Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@. Skimlinks & other affiliated links are turned on

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • Threecatz
    • By Threecatz 16th Jun 18, 11:27 PM
    • 23Posts
    • 6Thanks
    Threecatz
    Co-Executor Problems
    • #1
    • 16th Jun 18, 11:27 PM
    Co-Executor Problems 16th Jun 18 at 11:27 PM
    Hello, I would be grateful for any advice on the following; please.

    My father died a month ago and myself and my brother were appointed joint executors in his Will. Unfortunately, we have never got on ( Dad thought doing probate together would help!) Initally my brother agreed I could take the lead on probate, as I had held POA for Dad. I downloaded and completed probate application and IHT form - Dad died in a care home, there is no property to sell, just a few savings accounts to close, the estate is below the IHT threshold.

    The whole thing seems straightforward but, twice now, appointments made with my brother to collect the Will from the solicitor have been cancelled last minute by him and now I have received a solicitors letter ( from the solicitor holding the Will) to say that, as we are unable to agree on the way forward, my brother has decided I can deal with probate and he will reserve his power to act, on the proviso that the solicitor ďassistsĒ me with the administration! Despite the solicitor asking me to return a signed copy of the letter, Iíve no wish to instruct them because, apart from the estate being straightforward, the the letter doesnít include any estimate of what this is all going to cost. Itís frustrating as the only thing I need to get hold of is the Will, then I can send the application off. However, Iím worried that if I donít agree to this, my brother will say Iím acting unreasonably and try to get me removed as an executor.

    Any thoughts anyone has on the best way I can proceed would be very much appreciated.

    Many thanks in advance.
Page 2
    • YoungBlueEyes
    • By YoungBlueEyes 24th Jun 18, 10:10 PM
    • 304 Posts
    • 321 Thanks
    YoungBlueEyes
    My sister and I are dad's executrices, and we've never really got on. Sis has a job and I was dad's carer so when he died I had all kinds of time on my hands to deal with the 'official stuff' that arose.

    I know it sounds silly and amateurish, but this is how I dealt with it :-

    Every time a letter came that was anything to do with dad I took a photo of it on my phone and text it to her - "what shall we do about this?" or "Appointment with the bank has come through" etc etc. It means she knows every single thing that's happened and knows what I/we did about it. It's a perfect chronological account of everything, and, should the house go up in flames or something, we've both got pics of the letters should they be needed for any reason. It's also written confirmation that she knew what I was doing and when, and that she agreed to it.

    Would doing this appease your brother? This was, if he has doubts or questions about something he can show the pics to his own solic for advice. And therefore pay for it himself (presumably?)
    • Threecatz
    • By Threecatz 25th Jun 18, 9:36 AM
    • 23 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    Threecatz
    Thank you for that YoungBlueEyes, I dont think it sounds silly at all, rather a good solution that keeps everything transparent. I appreciate you taking the time to suggest another way around my impasse.

    The trouble is, my brother made it clear on the day my father died that he wants to do probate on his own, with me out of the picture, hence his solicitor keeps pushing for me to appoint them as my attorney ( to make it easier for me, you understand!) whilst my brother is only reserving his powers. I suspect that, if I agreed to this my brother would then step back in and take over. As I said earlier, l let him deal with my mothers probate by himself and, for reasons I wont go into, Im not going to let him do that this time around! So, for that reason, I dont think any alternative suggestion that I put forward will be accepted but I can try!

    Kind regards and thanks again.
    • YoungBlueEyes
    • By YoungBlueEyes 25th Jun 18, 3:06 PM
    • 304 Posts
    • 321 Thanks
    YoungBlueEyes
    If you try it I hope it helps

    I'm not a lawyer or solicitor, so I don't know how strong it'd be in a legal argument as they're 'only' texts, but it's better than nothing.

    Hopefully it'll let your brother see that you're being completely transparent and will step back so you can get on with things.

