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Contentious Probate...

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Deaths, Funerals & Probate
15 replies 2.8K views
spaniel101spaniel101 Forumite
90 Posts
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Deaths, Funerals & Probate
Long 3 years into contentious probate. My father died a slow painful death 3 years ago, leaving my mother (75), my elder sister and myself. Sister lives away in scotland and never had any part in my fathers life nor late care/demise, apart from him being manipulated into changing his will on 1 of her visits (the other visit... to his solicitors), within 6 months prior to his death.



All was left to my sister, albeit their marital home my mother had in joint names, so now belongs to my mother through survivorship and she still lives in it (we now have in joint names with myself). We couldnt go down 'manipulation' route for the will ( increasingly expensive/difficult to prove) so we did an Inheritance Act claim with my mother.



My father owned another house, so this is the main asset of contention. We completed a settlement agreement in summer last year in mums favour, and this house is now up for sale, at sisters inflated price of +50% of its value. Compromise Agreement also includes a charge on the property for what is owed to my mother.



1. Sister has inflated the price of the property (+50%), even the lesser appropriate value was put on the probate forms correctly.


2. Sister refuses to sign my mothers 'Charging notice' on the property and is ignoring our/her solicitors on it (she's even changed solicitors once and I think her current ones are past caring with her now).



3. My mother should have received monthly updates on the property sale, sister has ignored.



4. Sister has received the Bill of Costs and has offered just 40% now, so our solicitors have issued a part 8 for costs proceedings.




It looks like our next path is going to be issuing proceedings on my sister not living up to the Compromise Agreement.



We havent had chance to catch up with our solicitor as its half term this week, I just wanted really to know if anyone has any experience of this?



Is this relatively 'academic' and par for the course?


Is issuing proceedings against 'compromise' the same as issuing on inheritance act or quicker / slower / (less/more expensive) process.
Can't help but think we would have been better off just Issuing last year instead of 'compromise' (I suspected we may end up here) but hind-sight is a wonderful thing and here we are.



Obviously for my mothers sake, I am just trying to filter through things for her and feel pretty much....helpless. I think my sister is biding for time, in the hope of my mothers demise, thinking she wont have to pay her anything out. Apologies for my waffling, I just needed to get this out in the universe...magic wand anyone?


TIA
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Replies

  • DoxDox Forumite
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    No magic wand, although I wish I had.

    I can understand why you are resorting to this sort of forum, in the hope of a few crumbs of comfort, but the reality is that all you can do is keep in touch with your own legal adviser and accept that it's a slow and miserable process.

    Poor you - and poor mum.
  • Yorkshireman99Yorkshireman99 Forumite
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    spaniel101 wrote: »
    Long 3 years into contentious probate. My father died a slow painful death 3 years ago, leaving my mother (75), my elder sister and myself. Sister lives away in scotland and never had any part in my fathers life nor late care/demise, apart from him being manipulated into changing his will on 1 of her visits (the other visit... to his solicitors), within 6 months prior to his death.



    All was left to my sister, albeit their marital home my mother had in joint names, so now belongs to my mother through survivorship and she still lives in it (we now have in joint names with myself). We couldnt go down 'manipulation' route for the will ( increasingly expensive/difficult to prove) so we did an Inheritance Act claim with my mother.



    My father owned another house, so this is the main asset of contention. We completed a settlement agreement in summer last year in mums favour, and this house is now up for sale, at sisters inflated price of +50% of its value. Compromise Agreement also includes a charge on the property for what is owed to my mother.



    1. Sister has inflated the price of the property (+50%), even the lesser appropriate value was put on the probate forms correctly.


    2. Sister refuses to sign my mothers 'Charging notice' on the property and is ignoring our/her solicitors on it (she's even changed solicitors once and I think her current ones are past caring with her now).



    3. My mother should have received monthly updates on the property sale, sister has ignored.



    4. Sister has received the Bill of Costs and has offered just 40% now, so our solicitors have issued a part 8 for costs proceedings.




    It looks like our next path is going to be issuing proceedings on my sister not living up to the Compromise Agreement.



    We havent had chance to catch up with our solicitor as its half term this week, I just wanted really to know if anyone has any experience of this?



    Is this relatively 'academic' and par for the course?


    Is issuing proceedings against 'compromise' the same as issuing on inheritance act or quicker / slower / (less/more expensive) process.
    Can't help but think we would have been better off just Issuing last year instead of 'compromise' (I suspected we may end up here) but hind-sight is a wonderful thing and here we are.



    Obviously for my mothers sake, I am just trying to filter through things for her and feel pretty much....helpless. I think my sister is biding for time, in the hope of my mothers demise, thinking she wont have to pay her anything out. Apologies for my waffling, I just needed to get this out in the universe...magic wand anyone?


    TIA
    Regrettably no magic wand. Personally I think your sister is riding for a big and expensive fall.
  • Tom99Tom99 Forumite
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    Has your mother updated her will?
  • spaniel101spaniel101 Forumite
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    Thank you all My mother has updated her will with myself and daughter (her grand-daughter) as beneficiaries. She has also transferred their marital home into joint names with myself and we have arranged both POA's. The only thing left of concern to us is what does my mother do with her settlement when she eventually gets it, which we hope is much sooner rather than later. I hope and pray that she goes on an Extra large spending spree...world cruise/re-furbs/lunch at the Dorchester, that sort of thing, simply put... enjoys every penny of it whilst she has the inclination and has the time of her life with it...meanwhile, how do we lock down her settlement so that its both easy for her to access herself...yet out of her estate?


