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Solicitor refusing to communicate with executor

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Deaths, Funerals & Probate
43 replies 7.2K views
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  • Mojisola wrote: »
    If you want, you could post the exact wording of the relevant bit of the will - removing any names, addresses, etc.

    I don't see how the solicitor can insist on you having a solicitor. You are the executor.

    Here is the relevent parts of the will concerning the property.

    I'm also curious if the funeral costs which I paid out of my own savings should be shared with my sister?

    3) The expression my ‘Trustees’ means my executor and Personal Representative and the Trustee of this Will and any trust that might arise under it.

    6) I GIVE my interest in the property known as ########## as follows:

    a) As to ##% thereof to my daughter ##### of ######### absolutely

    b) As to ##% thereof to my said son ##### absolutely

    7) I GIVE all of my estate both real and personal and whatsoever and whosoever situate subject to and after payment thereout of my just debts and funeral and testamentary expenses and debts and legacies and all taxes payable on or by reason on my death in respect of my estate or part thereof (which said estate and the property for the time being representing the same is thereinafter referred to as ‘my Residuary Estate’) upon my Trustees UPON TRUST to sell call in and convert the same into money at such time or times and in such manner as they shall think fit for power to postpone the sale calling in and conversion of the whole or any parts thereof for as long as they shall think fit without being responsible for loss
  • daska wrote: »
    Sorry, can you clarify? Are you saying that you are determined to buy the house although there is no legal requirement for you to do this? Or that the will stipulates that you must buy the remainder of the beneficiaries out of the house?

    If you are determined to buy the house yourself, come what may, then I'm afraid I think it likely that you'll just have to kowtow to her demands. BUT as I said before I believe you would be able to claim the costs of that from the estate - and that would potentially affect ALL the beneficiaries because if the only asset that falls within the estate is the property then the property will need to be sold to pay the costs or they will need to reimburse the estate before the remainder is distributed.




    He can't, but at the same time he is obliged to follow his client's instructions. If the client has told him that he may only respond to another solicitor then he must respond to that effect.

    Having said that OP, I suggest you continue writing on a frequent basis, as she will be having to pay for him to write any/all of his responses saying that he isn't allowed to respond, as well as the letters he sends her to tell her you've sent/ requested information. Probably @ £12 a pop. Is she made of money? Send him info and requests in dribs and drabs.

    Edited to add that a thought popped into my head regarding time limits. I couldn't find anything about it on the justice site but I knew I'd seen something about time limits to dispute a will and according to this link it's six months. You mention 9 months of negotiations - how long is it since Probate was granted?

    No, there is no legal requirement for me to buy the property. The will itself simply specifies in percentages how it is to be distributed between my sister and I (see above reply to Mojisola). I wish to buy the house because it has been the family for nearly forty years and I have a lot of great memories here. My stepfather and mum also died her too.

    There is just enough money in mum’s bank which is enough to pay everyone mentioned in the will who were left cash.

    I can understand my sister’s solicitor has to respond to his clients wishes. However ,he has an obligation to do so within the boundaries of the law. Surely doing what he is isn’t lawful being as executor power is granted by a court of justice.

    Yeah, I intend to not give up writing to him even though it is at my sister’s cost. With this said she has never worked in her life and is on benefits, thus getting Legal Aid. [FONT=&quot]I work and cannot afford a solicitor.[/FONT]

    Sorry to say the six months is not up until another five weeks because probate took a while to be granted. This was because my best friend died just before my mum did and it took me some months to apply for it.

    With this said, my sister’s solicitor has been asking me for full details regarding my stepfather estate who died ten years ago. I refused to give them to him saying I was not the executor to his estate and therefore didn’t possess the documents he requested. I also stated it had nearly been a decade since probated was finalised and suggested he contact the principal probate registry for a copy of it. He still kept asking for it so I contacted the executor to his estate and she said to give him her details, which I did.
  • MojisolaMojisola Forumite
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    userrobert wrote: »
    I'm also curious if the funeral costs which I paid out of my own savings should be shared with my sister?

    7) I GIVE all of my estate both real and personal and whatsoever and whosoever situate subject to and after payment thereout of my just debts and funeral and testamentary expenses

    There's your answer. The funeral costs should come out of the estate. You should invoice the estate for the money you have spent on the funeral.
  • Fire_Fox wrote: »
    You are not being clear at all. What exactly does the will say, the property is to be transferred to you all jointly? In which case you have done this, you need to produce accounts and then you have done your duty as executor. Or does the will say the property is to be sold? If so why has it been transferred into the beneficiaries names and not sold as her estate?

    Why are you confusing matters by purchasing the property? This is a conflict of interests with your role as executor because you obviously don't want to pay over the odds nor can you sell for less than market value. Unless you buying this property is specified in the will it is not part of your role as executor, so your sister's solicitor does not have to communicate with you as beneficiary.

    Hopefully the last two posts answer your questions.

