've got it right)
    • pencil31
    • By pencil31 30th Nov 17, 8:24 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    pencil31
    thank you, yes I did mean my sister in law has POA for my brother. So, firstly I just want to say a big big thanks to all of you who give their time, knowledge and experience to help others. At such a painfully sad time for my family and dealing with a Solicitor who just doesnt care - it has been a great comfort to have you "on our side" So, we wrote the 2nd letter to the Solicitor with some stronger words, citing Legal Ombudsman, SRA etc. Lo and behold (although I'm not holding my breath just yet) , my sister, the Executor called him today and he has committed to sending the declaration in the post by tomorrow/Monday at the latest. Lets see if he stays true to his word and the declaration contains everything we need. We are lodged with the London Probate Registry but does anyone suggest that we retrieve our papers from there and re-apply to a small Registry . Am thinking about the time it might take with a smaller Registry. At the moment, I can't even get the London Registry to pick up the phone !.
    • pencil31
    • By pencil31 30th Nov 17, 8:28 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    pencil31
    sorry @moogles44, we have searched everywhere , including lofts. If there was anywhere left to search we would :-) , Amongst my mother's important papers, there was only the copy will. She was very fastidious with her paperwork and if she had the original, it would have been there too. Thats what convinced us that the Solicitor last had the original will in his possession.
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