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Payment of bequests

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Deaths, Funerals & Probate
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dog_nannydog_nanny Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Deaths, Funerals & Probate
My OH and I are dealing with his Mother's estate. Along with a typed sheet giving her funeral wishes, we found a hand-written sheet detailing small cash bequests to her grandchildren and a friend.
We realise we cannot finalise the split of the estate between my OH and his brothers until the house is sold, but can we pay these small bequests as soon as we have access to MIL's bank accounts? They only amount to about one-tenth of her total savings.

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  • Keep_pedallingKeep_pedalling Forumite
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    it sounds like these were not part of a will, so you have to make sure the residual beneficiaries of the will are OK for these to be paid. If she died intestate, then all those inheriting under the laws of intestacy must do likewise.
  • SeniorSamSeniorSam Forumite
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    Be aware that as Executors, you are responsible for the distribution as well as payment of any debts. If debts arise after distribution, then the responsibility of those will be yours. As long as you are certain that there are no debts, then you can use your discretion. This is one of the reasons why professional Executors take do long to reach distribution. They need to advertise the death and check on debts as they could be responsible too.
    I'm a retired IFA who specialised for many years in Inheritance Tax, Wills and Trusts. I cannot offer advice now, so my comments are just meant to be helpful.
  • AnotherJoeAnotherJoe Forumite
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    If the beneficiaries are OK with it then yes. Otherwise, you cannot legally do that.
    You could of course take the money from what your OH is due which is really just him giving that money.

    We had similar with my mum, she left a codicil that wasn't valid.

    However only two beneficiaries, me and my brother, and we were fine to distribute as per her wishes.
  • xylophonexylophone Forumite
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    small cash bequests to her grandchildren and a friend.

    These cannot properly be described as bequests as they were not made in the will.

    With regard to the grandchildren, the offspring of the deceased (who appear to be beneficiaries named in the will) should be shown their mother's letter of wishes - it is up to them whether they use part of their inheritance to give to their children.

    With regard to the friend, the beneficiaries of the estate would need to agree that the gift could be made from the money that they themselves would otherwise inherit.
  • dog_nannydog_nanny Forumite
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    Thanks for the help. The three brothers are all ok with the bequests (to their own children/grandchildren), so i think we're ok to pay out once we have the funds.
  • unholyangelunholyangel Forumite
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    erbriggs wrote: »
    Thanks for the help. The three brothers are all ok with the bequests (to their own children/grandchildren), so i think we're ok to pay out once we have the funds.

    Only other thing I'd add to the good advice above is to be careful if any of the brothers are on means tested benefits as they are essentially giving away money that is legally theirs.
    Money doesn't solve poverty.....it creates it.
  • peterfarguspeterfargus Forumite
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    Due to a really complex will, I am due to pay out pecuniary bequests which are 9 years old (i.e. from 2011). I believe I can add interest to these bequests before I pay out to residual beneficiaries. Is there any guidance on how much interest I should add?
  • edited 7 February at 5:22PM
    xylophonexylophone Forumite
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    edited 7 February at 5:22PM

      If you type HMRC interest on late paid bequests  into Google, you will find a link to a pdf

    Administration of estates from Goughs.  It says 

    If cash legacies are not paid within 12 months of the date of death, interest is payable on the legacies from that date at the statutory rate, currently 0.1%*.

    The date of the document indicates 2018/19.

    I assume that the "statutory rate" may vary from year to year - your solicitor may well be able to give some guidance.


  • xylophonexylophone Forumite
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    Apropos of the above, if you type statutory rate of interest on pecuniary legacies into Google you should come up with Data Page Law Society Gazette - at the very bottom right

    England & Wales: Interest on General Legacies: 0.1% w.e.f. 6.6.16

    (previously 0.3% 1.7.09). Interest on Statutory Legacies (for deaths before

    1 October 2014): 6% w.e.f. 1.10.83 (previously 7% w.e.f. 15.9.77):

    Interest on Fixed Net Sums (for deaths from 1 October 2014): Bank of

    England rate at date of death (currently 0.50%) w.e.f. 2.11.17.

    The above might be relevant?


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