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    • kitty08
    • By kitty08 11th May 18, 1:19 PM
    • 39Posts
    • 24Thanks
    Searching for missing investments
    • #1
    • 11th May 18, 1:19 PM
    Searching for missing investments 11th May 18 at 1:19 PM
    I'm not sure if this is on the right board, so please could a moderator/administrator move it to the correct one if I have posted in the wrong place?

    First, some background information. My mother passed away nearly six months ago after suffering from dementia for a number of years. Everything to do with the estate appears to be progressing smoothly, probate has been granted etc. The will is fairly straightforward - my parents had "mirror" wills (I think that's the term?) dividing everything between a local animal charity, one of my cousins and my younger half sister, with nothing to me. Reading the wills (I sent for a copy) I detected my father's hand behind this, and I suspect he browbeat or at the very least pressurised my mother into signing. But that's not the point of this post. He was always very dominant and she was very submissive and would always give way to him. He passed away in 2012, and my mother just deteriorated from that point on.
    Although I knew my half sister existed as a person, as growing up the two families had been quite close, I thought she was just the daughter of my parents' friends. I didn't realise she was my half sister until I recently went through some papers. FWIW, we have the same father but different mothers.

    Now the house has been cleared, (and it was FULL!) I have been going through family papers - it's all quite a mess, with lots of instructions for 1970s' hand mixers and other rubbish all mixed together with a few really important things, but two things have come to light, which I'm hoping someone here may be able to advise me on how to proceed further.

    Firstly, I discovered that all of my generation on my father's side of the family (I have 6 cousins, and in age I'm about in the middle) appear to have had some kind of trust fund set up for them when they were born, which matured when they were 25. I say "appear" as there's no actual certificates or bank books, just letters between my father and his brothers and sister, talking about this. I definitely haven't received anything, as I'm sure I would remember, but I talked to my nice cousin (the rest are either abusive, obnoxious, suffering from severe mental issues, or dead) and yes, she got hers when she was 25, so it does appear they exist. She couldn't remember the name of the bank or financial organisation as it was some time ago - she's in her late 40's now - but she did remember it was for several thousand pounds - not an enormous amount, but a nice nest egg.

    Secondly, I discovered a letter from someone, signing herself L- (I could read the full first name, but just want to use the initial on a public forum) who was obviously a friend of my parents, soon after I was born. The letter requested that my parents used the enclosed money to buy me Premium Bonds - ie they were to be held in my name. Unfortunately the letter didn't include an address or a surname, and I'm guessing that L- has herself probably passed away now, as this was over 50 years ago, and the only L I could remember growing up would be well over 100 now. Apologies to any centenarians reading this!

    So far I have tried to track down both the trust fund and the Premium Bonds, and I've remembered to include my maiden name and every address that I've lived at. But everything is coming back negative. NS&I say they have no record of any bonds or investments (I ticked several of the boxes just in case they had decided on another type of bond instead) None of the banks or building societies can throw any light on the trust fund either.

    Please does anyone have any suggestions of the next steps I should take?
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    • LHW99
    • By LHW99 11th May 18, 1:48 PM
    • 1,716 Posts
    • 1,594 Thanks
    • #2
    • 11th May 18, 1:48 PM
    • #2
    • 11th May 18, 1:48 PM
    So sorry for your loss. Clearing homes in this situation is really difficult I know.

    I don't think I can help specifically with your questions, however considering what you say about your parent's wills, you may have a case for challenging them, if no provision was made for you. Particularly if your mother had no very strong connection with the charity.
    You may be best to talk to a solicitor, at least briefly, to ask for their comments on the whole situation.
    If you have any house insurance in your name, (or even car insurance) you may find they include a general legal helpline, where you can ask questions and get some initial suggestions.
    • Malthusian
    • By Malthusian 11th May 18, 3:06 PM
    • 5,257 Posts
    • 8,684 Thanks
    • #3
    • 11th May 18, 3:06 PM
    • #3
    • 11th May 18, 3:06 PM
    Unless you turn up any further evidence that you were beneficiary of a trust, I would forget about it. The fact that your cousins were beneficiaries of a trust or trusts does not mean you were. I'm afraid there isn't anything useful you can do without further evidence to follow.

