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Very difficult situation regarding grandmother's will

edited 15 May 2018 at 6:59AM in Deaths, Funerals & Probate
164 replies 53.4K views
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  • Yorkshireman99Yorkshireman99 Forumite
    5.5K posts
    gll5dm wrote: »
    Apologies for my ignorance, but what exactly do you mean by "challenge the decisions of the trustees"?

    Am I right in thinking that if nobody requests any further funds then whatever remains now would be split 4 ways as the solicitor has told me?

    The danger being that two of the grandchildren are still under 25 and therefore have access to the funds for another year.
    The 25 years does not apply. Any of the bneficiaries of the trust entitled can demand their share at 18 despite what the trust deed says. Even so it would be difficult and expensive to force the trustees to do this.
  • edited 9 May 2017 at 4:06PM
    gll5dmgll5dm Forumite
    112 posts
    edited 9 May 2017 at 4:06PM
    The 25 years does not apply. Any of the bneficiaries of the trust entitled can demand their share at 18 despite what the trust deed says. Even so it would be difficult and expensive to force the trustees to do this.
    But wait... there is apparently no 'share'. As far as I am aware (to be confirmed when I see the will) there is a pot where all beneficiaries can request money from, which runs up until the final grandchild turns 25, after which whatever remains is divided between the four grandchildren.

    So me and my brothers could demand our 'share' now? And how would one go about doing this? The ages of all grandchildren are 23, 23, 31 and 35.

    Oh to be the youngest of the four ...

    But that makes absolutely no sense, as how on earth could that even be fair for the youngest of the four grandchildren to have full access to the fund simply due to his age?

    Also, you say any of the grandchildren can demand their share but it would be expensive to force the trustee to do this... I don't get that. Care to elaborate?

    I'll obviously be speaking to a professional about this, but I really appreciate your and all other responses I've had so far - thank you.
  • Yorkshireman99Yorkshireman99 Forumite
    5.5K posts
    gll5dm wrote: »
    But wait... there is apparently no 'share'. As far as I am aware (to be confirmed when I see the will) there is a pot where all beneficiaries can request money from, which runs up until the final grandchild turns 25, after which whatever remains is divided between the four grandchildren.

    So me and my brothers could demand our 'share' now? And how would one go about doing this? The ages of all grandchildren are 23, 23, 31 and 35.

    Oh to be the youngest of the four ...

    But that makes absolutely no sense, as how on earth could that even be fair for the youngest of the four grandchildren to have full access to the fund simply due to his age?

    Also, you say any of the grandchildren can demand their share but it would be expensive to force the trustee to do this... I don't get that. Care to elaborate?

    I'll obviously be speaking to a professional about this, but I really appreciate your and all other responses I've had so far - thank you.
    If it is, as seems to be the case, that the trust is discretionary, then the trustees can so almost as they please. You need to see the terms of the trust to put before a professional. I suspect that any attempt to recover money my be very expensive or even impossible. Prepare to be disappointed.
  • edited 9 May 2017 at 4:18PM
    gll5dmgll5dm Forumite
    112 posts
    edited 9 May 2017 at 4:18PM
    If it is, as seems to be the case, that the trust is discretionary, then the trustees can so almost as they please. You need to see the terms of the trust to put before a professional. I suspect that any attempt to recover money my be very expensive or even impossible. Prepare to be disappointed.
    Thanks again.

    Well, in one year's time the trust expires and (so I was told over the phone by the trustee) then the remaining money will be divided and paid to the four grandchildren. She (trustee) surely cannot sanction 40k of it to him in the knowledge this one grandchild has already received far, far more than anybody else, including the only child of the deceased. Particularly when the end of the trust is on the horizon and she knows there are four beneficiaries in total.

    Am I understanding that incorrectly? She told me that (regarding the fund lasting only one more year) so I see no reason not to believe her.

    She specifically told me only the two youngest grandchildren (those under 25 currently) still have access to the funds in the meantime, so I guess I have to hope no huge requests are made before they turn 25, right?

    Other than that (or if I am getting it all wrong please do point it out) is there anything else I should be considering?

    Also "I suspect that any attempt to recover money my be very expensive or even impossible" - I assume you're talking about recovering money in the meantime, i.e. before these two grandchildren turn 25, right?
  • Yorkshireman99Yorkshireman99 Forumite
    5.5K posts
    Without seeing the terms of the trust nobody can say!
  • edited 9 May 2017 at 4:25PM
    gll5dmgll5dm Forumite
    112 posts
    edited 9 May 2017 at 4:25PM
    Without seeing the terms of the trust nobody can say!
    I will find them, and I will provide you with them. ;)

    In all seriousness though, I am panicking because this one grandchild is a complete pain in the !rse of a man and absolutely does not deserve a single penny more than the piles of cash he's already been given. Comes from a terrible family and is involved with all sorts of dodgy people. Now I know this all plays no role at all in the will, but I'd be seething if he comes out of this a rich man while the grandchildren she actually knew, and particularly her own daughter, are left with nothing.

