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Inheritance issue

24 replies 3.1K views
A few months ago my Grandmother passed away. I wasn't told of any will nor of myself being a beneficiary, although I knew from prior conversations with my Grandmother that she had one in which she had named myself and my children as beneficiaries of both specific cash gifts and as residuaries. After enquiring concerning the will my mother cut off contact with me. I was then told by another family member that my mother will be ignoring myself and my children in regards to the will.
Forward to this month and I found the grant of probate and will on probatesearch for my grandmother's estate. I and my children are indeed in the will, exactly as my grandmother had told me. My aunt and mother (who are named as the executors in the will) have hired a Solicitor to handle the estate for them, but the solicitor didn't contact me to let me know I am a beneficiary; I'm guessing my family told them they have no contact details for me. I contacted the solicitor myself last week, confirmed they are indeed handling the estate and was told by their receptionist that they won't be talking to me due to a potential "conflict of interest"; they won't even confirm I am a beneficiary despite me telling them I have the will in front of me.
I've asked what possible conflict of interest a solicitor executing an estate could have with a named beneficiary but I've received no further answer; they won't even tell me what documents they need for me to prove who I am.
I'm a bit lost as to what to do now. The amount we'd be receiving isn't really a lot, alone it would probably cover the costs of a solicitor but then there'd be nothing left, so I'm not sure how I can go about ensuring myself and my children receive our rightful inheritance.
Any ideas what I can do?
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Replies

  • McJR82McJR82 Forumite
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    First Post
    I forgot to mention that I emigrated 12 years ago for work reasons and no longer live in the UK; my Grandmother and the executors/solicitor are however in the UK.
  • edited 26 July at 10:37PM
    pphillipspphillips Forumite
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    edited 26 July at 10:37PM
    Write to the solicitor notifying them that you are a beneficiary of your grandmother's estate enclosing a certified copy of documents that prove your identity and address.
  • SocajamSocajam Forumite
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    I would also inform them that if the estate is distributed without receiving what is due to you and your children, you will report them to the appropriate authorities

    Where do I complain about a solicitor UK?
    If you have complained to your solicitor about poor service and you are not satisfied with their response, you can contact the Legal Ombudsman.
    You can contact the Legal Ombudsman by:
    • calling them on 0300 555 0333.
    • going to the Legal Ombudsman website.
    • emailing them at [email protected]uk.

  • SevenOfNineSevenOfNine Forumite
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    Before jumping the gun with the complaining, do as pphillips has suggested.  They don't need to, & probably actually can't, discuss things with you as they work/ed for the executors.  

    If they fail to even acknowledge you, then you should raise a FORMAL complaint with them, either the law firm or the lawyer.  Bearing in mind it's possible all they were handling was the obtaining of probate, not the collecting & distribution of the estate funds.

    If that's the case then it's a different ballgame.
    Seen it all, done it all, can't remember most of it.
  • McJR82McJR82 Forumite
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    First Post
    pphillips said:
    Write to the solicitor notifying them that you are a beneficiary of your grandmother's estate enclosing a certified copy of documents that prove your identity and address.
    Is a british passport enough to confirm my identity?
    SevenOfNine said:
    Before jumping the gun with the complaining, do as pphillips has suggested.  They don't need to, & probably actually can't, discuss things with you as they work/ed for the executors.  

    If they fail to even acknowledge you, then you should raise a FORMAL complaint with them, either the law firm or the lawyer.  Bearing in mind it's possible all they were handling was the obtaining of probate, not the collecting & distribution of the estate funds.

    If that's the case then it's a different ballgame.
    I just tried calling them again to talk to the solicitor involved, her receptionist tried to give her the phone and she flat out refused to have any contact with me. They're refusing to even confirm I am a named beneficiary. The receptionist told me I am free to report them to the SRA (who regulates them), but they said it won't come to anything.
  • McJR82McJR82 Forumite
    8 posts
    First Post
    The receptionist has told me the solicitor involved says that because she's working for my "Grandmother" (who is deceased) that having any contact with me would be a conflict of interest as I am trying to make a claim against her estate. They refuse to acknowledge I am a named beneficiary. I had the receptionist take down my contact details (although they can always say they did no such thing I guess). I'll be following pphillips recommendation and sending them a letter with certified documents.

    Does anyone know what they mean by conflict of interest? I thought it was required of them to talk to beneficiaries and let them know what's going on.
  • edited 28 July at 11:24AM
    xylophonexylophone Forumite
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    edited 28 July at 11:24AM

    https://www.irwinmitchell.com/personal/probate/probate-guide/beneficiary-rights

    The point is, that as you have a copy of will and probate, you know that you are a beneficiary.

    It seems that you know the identity of the executors and you know that they have appointed a firm of solicitors to assist in administration.

    Therefore write to both the firm of solicitors and to the executors with a certified copy of your  passport and details of your current address, advising them that you are aware that you are a beneficiary and expect to be advised of your entitlement as soon as possible.
  • Mickey666Mickey666 Forumite
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    I can sort of see that they would not want to discuss the details of the will with someone on the phone asking about the details of the will, though it seems a bit daft when they know wills are publically available anyway.
    But I would forget all about that and, as above, write to them formally with certified copies of the relevant documents and proof of your address and identity.  A passport should be fine.  Not living in the UK should be irrelevant.  Your mother and aunt may be the executors but they can't (legally) just cut a declared beneficiary out of the will, and I can't imagine a solicitor would accept any instruction in that regard.
  • JGB1955JGB1955 Forumite
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    Just a thought - you're not a residual beneficiary are you? Could it be that there is no residual estate to distribute?
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  • Mickey666Mickey666 Forumite
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    JGB1955 said:
    Just a thought - you're not a residual beneficiary are you? Could it be that there is no residual estate to distribute?
    Even if that was the case, the solicitors acting for the executors would surely have to talk with such a beneficiary and show proof that there was nothing to distribute?

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