    Sometimes these things are more about emotions and past history than reason though
    • Threecatz
    • By Threecatz 4th Aug 18, 11:09 PM
    • 23 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    Threecatz
    I!!!8217;m back again, I!!!8217;m afraid!
    The saga winds on. To try and get things moving, I agreed, reluctantly, that, as my brother had requested, the solicitor he has instructed could handle the estate monies - I would arrange for the monies to be sent to their client account, they would draw up accounts and distribute etc.
    Then the solicitor wrote insisting that I send the signed probate forms to them and they would check and send them off - I said no to that one, as I felt, as sole acting executor, it was my responsibility to ensure the application and accompanying docs are sent off correctly, although I did offer to send them a copy and undertook not to send off the originals until they had looked at the copy. They have now come back to say my brother doesnt trust me, which is rather ironic, has decided he is no longer reserving his powers but is going to act as well and so the solicitor is now insisting that I send the forms to them forthwith.
    I would appreciate anyone!!!8217;s thoughts on whether they can insist on this. I would have thought it more appropriate for me to send the forms directly to my brother, as co-executor and it is up to him if he wants to run things past his solicitor, as he hasn!!!8217;t appointed the solicitor as his attorney as far as I am aware, or am I being unreasonable?
    The other problem I have is that the solicitor wont release even a copy of the Will to me. I would have thought, as an executor, I would have a right to see at least a copy of it would I not?
    Anyway, I would be very grateful for any further advice before I!!!8217;m driven completely round the bend by all this! With many thanks in advance.
    Last edited by Threecatz; 05-08-2018 at 7:49 AM. Reason: Typos
    • Threecatz
    • By Threecatz 5th Aug 18, 8:01 AM
    • 23 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    Threecatz
    Thinking about things overnight, it occurred to me that my role as executor is just as valid as my brothersí but all I seem to have done so far is compromise to try and get things moving but thatís got me precisely nowhere, as all that comes back from the solicitor each time are further demands. What would happen if I say enough? Is it a question then of going to Court for a judge to decide who deals with the estate?

    Itís the last thing I want to do but, other than me giving up and letting my brother deal with this, I canít see any other way forward..
    • Keep pedalling
    • By Keep pedalling 5th Aug 18, 9:28 AM
    • 5,291 Posts
    • 5,912 Thanks
    Keep pedalling
    Thinking about things overnight, it occurred to me that my role as executor is just as valid as my brothersí but all I seem to have done so far is compromise to try and get things moving but thatís got me precisely nowhere, as all that comes back from the solicitor each time are further demands. What would happen if I say enough? Is it a question then of going to Court for a judge to decide who deals with the estate?

    Itís the last thing I want to do but, other than me giving up and letting my brother deal with this, I canít see any other way forward..
    Originally posted by Threecatz
    Unless oe executor renounces or reserves powers joint executors have to act jointly. The solicitors are between a rock and a hard place as they are caught up in a rather stupid sibling feud.

    You would be very unwise to try and have your brother removed, as it would be expensive and likely to fail. Your brother is not likely to shift his position on this, so simply to get it over with ASAP And get on with your life I would go along with what the original suggestion was if you brother will revert back to that position.

    In this case I think solicitors costs are less important than the emotional strain of long drawn out battle, which in the long run could cost a lot more.
    • Threecatz
    • By Threecatz 5th Aug 18, 10:06 AM
    • 23 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    Threecatz
    Thanks for the reply Keep. Iím sorry, I didnít explain myself very well. I didnít mean going to Court with a view to getting my brother removed, rather letting the Court decide who should deal with probate but obviously thatís not an option.
    As I mentioned in a previous post, my brother dealt with probate for my late mother by himself but, due to issues I do not want to go into here, I cannot allow him to act by himself again.
    • Flugelhorn
    • By Flugelhorn 5th Aug 18, 10:15 AM
    • 919 Posts
    • 1,092 Thanks
    Flugelhorn
    Threecatz, suspect some of the problem is the change in family dynamics. Big Bro has probably always been BB and maybe this was encouraged / supported by parents??

    Can be hard then when you are the only 2 left and Little Sis is standing up to BB (as you should).

    You are right in your earlier post - your role is just as valid and you have had to compromise. Practice saying NO

    Uncle was always considered to be the "head of the family" by my mother (even though he was younger) and she always deferred to him - not sure that he coped when I dug my heels in...
    • Threecatz
    • By Threecatz 5th Aug 18, 10:35 AM
    • 23 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    Threecatz
    Youíre right Flugelhorn, Iíve tended to go along with things in the past to ď keep the peaceĒ - my mistake! Trouble is, if I say no and my brother continues to say no too, we end up in an impasse and Iíve no idea what happens then!
    • -taff
    • By -taff 5th Aug 18, 3:44 PM
    • 7,545 Posts
    • 5,664 Thanks
    -taff
    Did you act on the suggestions in post 4?
    • Threecatz
    • By Threecatz 5th Aug 18, 4:18 PM
    • 23 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    Threecatz
    Hi Taff, yes, I have asked for the Will, or a certified copy, several times now but have been informed that my co-executor has instructed his solicitor not to release it to me.

    As Seven said in that earlier post, they appear to be effectively holding me to ransom and forcing me to use their services regardless of whether I want to or not. Hence my previous post about whether my role as executor is equally valid and if so what options might be open to me to break this impasse. Iíve put forward various suggestions over the now months this has been going on, from us both using an independent third party, to paying proceeds into his solicitorís client account for them to distribute but every suggestion is disregarded in favour of some new demand.

