SevenOfNine wrote: »
I agree, the codicil isn't necessarily incorrect. My DTW is written with 1 executor & 3 trustees so it's not all named participants get to wear the same hats. Perhaps D felt that D1 & D2 should help/be involved with the probate process but only wanted W & F to have control over the DT.......personally I can see why!
Pity F wants nothing to do with it, & even more of a pity W started spending before probate was granted. It's possible the best W can hope (or try to aim for) is to remain as trustee but agree to have a responsible 'other' appointed as well, if that's an option?
I'm surprised D put everything he owned into the DT. What has W got in her own right?
carled wrote: »
She was removed for wrongdoing, you're absolutely right. The judge referred to it as a "minor victory" for D1 & D2. He did, however, comment that part of the reason he was removing her was to unblock the clear impasse that was preventing probate and unnecessarily prolonging the management of the estate. The judge had sympathy for her actions but didn't look much beyond the black and white of it.
carled wrote: »
This is verging on a bit of a polarised view here. Technically you're probably right. However as she was going to get that money in the end anyway, it's not quite the same thing as if, for example, a non-beneficiary executor had done the same thing!
Yorkshireman99 wrote: »
I can't see that the judge had any option but to remove her as she had clearly broken the law. I don't think she realizes what a serious matter it is. He easily could have reported her to the police with a view to prosecution. under the circumstances she has got off very lightly. Asking for repayment is not "a control mechanism" as the law does not allow people to benefit from their wrongdoing in this way. The other executors have a good case to recover the money if need be by reducing what she otherwise gets from the estate. Some of the money may well come her way eventually but that does not in any way excuse her.
Yorkshireman99 wrote: »
AIUI W gets nothing but the right to live in the house. She may get something from the DT but it is not certain. However that is not really the point. W was in a position of trust and abused that position which is a very serious matter. Abuse of trust can often result in a prison sentence which seems to be forgotten by many people. Sorry if the facts hurt but that is the reality.
SevenOfNine wrote: »
Sorry carled, I should have asked what does W have in her own right not from the Will, which you've already mentioned in much earlier posts: 50% of the house & a small pension (with the trust written as such to protect her right to remain living in the house, unless she remarries).
What's done so far is done, & what 'punishment' could have been dished out is clear so it shouldn't be necessary to labour that further. W acted out of ignorance rather than fraudulent intent, I think that's fair to say. We must not forget that W was bereaved & F decided to jump ship.
Are you SURE that D's Will does not state "my wife shall not be the sole trustee" anywhere.......because ours do. Just double check so W doesn't trip over it later when trying to defend her position as sole trustee.
Though TBH I don't think she should, would be prudent perhaps to agree to relinquish the role in favour of a independent professionals, to be agreed upon, OR add either D1 or D2 in with one of those plus W, making 3 people. Though professionals administering a trust don't do it for nothing! At least then there would be someone representing both 'sides' of the potential trust beneficiaries & a neutral in the middle.
D1 & D2 won't trust W one little bit further if quoting the trustees power to use trust assets for the benefit of one or more of the potential beneficiaries exclusive of the others. It just counts against W's judgement as a sole trustee.
You've said initially W spent trust assets on "expensive planned maintenance arranged by D before his death". Was this 'maintenance' or home improvements? There will always be an element of payment from the trust to maintain the 50% house asset contained within it, but of course there will be limitations on that which won't include new bathroom, kitchen & the like & you did say "expensive".
You've said D1 & D2 want W to repay the trust for that work (after having said W could keep it - that particular point might be best left now as the opportunity to raise it by W's lawyer may have been missed). W doesn't have the money to do so, but is there enough cash asset left in the trust to give D1 & D2 the same share each, so putting all 3 potential beneficiaries back on an even footing, while fairer trust management is put in place?
I'm afraid it's far too simple & extremely common for things to turn ugly after a death. Greed rears it's ugly head all too soon, sadly.