    The property has been valued by independent estate agents by both myself and the trustees. The price we are buying the property at is at the full market value. We are not getting it at any discount.
  • Mojisola wrote: »
    There's your answer. The funeral costs should come out of the estate. You should invoice the estate for the money you have spent on the funeral.

    I just typed that and didn't even see it! Thanks for pointing it out :-)
  • MojisolaMojisola Forumite
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    userrobert wrote: »
    6) I GIVE my interest in the property known as ########## as follows:

    a) As to ##% thereof to my daughter ##### of ######### absolutely

    b) As to ##% thereof to my said son ##### absolutely

    Have you done this and transferred ownership to you and your sister?

    Buying the house would then be a completely separate transaction between you, your sister and the trustees of the other part of the house and nothing to do with the will.
  • Mojisola wrote: »
    Have you done this and transferred ownership to you and your sister?

    Buying the house would then be a completely separate transaction between you, your sister and the trustees of the other part of the house and nothing to do with the will.

    If you mean having the change made on the land registry, no. The trustees and I agreed it didn’t make financial sense to do it twice. The registry was to be changed by my banks solicitors on completion of the sale.

    Not sure this is the issue with my sisters solicitor being as he has not given a reason. All I know is his letter is headed ‘Inheritance dispute’.
  • edited 26 September 2012 at 11:03AM
    SomersetSomerset Forumite
    3.6K posts
    edited 26 September 2012 at 11:03AM
    Thinking about this, is it possible your sister doesn't want to sell her % of the house to you or anyone ?

    The estate contains 3/8th's of a house. While you may want to buy your sister's share (ignoring whether valuation is correct or not) I don't see why you assume you can force her to realise her % at £x. Normally in a house/beneficiary split you get some who want the cash so there's the option of an open market sale vs negotiation between beneficiaries of 'buying out' those who want to be bought out. Your late mother's house is already 5/8th's owned by a trust, so it can't be sold.

    At this point I'm stuck. in theory you (as a beneficiary) could force the executor (also you) to realise your % value. But my point is, your sister, in this precise situation, is not doing that - she's sought legal advice to prevent her % being disposed of ie sold. I don't see how you can dispose of it without her consent. The possibilities are a) she wants to retain her % or b) she wants a better price and if b) it's not as cut and dried as you think.

    Edit : Just thought, if the above is correct, the solicitor may be obliquely putting you on notice that the executor (you) is not in a legal position to dispose (sell) his client's inheritance (the %) and that the executor (you) should take legal advice on that position before proceeding.
  • MojisolaMojisola Forumite
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    Somerset wrote: »
    Thinking about this, is it possible your sister doesn't want to sell her % of the house to you or anyone ?

    Or that she realises that she can hold out for a much bigger payout from you if you really want to buy the house?

    I think legal advice as executor - which can be reclaimed from the estate - would be worth getting.

    Personally, I would be transferring the ownership and finalising the will and then treating the house sale as a completely separate arrangement.

    You and your sister and the trustees will then have to work out what to do with the house while it is in limbo. You will all be responsible for the insurance, upkeep, CT, etc.
  • edited 26 September 2012 at 12:35PM
    daskadaska Forumite
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    edited 26 September 2012 at 12:35PM
    The funeral expenses are a liability on the estate and should be paid BEFORE the residual estate is disbursed to the beneficiaries.

    You can finish executing the Will by transferring the relevant percentages of ownership into the correct names. The cost of doing this is also a liability on the estate which needs to be settled BEFORE any disbursements to beneficiaries.

    You need to check the priority of the various bequests as to which take precedence but NO bequest takes precedence over a debt.

    If as a result of meeting the debts for which the estate is liable there is no cash left then there is no cash left! It's tough on the beneficiaries who might have been expecting something but it's not unfair, nor is it illegal. Wills aren't always updated to allow for every change in circumstances. If there isn't sufficient cash to meet the liabilities (and nothing moveable which can be sold to raise it) then the property will have to be sold to meet the debts or you could ask the beneficiaries asked to contribute to clear them before they receive any inheritance. End of! Your sister will have no choice because that is your job as exector and you do not need her permission to carry out your role. And, as you haven't registered her percentage ownership then she gets no say unless she launches a legal challenge. You really NEED to take legal advice simply to cover yourself in the event of a challenge on this!

    Or, if there is sufficient cash to meet the debts and you go ahead and finish executing the Will and transfer the ownership: Are the trustees for the part of the house which is in trust in favour of selling the property? Do you between you own the greater percentage of the property? It is possible to get an order to force the sale. But you will need to own your percentage before you can apply for that.

    Your sister cannot prevent you from carrying out your duties as exector and she isn't. She is obstructing you in your desire to purchase the house. Has it occurred to you that her obstruction might be because once she inherits it will affect her entitlement to means tested benefits? She may well have a vested interest in delaying the disbursement of the estate and sale of the house for as long as possible. In which case your only option in this instance is to work with the trustees to find a legal solution.

    And remember, memories stay with you, they are YOUR memories, they are not actually based in bricks and mortar.
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