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  • FIRST POST
    • NKR
    • By NKR 11th Jan 18, 6:44 PM
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    NKR
    co-executor refusing to transfer agreed money to his beneficiary daughter
    • #1
    • 11th Jan 18, 6:44 PM
    co-executor refusing to transfer agreed money to his beneficiary daughter 11th Jan 18 at 6:44 PM
    My brother and I were joint executors for my father's estate. Everything was left 50/50 to each of us, with the exception of money that he had put into named accounts with a Unit Trust provider, for his grandchildren. As executors, we had agreed that this money should be distributed to his daughter "T", and my son "F", and the remaining estate split between us. This was recorded in a spreadsheet that we had created to track everything. We also exchanged emails, of which I have a copy, in which he acknowledges transferring the money for "T" (about £12,000) from the account we had set up for my late father's estate, into his own account. We had agreed that he would send the money to his daughter, and me to my Son. I did this immediately, and my son acknowledged receipt of the funds by email to both of us.
    About this time my brother discovered a previous boyfriend relationship that his daughter had had, of which he very strongly disapproved. This was the beginning of a rupture in their relationship. About a month after I'd transferred the money to my son, I asked if he had done the same to his daughter. He said he hadn't because he thought she was a spendthrift, and would just fritter the money away. I told him that this was irrelevant, and that he had a legal duty as executor to transfer the money to her. This was all in November 2014. Subsequently, my brother & I became estranged, and have not communicated. I have been in more regular contact with "T" over the last few months, providing some career guidance etc (she has no contact with her father), and it soon became apparent that she had not received the inheritance.
    I have just sent emails to my brother asking that he carry out his duties as executor.
    What recourse do I have if he refuses to transfer the money? It seems that he has committed probate fraud, but I would like a solution that avoids expensive litigation.
Page 1
    • Margot123
    • By Margot123 11th Jan 18, 6:52 PM
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    Margot123
    • #2
    • 11th Jan 18, 6:52 PM
    • #2
    • 11th Jan 18, 6:52 PM
    Seek professional legal advice for this. Most local solicitors offer a free 20 minute session in which you will be able to ask your options.
    • Keep pedalling
    • By Keep pedalling 11th Jan 18, 7:55 PM
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    Keep pedalling
    • #3
    • 11th Jan 18, 7:55 PM
    • #3
    • 11th Jan 18, 7:55 PM
    If the unit trusts were written in trust to the grandchildren, they did not form part of your father’s estate and should have been paid directly to the beneficiaries unless they were minors at the time, in which case they should have been held in trust until they reached 18.

    If on the other hand they weren’t and simply formed part of his estate then any reallocation should have been done through a deed of variation. If this is the case then your informal executors agreements means nothing, and he is under no obligation to give any share of his inheritance to his daughter, and your son’s “inheritance” as actually a gift from you.
    • Tom99
    • By Tom99 12th Jan 18, 2:04 AM
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    Tom99
    • #4
    • 12th Jan 18, 2:04 AM
    • #4
    • 12th Jan 18, 2:04 AM
    If the unit trusts were written in trust to the grandchildren, they did not form part of your father’s estate and should have been paid directly to the beneficiaries unless they were minors at the time, in which case they should have been held in trust until they reached 18.

    If on the other hand they weren’t and simply formed part of his estate then any reallocation should have been done through a deed of variation. If this is the case then your informal executors agreements means nothing, and he is under no obligation to give any share of his inheritance to his daughter, and your son’s “inheritance” as actually a gift from you.
    Originally posted by Keep pedalling
    I would think the OP is saying the amount in the Unit Trust was left to his grandchildren in his will.
    • Keep pedalling
    • By Keep pedalling 12th Jan 18, 9:14 AM
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    Keep pedalling
    • #5
    • 12th Jan 18, 9:14 AM
    • #5
    • 12th Jan 18, 9:14 AM
    I would think the OP is saying the amount in the Unit Trust was left to his grandchildren in his will.
    Originally posted by Tom99
    I think you need to read the opening post again, the will was a simple 50/50 split.
    • jackyann
    • By jackyann 12th Jan 18, 9:25 AM
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    jackyann
    • #6
    • 12th Jan 18, 9:25 AM
    • #6
    • 12th Jan 18, 9:25 AM
    I would think the OP is saying the amount in the Unit Trust was left to his grandchildren in his will.
    Originally posted by Tom99
    I think that this is unclear. OP says that the amount in the Unit Trust was 'for his grandchildren' AND that the executors 'had agreed'. The fact that they transferred the money into their own accounts, with the intention of transferring it to T & F, indicates to me that this was an informal agreement, not stated in the will.