    That cannot be right. Nobody else from my family seems willing or capable of sorting this, so I've taken it upon myself to try and get to the bottom of it and stop this guy leeching every last penny from what our grandmother left behind.
  • GileadGilead Forumite
    90 posts
    Third Anniversary 10 Posts Name Dropper
    It is not about whether one grandchild is morally more deserving than the next, it is down to the legal outworking of the Trust as set up by your grandmother. You (or we) can question how this 'crazy' situation came about and associated pros and cons, but the will is the only thing that can shed light on it.

    On the face of it, all the grandchildren had equal right to make requests from the Trust while under 25? If so, you can't single out one grandchild for doing so - it was your grandmother's wish for that to happen (if will or explanatory documents don't say otherwise).

    Why are you only vexed about this now?
  • edited 9 May 2017 at 4:52PM
    gll5dmgll5dm Forumite
    112 posts
    edited 9 May 2017 at 4:52PM
    Gilead wrote: »
    It is not about whether one grandchild is morally more deserving than the next, it is down to the legal outworking of the Trust as set up by your grandmother. You (or we) can question how this 'crazy' situation came about and associated pros and cons, but the will is the only thing that can shed light on it.

    On the face of it, all the grandchildren had equal right to make requests from the Trust while under 25? If so, you can't single out one grandchild for doing so - it was your grandmother's wish for that to happen (if will or explanatory documents don't say otherwise).

    Why are you only vexed about this now?
    To start off with your final line: We were told for around 15 years that each grandchild was left X amount, and anything not given before the final grandchild reaches 25 will then be paid at this date. Hence no desperation or need to get my or our hands on our share. I was very relaxed in the knowledge that I'd received some of the funds for things such as a first car, a skiing holiday with my high school, university material, etc... and that whatever was left over would be a great financial boost in the future when my younger brother turns 25.

    There was never, ever, ever(!) any mention of losing access to funds at the age of 25 because we were always told that any money from our share (because, as I mention, we were told each person is left an equal share) that isn't given before the age of 25 will be paid out when the final grandchild reaches that age.

    In the last year or so the trustee of the will changed as the previous solicitor retired, and it came to light that what we thought all along, that we were left X amount, actually wasn't the case at all and it was essentially a free-for-all. I was older than 25 when this was revealed, and I am still older than 25 now, meaning I do not have access to any funds any more (or so the trustee told me on the phone last week).

    I have absolutely no idea how such a mix-up could occur, but since the real terms have been found out, I am way too old to benefit from them, unlike the youngest of the four grandchildren who still have one year to get their hands on as much of the money as possible ... and I repeat I understand my personal view on any of the beneficiaries plays no role at all, but one of them (the fourth grandchild) had no relationship with my grandmother but received his share plus his father's (due to his argument with my grandmother's husband before he died when the will was than changed quickly to cut the father out of it), while the other (brother of mine) is a cheapskate gambling addict who, if he is able to get his hands on it, will waste it all in a very quick period of time.

    Hence being incredibly vexed, as you may imagine ...

    This would all be much easier if I was able to pop round my parent's place to see their paperwork for myself, but unfortunately I am living abroad so it makes it that much more difficult.
  • GileadGilead Forumite
    90 posts
    Third Anniversary 10 Posts Name Dropper
    It does sound odd, and therefore would benefit from independent legal advice. Potentially the prior trustee could be liable for administrating the trust incorrectly (if current trustee is correct) - because that is a whopper of a error. Or explore if it is possible to put a pause on the Trust paying out by challenging it.
  • gll5dmgll5dm Forumite
    112 posts
    Gilead wrote: »
    It does sound odd, and therefore would benefit from independent legal advice. Potentially the prior trustee could be liable for administrating the trust incorrectly (if current trustee is correct) - because that is a whopper of a error. Or explore if it is possible to put a pause on the Trust paying out by challenging it.
    Exactly! It's horrific and leaves it wide open to being emptied to those who were of the right age when the true terms of the trust fund were revealed.

    I'll hopefully be getting some info on it tonight as my mother has paperwork at home; I've asked her to find old documents from the previous trustee who told everybody there is an equal share, etc, and also to dig out the paperwork from the current trustee plus the actual will itself.

    Thanks again for your input, greatly appreciated.
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