    As for the Premium Bonds, it may be worth sending NS&I a copy of the Death Certificate for both your father and your mother, and asking them to check their records for any holdings in their names. However, it is quite possible your parents simply spent L's money. Or they cashed in the Premium Bonds and gave you the money long ago and you've forgotten. (Would you still remember if they'd given you 100 on your 18th birthday and said "This is from L who gave you some Premium Bonds ages ago?) Or they spent it on education costs.

    You didn't ask about challenging the Will, but since somebody else brought it up - being submissive does not take away your right to dispose of your assets as you see fit. The threshold for "undue influence" is extremely high. However, that doesn't mean you don't have a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act, and you should get professional advice from a solicitor.
    • kitty08
    • By kitty08 11th May 18, 6:53 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 24 Thanks
    • #4
    • 11th May 18, 6:53 PM
    • #4
    • 11th May 18, 6:53 PM
    Thank you for your replies. It's very helpful to have unbiased opinions from people who are knowledgeable and also detached from the situation.
    I think everything is sorted through now, so I don't think it's very likely any other evidence is going to turn up, but you never know. I may be wrong, but I thought that Premium Bonds couldn't be "inherited" or passed on to someone else, so if they were in either of my parents' names, they would have been cashed in and formed part of the estate?
    Regarding the Will, it hadn't occurred to me that it could be challenged. Both Wills were drawn up by a solicitor (they weren't DIY jobs) witnessed properly and signed. I wasn't just left out of the will, there is a sentence specifically excluding me from inheriting anything, so it definitely wasn't an oversight. I'm going to be completely honest and say I do find it hard to accept that my mother should favour her husband's love child over her own daughter, but I guess that's life.
    As I said before, my father was extremely dominant and domineering. He even told my mother which way to vote and accompanied her into the polling booth to ensure she voted the "correct" way. I know now that's illegal, so I don't know why he wasn't stopped, but I also don't know what I, as a small child, was doing in the polling station in the first place!
    I've been reading my mother's diaries for the last 25 or so years, and a lot of it makes grim reading. It's clear that she adored my father, but as the years passed and he became more and more "difficult" and mentally abusive towards her, she was often pretty unhappy. He never hit her, but I think the mental abuse and constant putting down and general unkindness must have been very difficult for her, although she never said a word, and I had no idea that life wasn't all roses. I did read the diary entries round about the time the Wills were drawn up very carefully, in case any coercion or pressure was mentioned in her entries, but no mention was made of them. She had worked throughout her life, and therefore had her own money, so there was no reason why she couldn't have left him, although, I do know that generation took marriage vows very seriously, and maybe she dreaded being alone even more?
    The Wills were drawn up and signed in 2006, and my father passed away in 2012 (also from dementia). I don't know whether my mother intended to write another Will but never got round to it before the dementia took a hold. The charity mentioned is one that was very dear to both of my parents. My nice cousin really is lovely, and I don't begrudge her the money, and from what I've been able to discover about my half sister, she has made what might be termed some "unwise choices" in life, so maybe it will help her too.
    I'm sure you're all probably wondering why I got left out, but are too polite to ask. I suspect it's because my father didn't approve of my choice of husband (BTW, we are white British, so "arranged marriages" are NOT part of our culture). I was over 21 when I married, after a two year engagement, and my husband is kind, gentle, supportive and has always been in steady employment. He's not perfect, but then neither am I! And we're still together after nearly 30 years of marriage.
    I'm terrified of the thought of running up huge legal bills if I did challenge the will, but maybe one of those solicitor where the first 30 minutes is free might be useful?
    On the other hand, it may be time to walk away from it all and leave everything in the past where it belongs.
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