    So OP, I think it all hinges on what the will actually said. If it does not specifically name T & F (or grandchildren) then it would appear to me that your bother has acted legally (if not morally).
    If you have any proof of your father's wishes, then you may think it worthwhile seeking legal advice.
    Even if you have no legal recourse, I would keep the paperwork and information that you have. Family feuds shift about a bit, and you may yet be able to persuade your brother to honour your father's wishes.

    Can I, at a personal level, suggest you consider another approach to your brother? Saying something like that in the course of your discussions with your niece about her career, it seems that she is now mature enough to handle the money properly. That gives your brother a reason to hand over the money and save face.

    Of course, if the will does name the grandchildren, then tell your brother you will be seeking legal advice.

    Good luck
    • Tom99
    • By Tom99 12th Jan 18, 9:38 AM
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    Tom99
    • #7
    • 12th Jan 18, 9:38 AM
    • #7
    • 12th Jan 18, 9:38 AM
    I think you need to read the opening post again, the will was a simple 50/50 split.
    Originally posted by Keep pedalling
    "with the exception of money that he had put into named accounts with a Unit Trust provider, for his grandchildren"
    • Jenniefour
    • By Jenniefour 12th Jan 18, 11:07 AM
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    Jenniefour
    • #8
    • 12th Jan 18, 11:07 AM
    • #8
    • 12th Jan 18, 11:07 AM
    "with the exception of money that he had put into named accounts with a Unit Trust provider, for his grandchildren"
    Originally posted by Tom99
    Perhaps OP will clarify. Keep pedalling has covered both possible scenarios neatly - either the accounts for the grandchildren were held in trust for them, didn't form part of the estate and should have been handed over to the grandchildren or it was an informal agreement between OP and his/her brother and discretionary. If it's the former then OP might want to get legal advice since he/she has a joint responsibility as co-executor to ensure the estate has been dealt with properly.
    • NKR
    • By NKR 4th Feb 18, 9:07 PM
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    NKR
    • #9
    • 4th Feb 18, 9:07 PM
    • #9
    • 4th Feb 18, 9:07 PM
    Hi
    Thanks to all for replying. I apologise for the delay, I have been travelling. I have some follow up questions based on the advice received.
    Indeed, the will stipulated that the the residual estate be split 50/50 between my brother and myself. According to the advice above, the decision to distribute the money in the named accounts was infact an informal agreement. If this is the case, then I have a follow up question. I see that there are 2 scenarios, and I would like to know best how to proceed.
    Before that - some additional background. I have 2 children - a daughter "L" as well as son "F". During the lifetime of my father, "L" was in process of buying a flat, and my father willingly liquidated the contents of the AT account in her name, and gifted it to her to help in the purchase. (this also backs up the fact that he saw the money as destined for the named grandchildren). Also, because I had 2 children, to my brother's one, it had been agreed that the the only daughter, "T", on mt brother's side, would have a larger contribution, that each of my 2 children. The values weer approximately £7k for each of "L" & "F", and £12k for "T". It is this asymmetry that is at the heart of my next question.
    I would like to know with which, if any, of the 2 scenarios I should proceed.
    A) Assume that my distribution of £7k to my son "F" was done as an executor distribution, not forming part of the estate. My brother, by his actions (not distributing after > 3 years), has accepted that the 12k he transferred from the estate to his bank account was never intended to go to his daughter. In this case, he has received £12k more than I have from the estate, so I should be entitled to 50% of this. (I would plan to gift this to his daughter). In this scenario, he owes me £6k.
    B) Assume that the £7k I transferred to my son, was in fact a distribution from the estate to me, and I chose to gift to my son. So I received £7k, my brother received £12k. To restore this to the 50/50 split mandated by the will, my brother should give me £2.5k (so we each receive £9.5k). Again, I would plan to gift to his daughter "T".

    So, in either of these cases, my brother owes me money (£6k or £2.5k). What is the best way to recover this money? A small claims court?

