executor untrustworthy

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Deaths, Funerals & Probate
5 replies 2.5K views
surreygirlsurreygirl Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Deaths, Funerals & Probate
My parents in law left the youngest son as executor of their will. He is a beneficiary along with two other siblings, the will stating that all three children should benefit equally from the assets of their parents.
My bro-in-law was made redundant just before the death of both parents, and so quickly sorted out probate via the solicitor dealing with the will. However, in the last few weeks we have found out that the family property was sold nearly two months ago, and that the bro-in-law has mentioned nothing to his siblings about this.
A bank account was initially set up in bro-in-laws name to transfer bank accounts to this account, and a small amount of money was paid out to the siblings using this 'holding' account.
My question is - how do the siblings make the bro-in-law who is executor and beneficiary to complete his duties as executor to distribute assets? He has never given any info to his siblings about progress even when asked, and in fact has blocked calls and emails from one sibling, refusing to speak to them
Could the money be taken by the executor completely without distribution, given he has control of both his and the 'holding' account used to pay in and pay out for funeral expenses, etc? Is there a civil or criminal case to answer for not distributing the estate as willed by the parents?
any help gratefully received.

Replies

  • Muscle750Muscle750 Forumite
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    One word.........solicitor that's the first thing you need I would be contacting him telling him your concerns and call a meeting plus you want the other two executors names put on the acct and then when will the total assets of the estate be distributed
  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    I read it that there was one executor and three beneficiaries. In that situation there's no case for adding the other two names to the account.

    If the executor used a solicitor, then a call to them may get you somewhere, but no guarantees, as their duty is to their client (the executor) and not to the beneficiaries.

    A call to the Probate Office may also be worthwhile, for advice on what to do in this situation.
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  • He has to abide by the law, if he doesn't he can be prosecuted, speak with the CAB, or make a free 15 minute appointment with a local solicitor
  • Savvy_Sue wrote: »
    If the executor used a solicitor, then a call to them may get you somewhere, but no guarantees, as their duty is to their client (the executor) and not to the beneficiaries.

    A solicitor's duty first and foremost is to the law in that they can't advise a client to do something illegal (at least if they do they can find themselves in rather hot water). However there is no duty to stop the client if they have knowledge that the client might do something illegal (except I think in cases of potential murder, child abuse, etc). Either way the solicitor will be under a duty to uphold privilege with his client so may be unable to help you even if he knows he's done something rotten.

    This is a civil matter so police can't help. I would suggest contacting your own solicitor and the Probate Office. If the property sold was over the IHT threshold could it be that he's waiting to settle that bill before splitting the proceeds?
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  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    A solicitor's duty first and foremost is to the law in that they can't advise a client to do something illegal (at least if they do they can find themselves in rather hot water). However there is no duty to stop the client if they have knowledge that the client might do something illegal (except I think in cases of potential murder, child abuse, etc). Either way the solicitor will be under a duty to uphold privilege with his client so may be unable to help you even if he knows he's done something rotten.
    Yes, you've put that better than I could have done. However, if the solicitor doesn't know his client is withholding funds (but see below), then without confirming or denying anything to the siblings, might they not fire off a letter 'reminding' the executor of his duties?
    If the property sold was over the IHT threshold could it be that he's waiting to settle that bill before splitting the proceeds?
    Yes, that occurred to me too.

    OP says house sold two months ago. There's also a need to put a notice in the London Gazette and local paper advertising for any debtors to come forward and I think there's an 8 week wait for responses to those, and the solicitor's bill to be paid which may not yet have been raised, so it's not as simple as just writing a cheque as soon as the house sold.

    It was over a year before we sent out the final cheques for Dad's estate. Fortunately none of my siblings were champing at the bit, and if anyone had asked we could have told them what was going on.
    Still knitting!
    Completed: TWO adult cardigans, 3 baby jumpers, 3 shawls, 1 sweat band, 3 pairs baby bootees, 2 sets of handwarmers, 1 Wise Man Knitivity figure + 1 sheep, 2 pairs socks, 3 balaclavas, multiple hats and poppies, 3 peony flowers, 4 butterflies ...
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