How to deal with probate when 1 executor of will is refusing to act?

My 96 year old father died this year leaving an old will with 3 executors, myself, his 91 year old wife (not my mother) and an elderly friend. His wife gets house, tennants in common, and I guess the contents too.  I get any financial assets but his wife has told solicitors that he has none, but I know this wasn't true a few years ago when he sent me a list without telling her. Over the months since his death I have found that most of his investments have gone (wife had father's POA for many years), but not all, so I need to apply for probate.  Solicitor holding the will won't release it to me without a letter of authority and 2 certified IDs from other 2 executors.  I drafted a letter and the 3rd executor has signed it and supplied ID.  The wife will not do this, she is sitting on her inheritance so has no incentive, quite the opposite and unfortunately now dementia is taking over and she thinks everyone is out to get her. The solicitor holding the will refuses to release to me and I need original to put in with probate.  Wife has never done her own POA to anyone's knowledge. I have stalled and don't know way out.  Any suggestions please? 
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  • Unfortunately dementia can make people paranoid, it’s even more unfortunate your father never updated his will (why on earth did he just not leave his share to you and give his wife a life interest?) 

    The only thing you can do is to get her removed as an executor but that will involve legal costs, is there enough of your inheritance left to make this worthwhile?
  • jlfrs01
    jlfrs01 Posts: 279
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    Slightly complex situation this because your father presumably owned everything jointly with your mother so Probate doesn't need to be applied for as she is still alive.

    Perhaps one option may be to forget about applying for Probate and concentrate on establishing what your late father's Estate actually comprises of in terms of assets and liabilities. This would mean contacting any institutions he had investments with and banks, etc. You would have to know what these are to apply for Probate anyway and if there truly are none, then there's nothing to be gained. As your late father gave you a list of what these are the Solicitor may not have to go off cap in hand to youe mother to ask for details.
  • Keep_pedalling
    Keep_pedalling Posts: 16,226
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    jlfrs01 said:
    Slightly complex situation this because your father presumably owned everything jointly with your mother so Probate doesn't need to be applied for as she is still alive.

    Perhaps one option may be to forget about applying for Probate and concentrate on establishing what your late father's Estate actually comprises of in terms of assets and liabilities. This would mean contacting any institutions he had investments with and banks, etc. You would have to know what these are to apply for Probate anyway and if there truly are none, then there's nothing to be gained. As your late father gave you a list of what these are the Solicitor may not have to go off cap in hand to youe mother to ask for details.
    You need to read the opening post again, it is not the OPs mother, and although probate is not required for the house it sounds like it is for the investments.
  • poppystar
    poppystar Posts: 1,261
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    A first step might be for those investments which you think do still exist to ensure the institutions have been informed of your father’s death and are frozen. That way no more can be ‘lost’ if wife attempts to move money under the POA and they have not been informed so may still believe it is valid. 

    You may find it is also possible to get statements detailing the value of these investments and possibly transactions over recent years so you can track what has happened to the money. Most institutions will provide this before probate and with a copy of the Will. Yes, they may ask for ID from other executors but equally they may not. 

    Was wife the informant on your father’s death certificate? If you were this might help in getting the info. Pre probate I was only ever asked for ID, copy of death certificate and copy of Will. 

    You say you don’t think wife has set up a POA, has she a Will? If not, does she have blood relatives who will inherit from her when the time comes? Presumably if the dementia worsens someone will have to get guardianship in lieu of POA. At that point if she lacks capacity then presumably you can then get probate for your father as she will no longer be able to be an executor? 
  • jlfrs01
    jlfrs01 Posts: 279
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    You need to read the opening post again, it is not the OPs mother, and although probate is not required for the house it sounds like it is for the investments.
    Apologies for an honest mistake shfanne_2.

    It's unfortunate Keep_peddalling appears to prefer the role of the pendant in looking for inaccuracies in other members' offers of potential help rather than stating the obvious without offering any possible solutions his or her self. 
  • Marcon
    Marcon Posts: 10,027
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    shfanne_2 said:
    My 96 year old father died this year leaving an old will with 3 executors, myself, his 91 year old wife (not my mother) and an elderly friend. His wife gets house, tennants in common, and I guess the contents too.  I get any financial assets but his wife has told solicitors that he has none, but I know this wasn't true a few years ago when he sent me a list without telling her. Over the months since his death I have found that most of his investments have gone (wife had father's POA for many years), but not all, so I need to apply for probate.  Solicitor holding the will won't release it to me without a letter of authority and 2 certified IDs from other 2 executors.  I drafted a letter and the 3rd executor has signed it and supplied ID.  The wife will not do this, she is sitting on her inheritance so has no incentive, quite the opposite and unfortunately now dementia is taking over and she thinks everyone is out to get her. The solicitor holding the will refuses to release to me and I need original to put in with probate.  Wife has never done her own POA to anyone's knowledge. I have stalled and don't know way out.  Any suggestions please? 
    I think you need to get yourself some legal advice of your own (ie from a different firm of solicitors). This sounds very messy but might not be quite as bad as you fear.
    Googling on your question might have been both quicker and easier, if you're only after simple facts rather than opinions!  
  • Malthusian
    Malthusian Posts: 10,838
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    edited 25 October 2023 at 1:30PM
    JLFRS is partially correct - the institutions and banks will give OP a value of the late father's accounts on presentation of the death certificate before probate is granted. (Otherwise you wouldn't be able to work out the IHT bill, without which you can't pay the IHT bill, without which you can't get Grant of Probate.)
    So it wasn't a bad idea, except that it sounds as if the OP may have already done this. "Over the months since his death I have found that most of his investments have gone (wife had father's POA for many years), but not all, so I need to apply for probate."
    So nothing to add to KP's first post: the OP needs to speak to a solicitor about removing the stepmother as executor, if there is enough left in the father's residual estate to make it worthwhile.

    Keep_pedalling said:
    (why on earth did he just not leave his share to you and give his wife a life interest?) 
    Maybe he thought that his share of the house absolutely to his wife and the other assets (that he owned at the time) to his child would be a fair split. He wouldn't be the first.
    If a solicitor is holding the Will it suggests that he used one to write it, who would have advised him on the option of a life interest trust if appropriate. 
  • Keep_pedalling
    Keep_pedalling Posts: 16,226
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    jlfrs01 said:
    You need to read the opening post again, it is not the OPs mother, and although probate is not required for the house it sounds like it is for the investments.
    Apologies for an honest mistake shfanne_2.

    It's unfortunate Keep_peddalling appears to prefer the role of the pendant in looking for inaccuracies in other members' offers of potential help rather than stating the obvious without offering any possible solutions his or her self. 
    I suggest you look at my posting history on this board before making such a statement. 
  • Can you employ the solicitor to do the probate if they won't release the Will to you?  Yes, it will cost but it might shift the stalemate.
  • Unfortunately dementia can make people paranoid, it’s even more unfortunate your father never updated his will (why on earth did he just not leave his share to you and give his wife a life interest?) 

    The only thing you can do is to get her removed as an executor but that will involve legal costs, is there enough of your inheritance left to make this worthwhile?
    His wife was the boss and told him she needed everything!  She is convinced there is nothing in his name but I have found a nice 5 figure sum so it is worth proceeding, I may have to wait until she is officially declared incapable.  Since posting this the solicitor has released the will, I am going to see if her son can get her to renunciate her role as executor.
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