    The only solutions we've come up with so far is a) spend it, spend it, spend it b) lock it in a pension style account, to enable her to utilize draw down to her convenience, whilst at the sametime takes it out of her estate, or something? I dont even know if this is feasible?


    One would like to think, when that unthinkable day comes in the very distant future, it would be very difficult for my sister to even get a fire started with a 'retaliation' Inheritance Act claim of her own, due to not qualifying in the first instance, then it has to be funded, but as we know all of her capabilities, mum completely understandably wants to plan for the worst case senario.
  • Yorkshireman99Yorkshireman99 Forumite
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    spaniel101 wrote: »
    Thank you all My mother has updated her will with myself and daughter (her grand-daughter) as beneficiaries. She has also transferred their marital home into joint names with myself and we have arranged both POA's. The only thing left of concern to us is what does my mother do with her settlement when she eventually gets it, which we hope is much sooner rather than later. I hope and pray that she goes on an Extra large spending spree...world cruise/re-furbs/lunch at the Dorchester, that sort of thing, simply put... enjoys every penny of it whilst she has the inclination and has the time of her life with it...meanwhile, how do we lock down her settlement so that its both easy for her to access herself...yet out of her estate?


    The only solutions we've come up with so far is a) spend it, spend it, spend it b) lock it in a pension style account, to enable her to utilize draw down to her convenience, whilst at the sametime takes it out of her estate, or something? I dont even know if this is feasible?


    One would like to think, when that unthinkable day comes in the very distant future, it would be very difficult for my sister to even get a fire started with a 'retaliation' Inheritance Act claim of her own, due to not qualifying in the first instance, then it has to be funded, but as we know all of her capabilities, mum completely understandably wants to plan for the worst case senario.
    Your mother needs to take some professional advice on estate planning. A solicitor who is a STEP member would be a good starting point.
  • MojisolaMojisola Forumite
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    spaniel101 wrote: »
    My mother has updated her will with myself and daughter (her grand-daughter) as beneficiaries.

    One would like to think, when that unthinkable day comes in the very distant future, it would be very difficult for my sister to even get a fire started with a 'retaliation' Inheritance Act claim of her own, due to not qualifying in the first instance

    My parents left their estate unevenly divided between their children (for a very good reason that we all agreed with) - their solicitor got them to write letters explaining their decisions which were kept with their wills just in case any of us decided to be awkward after they died. Wasn't that suggested when she made the new will?

    In earlier times, such info was often included in the will but wills become public documents and it's probably better to keep these family issues private.
  • spaniel101spaniel101 Forumite
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    Thank you Mojisola. Yes the letter of wishes is 'in progress'. Although it doesn't prevent a claim on an estate in itself, but helps a case against it if there were to be one.


    The other thing (in the 'walls up - prevention game) that was suggested to us was to not apply for Probate on my mothers estate when that time comes. I was of the impression that we would need probate for her house at least, but maybe not (as it would belong to myself by survivorship at that point in time) and with a bit of luck, there will be no cash left to speak of as such. I may have read on here somewhere that probate wouldn't necessarily be required too for her house in this circumstance?? (An inheritance act claim cant be made on an estate without the Probate).
  • MojisolaMojisola Forumite
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    spaniel101 wrote: »
    The other thing (in the 'walls up - prevention game) that was suggested to us was to not apply for Probate on my mothers estate when that time comes.

    I was of the impression that we would need probate for her house at least, but maybe not (as it would belong to myself by survivorship at that point in time) and with a bit of luck, there will be no cash left to speak of as such.

    We didn't have to go to probate when Mum died because the house was owned as 'joint tenants' with Dad and most of her accounts were joint with Dad so everything was automatically his.

    If it wouldn't affect your own financial position, it would be worth thinking about having the bulk of the money in joint accounts.

    If you do anything like this, it's worth getting it in writing in your Mum's words - so that you can't be accused of financial abuse and taking your Mum's money.

    Make sure you have an up-to-date will to sort out what would happen to the money if you died before your mother.
  • spaniel101spaniel101 Forumite
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    Mojisola wrote: »
    We didn't have to go to probate when Mum died because the house was owned as 'joint tenants' with Dad and most of her accounts were joint with Dad so everything was automatically his.


    This is useful to know as is the same as our executed plan with my mothers house. Did you purely apply for letters of administration or did you not even need those?


    If it wouldn't affect your own financial position, it would be worth thinking about having the bulk of the money in joint accounts.

    If you do anything like this, it's worth getting it in writing in your Mum's words - so that you can't be accused of financial abuse and taking your Mum's money.
    My understanding is that it would effect the means-tested benefits we receive for our daughter, therefore there is a requirement to avoid this route if possible.




    Make sure you have an up-to-date will to sort out what would happen to the money if you died before your mother.

    I hadn't thought about this potentially factoring on my side. Perhaps my mother and I should update both ours Wills when she has actually received settlement, to reflect the situation at that time. As Yorkshireman kindly suggested, we would be best served to speak to one of the other solicitors at the firm / or indeed an IFA when that time comes as to the best place for my mother to have access / and direct beneficiary.



    This is all such helpful advice, thank you so much.
  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    spaniel101 wrote: »
    My understanding is that it would effect the means-tested benefits we receive for our daughter, therefore there is a requirement to avoid this route if possible.
    Are these long-term benefits, ie more than child benefit?

    For child benefit (which I'm out of touch with), I'd just go with it and not worry. If it's long term DLA / PIP etc then getting advice from an organisation like MIND could be well-worthwhile.
    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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