POA to see will?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Deaths, Funerals & Probate
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weezie7weezie7 Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Deaths, Funerals & Probate
Not sure if right forum but here goes...... Dad died 2 years ago, he made 'mirror' will, most left to his wife. Executors were stepmum, accountant and solicitor.


We assume 'mirror' will for stepmum has same executors, but we don't know. My sister now has POA for stepmum who is in a home. Accountant is still involved, but we are beginning to think he may not be competent. There is loads of work to do sorting out her affairs.


Question is: can sister ask to see will, as she wants to be prepared for it? She is also concerned about just solicitor and accountant being executors, as there are queries, now arising, about whose best interests the accountant has at heart.
Thanks.
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Replies

  • MojisolaMojisola Forumite
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    weezie7 wrote: »
    My sister now has POA for stepmum who is in a home.

    Question is: can sister ask to see will, as she wants to be prepared for it? She is also concerned about just solicitor and accountant being executors, as there are queries, now arising, about whose best interests the accountant has at heart.

    Anyone can ask to see a will - whether they will let your sister see it is another another matter.

    As she is acting with the POA 'as her mother', she should be able to put a good case forward. It would certainly help with decisions that she might make as attorney - for instance, if she is thinking about closing accounts to make the accounting easier but the will specifies that the contents of a particular account are part of someone's inheritance, she would want to keep that account in place.

    As attorney, she could change the accountant for current business but, unless your stepmother has lucid periods when she would be considered competent to change her will, the executors can't be changed.
  • g6jns_2g6jns_2 Forumite
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    weezie7 wrote: »
    Not sure if right forum but here goes...... Dad died 2 years ago, he made 'mirror' will, most left to his wife. Executors were stepmum, accountant and solicitor.


    We assume 'mirror' will for stepmum has same executors, but we don't know. My sister now has POA for stepmum who is in a home. Accountant is still involved, but we are beginning to think he may not be competent. There is loads of work to do sorting out her affairs.


    Question is: can sister ask to see will, as she wants to be prepared for it? She is also concerned about just solicitor and accountant being executors, as there are queries, now arising, about whose best interests the accountant has at heart.
    Thanks.
    Until the testator dies the will has no effect and unless they have capacity can't be changed. The attorney can change the accountant if they are not happy but that is all. Perhaps more detail might help to give advice.
  • weezie7weezie7 Forumite
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    Thanks for replies so far.


    g6jns - what further info do you require to assist please?
  • edited 25 February 2015 at 8:41PM
    g6jns_2g6jns_2 Forumite
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    edited 25 February 2015 at 8:41PM
    weezie7 wrote: »
    Thanks for replies so far.


    g6jns - what further info do you require to assist please?
    The problem is, and I don't mean this be offensive, none of us have a fully functional crystal ball! Without knowing a bit more information all we can do is speculate. Remeber that the attorney holder is subject to very strict rules. They are not allowed to do anything on behalf of the proxy donor that is not for their benefit. For example, and I am of course not suggesting this is the case, that there was a large sum in a particular account and contents of this account was left to X in the will. It would not be permissible to move the funds elsewhere just to deprive X of their inheritance. Until the testator dies there really is nothing to do with "sorting out her affairs". The executors don't have any function, or powers in respect of the estate, until the testator dies and can't be asked to resign until then. You say that you think the accountant is incompetent. What is he doing wrong or not doing? I can't think of any legimate reason for anyone to see the will at this time.
  • BobQBobQ Forumite
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    If your mother lacks the capacity to change the will, the solicitor holding it has a duty of confidentiality to the testator while she is alive. Your sister therefore has no right to see the Will unless the testator has left instructions with the solicitor allowing it or has left a copy in her papers to which your sister has access.

    That said, I think it would be reasonable to ask and expect to be given answers to specific questions. For example, "As POA I plan to sell her house, will this create any issues with executing her will in the future?"

    Having sight of the will is another matter. It could for example contain a bequest to someone your mother did not want you to know about until after she had died.
    Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are incapable of forming such opinions.
  • g6jns_2g6jns_2 Forumite
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    BobQ wrote: »
    If your mother lacks the capacity to change the will, the solicitor holding it has a duty of confidentiality to the testator while she is alive. Your sister therefore has no right to see the Will unless the testator has left instructions with the solicitor allowing it or has left a copy in her papers to which your sister has access.

    That said, I think it would be reasonable to ask and expect to be given answers to specific questions. For example, "As POA I plan to sell her house, will this create any issues with executing her will in the future?"

    Having sight of the will is another matter. It could for example contain a bequest to someone your mother did not want you to know about until after she had died.
    I don't think the solicitor has any grounds for breaching confidentiality
  • weezie7weezie7 Forumite
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    Thanks for the replies.


    It is purely that the POA wishes to make sure that the executors of the will, include a family member.


    In the past, for dad's will, it was the accountant, a solicitor and my stepmum, who took no interest, or action, in it at all.


    We are not sure if it is just solicitor and accountant for stepmum and there is a feeling that a family member should at least be involved.


    The issue with the accountant is, he is now semi retired, has some health problems himself, and does not seem 'on the ball' with what is happening to stepmums investment. Basic questions either seem to pass him by or he forgets and things take a long time to resolve. He is being paid, and we are questioning what he is doing for my stepmum.


    Dad left his half of the house, to all the children, in a Trust, which solicitor and accountant, and stepmum, now POA are trustees. We understand that trustees will not change, but if stepmum dies, again, no family member involved, as we assume POA, as stepmum, will be 'invalid'?!


    Any suggestions please?
  • MojisolaMojisola Forumite
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    Unless Stepmum made another will after your Dad died, then you know what her will says.

    I would ask for the solicitor to send a copy of her will to your Mum and see what happens.

    Keep any records of mishandling by the accountant if you are thinking of asking him to step down as an executor.

    As you should be acting in her best interest, you should really be looking for a better accountant to manage her financial affairs.
  • getmore4lessgetmore4less Forumite
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    You also need to have the terms of the trust.

    Chances are it was a life interest for mum and then passed to the children along with mums share.(if will has not changed)
    (you need the trust and will to be sure)

    It may be time to look at options for the property if it is no longer in use by and no possibility of her return.
  • weezie7weezie7 Forumite
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    getmore4less - exactly right. I have the details of Dads Trust. The house, which she no longer lives in, is for sale, (stepmums wishes since Dad died), and she does not want to move from the home where she is.
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