I don't think you quite trust W's lawyer, might be appropriate for the next step to get one you have more faith in to properly represent her - & attend to ensure that happens. Good luck.
carled wrote: »
No restriction at all in the will about her being the sole trustee. All along we've just assumed that D1 & D2 were trustees too, but the wording is explicit in making them executors only. They have made representations in emails and in legal documents that certainly imply that they feel they are trustees, so I imagine now that the reality has been pointed out to them, they're feeling a bit nervous.
I think W will be very wont to relinquish her role as trustee. Not that she wants to use the power to benefit herself financially, the main problem is that D1 & D2 are invading her life with regards to the house. They have, without reference to her, added themselves as interested parties to her own home insurance policy and also added themselves on the land registry document. There is apparently a declaration of trust that makes W & D tenants in common, although this was not updated onto the land registry (which had them as joint tenants). At some point many years ago, D set up the declaration of trust without explaining to W what it was. She was told to sign paperwork all the time without explanation as he controlled the finances so never had the implications explained.
Anyhow, the problem now is that every little thing she may want to do to house or land she has to do with reference to them and they have already demonstrated their reluctance to leave her in peace. For example W was trying to sell off a small piece of virtual waste ground at the very back of the land to a neighbour as he wanted to expand his garden slightly. D1 & D2 got wind of this and simply refused to let her negotiate a sale. It's this element of control freakery she wants to get rid of, so she hopes to use her position as trustee to achieve a deal that removes their interest in the property other than on her death when they get their share. She wants them to have no interest, knowledge of what she's doing or control over it (she realises she has to keep the property in good order, of course) and wants to use the DT to negotiate that with them if possible. Her worst nightmare is them being able to control the DT and her havign to ask their permission if she wants to repair the fencing or get a handyman in to cut a tree branch off.
The planned maintenance was a complete re-rendering of the property. It is an old house and had terrible damp (black walls, water running down them, cold, horrible, you name it) as it had been badly done back in the 70s. It was actually a health hazard and hardly an extravagance to get it done as it has cured the damp problem and made the house warmer and more pleasant to live in. The rendering company has written a letter stating it was highly necessary maintenance in order to keep the property in good order. If W had refused to do it, then D1 & D2 would next have stated she's not adhering to the will as she's not "keeping it in good order" so she can't win either way!
W already proposed that D1 & D2 had the remaining 2/3 split between them but it was refused way back before the real evil legal stuff began. She'd still agree to that arrangement if they'd accept a rewriting of the will to remove their interest in the property other than their beneficial interest on W's death and that offer has been on the table for a while, but they have no interest in it. A mutual friend of both saw D1 & D2 at a function in the village not long ago at which the ongoing estate dispute was briefly raised. They both stated quite clearly that their intention is to get every penny they can away from W, basically, no matter what it takes. It's not pretty and I wish they could all just agree on something without continuing to erode what funds remain in relatively pointless legal wrangling.
poppystar wrote: »
I accept that it is emotionally charged when someone else becomes a part owner in the property you call home ..
BUT it is NOT "control freakery" to not want someone to sell something or part of something that had been gifted to you by your parent.
[Paint a wall yes - sell of part of the property NO]
How would W have felt if D1 and D2 had been able to sell off any bits of the house and grounds they wanted when they wanted. The protection in a life interest must work both ways.
Equally they are well within their rights to ensure that the Land Registry and insurance companies are aware of their interest.
This type of ownership (tenants-in-common where one party has been bequeathed their share) is becoming more common and I see the way many of the, usually elderly, now part owners of their own homes are struggling with the change. I feel that many couples take the tenants-in-common route for money managing reasons without considering the emotional impact on the surviving partner even in cases where family relations are good.
W needs to come to terms with this or any future legal confrontations will see her saying things like the control freakery comment that will not serve her well and may make people reluctant to give her sole trusteeship.
I do understand her upset but she was party to the split of the house (severing the tenancy) and must now respect that.
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