    Note, in reply to some of the other comments, I have tried a reasonable approach, I have proposed a close friend of my brother's as an intermediary, or informal arbitrator, only to be met by hysterical abuse from his wife.
    Any guidance on the way forwards, and which (A ir B) is the better path gratefully received.
    • Yorkshireman99
    • By Yorkshireman99 4th Feb 18, 9:23 PM
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    Yorkshireman99
    You should have received what you were entitled to under the will i.e. 50% of the residuary estate. All the other transactions fall outside the estate. Probably a written letter before action send Signed For to your brother is realisticly the next step. The the Small Claim Court.
    • NKR
    • By NKR 4th Feb 18, 9:55 PM
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    NKR
    Thanks. Just to be clear, are you suggesting the amount in A or B?
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 4th Feb 18, 10:06 PM
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    getmore4less
    If those accounts were in the names of the grandchildren they may have been previous gifts held as bare trusts by the grandfather.
    • Yorkshireman99
    • By Yorkshireman99 4th Feb 18, 10:58 PM
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    Yorkshireman99
    If those accounts were in the names of the grandchildren they may have been previous gifts held as bare trusts by the grandfather.
    Originally posted by getmore4less
    Which is totally meaningless to those who don't understand what you mean by the terminology.. Why not explain for the benefit of the OP.?
    Last edited by Yorkshireman99; 05-02-2018 at 8:24 AM.
    • NKR
    • By NKR 5th Feb 18, 7:57 AM
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    NKR
    I am confident that they were not bare trusts. My father never mentioned that, and there was no paperwork that we found while doing probate & searching the house.
    • Yorkshireman99
    • By Yorkshireman99 5th Feb 18, 8:32 AM
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    Yorkshireman99
    The whole thing is a complete shambles. The executor has to distribute estate as per the will. If they do not then they are liable to any beneficiary that was not paid. What a beneficiary does with the money afterwards has nothing to do with he executor or the estate. So you are, as far as I can see, still owed what was left to you in the will.
    • Keep pedalling
    • By Keep pedalling 5th Feb 18, 9:13 AM
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    Keep pedalling
    The whole thing is a complete shambles. The executor has to distribute estate as per the will. If they do not then they are liable to any beneficiary that was not paid. What a beneficiary does with the money afterwards has nothing to do with he executor or the estate. So you are, as far as I can see, still owed what was left to you in the will.
    Originally posted by Yorkshireman99
    But as an executor who agreed to this omnishambles, isn’t the OP liable for their own losses?
    • NKR
    • By NKR 5th Feb 18, 9:57 AM
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    NKR
    In retrospect, it seems we should have done a deed of variation, to ensure that the money that our father intended to go to the 2 grandchildren did that. Apart from that, it was a simple will, and we as co-executors had agreed to do exactly what our father had intended. (This was very clear from conversations with him). This would have protected "T" from the sudden and extreme breakdown in relationship with her father, my brother. Is there anything else missing?
    • Yorkshireman99
    • By Yorkshireman99 5th Feb 18, 10:00 AM
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    Yorkshireman99
    But as an executor who agreed to this omnishambles, isn’t the OP liable for their own losses?
    Originally posted by Keep pedalling
    To be honest the whole story is so convoluted I am not sure! Untimately if the executor has not paid out all the funds to the correct person then they have some liability. If the OP does go to court the judge will be tearing his hair out!
    • Margot123
    • By Margot123 5th Feb 18, 10:08 AM
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    Margot123
    To be honest the whole story is so convoluted I am not sure! Untimately if the executor has not paid out all the funds to the correct person then they have some liability. If the OP does go to court the judge will be tearing his hair out!
    Originally posted by Yorkshireman99
    The judge will most likely view the co-executor as being obstructive and wasting Court time. It won't go in their favour, and may prove very costly.
    Perhaps they need to be made aware of this via a solicitor's letter?

    The OP could ask for Court directions (a solicitor will assist with this). That would at least register the fact that the OP has acted fairly and has made all reasonable attempts to resolve the situation.
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 5th Feb 18, 1:05 PM
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    getmore4less
    In retrospect, it seems we should have done a deed of variation, to ensure that the money that our father intended to go to the 2 grandchildren did that. Apart from that, it was a simple will, and we as co-executors had agreed to do exactly what our father had intended. (This was very clear from conversations with him). This would have protected "T" from the sudden and extreme breakdown in relationship with her father, my brother. Is there anything else missing?
    Originally posted by NKR
    I am confident that they were not bare trusts. My father never mentioned that, and there was no paperwork that we found while doing probate & searching the house.
    Originally posted by NKR
    What makes you confident that the money was intended for the grandchildren.

    There would be no need for any paperwork bare trusts can happen by actions, such as saying the money in these accounts is the grandkids.
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