    Sorry, very long answer to a short question
    • -taff
    • By -taff 5th Aug 18, 6:33 PM
    • 7,545 Posts
    • 5,664 Thanks
    -taff
    I think, from google only, more intelligent people along in moment, you might have to compel him
    The solicitor isn't doing anything wrong. Your brother can't order him not to give you a copy, the solicitor has to be satisfied that you are both who you say you are and that you have a death certificate.
    You could always turn the tables on your brother and tell him you're going to issue a citation to remove him.
    • Yorkshireman99
    • By Yorkshireman99 5th Aug 18, 7:10 PM
    • 4,398 Posts
    • 3,630 Thanks
    Yorkshireman99
    There i9s something fundmentally wrong here. Why is the dsolicitor only engaging withn on executor? I think the oP needs to make a formal complaint to the firms chief partner as to what is going on. Other wise the saga will just drag on and on.
    • Threecatz
    • By Threecatz 5th Aug 18, 8:19 PM
    • 23 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    Threecatz
    Thank you for your replies, Taff and Yorkshireman. I appreciate this saga must seem completely bizarre. Does to me too, to be honest!

    It started with my brother initially wanting to act alone ( as he did for my Mother) but, when I said no, agreeing to act with me. Then he changed his mind and said I could act alone, with him having power reserved. The next thing I know is that I receive a letter from his solicitor, or rather, the Legal Executive allocated the case, saying that he has instructed them and so the saga began. I've tried contacting him to ask why but he just refused to answer.

    As I mentioned previously, this is a very simple probate, no property as my father was in residential care, just a number of investments and accounts to close down - pay the small number of outstanding liabilities and that's it. Based on that, I saw no need to instruct a solicitor myself and I don't want to be pushed into using my brother's solicitor, despite being bombarded with letters from them insisting that I must work with them!
    • Yorkshireman99
    • By Yorkshireman99 5th Aug 18, 9:05 PM
    • 4,398 Posts
    • 3,630 Thanks
    Yorkshireman99
    Thank you for your replies, Taff and Yorkshireman. I appreciate this saga must seem completely bizarre. Does to me too, to be honest!

    It started with my brother initially wanting to act alone ( as he did for my Mother) but, when I said no, agreeing to act with me. Then he changed his mind and said I could act alone, with him having power reserved. The next thing I know is that I receive a letter from his solicitor, or rather, the Legal Executive allocated the case, saying that he has instructed them and so the saga began. I've tried contacting him to ask why but he just refused to answer.

    As I mentioned previously, this is a very simple probate, no property as my father was in residential care, just a number of investments and accounts to close down - pay the small number of outstanding liabilities and that's it. Based on that, I saw no need to instruct a solicitor myself and I don't want to be pushed into using my brother's solicitor, despite being bombarded with letters from them insisting that I must work with them!
    Originally posted by Threecatz
    As joint executor you really have little choice since your primary reponsibility is to act correctly as executor regardless of your personal fellings. I realise this will be hard but you have no real shoice.
    • Threecatz
    • By Threecatz 5th Aug 18, 11:07 PM
    • 23 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    Threecatz
    Thanks again for the reply Yorkshireman.

    I suppose my question would be is it correct that, if one executor insists on instructing a solicitor, incurring needless costs to the estate in the process (costs that are still unknown, as said solicitor refuses to give an estimate, or agree a fee ceiling, despite my requests for one or the other) the co-executor has no choice other than to agree but, as you say, it doesnít appear that I have any other option.
    • SevenOfNine
    • By SevenOfNine 6th Aug 18, 7:47 AM
    • 1,372 Posts
    • 1,377 Thanks
    SevenOfNine
    TBH, by now I'd have taken YM99's advice in post #33. Not least because they have flatly refused/ignored your requests for a mere copy of the Will, so you can check it's content regarding executors & beneficiaries.

    Presumably your brother has, in his role as executor, engaged the services of this firm of solicitors without consultation with you, yet they will be billing the estate for work undertaken thus far? I'd insist on knowing what those costs are.

    You could try asking some questions on the forum here https://legalbeagles.info/

    I'd list the compromises you've offered already & ask why each time the solicitor seems to come back to the 'use our firm'.

    Though it may be that your brother is so determined to be an @ rse, that you might have to agree to giving the whole task to a firm of solicitors you consider to be an INDEPENDENT, not one who is taking instruction from only your brother.
    Seen it all, done it all, can't remember most of it.
    • Threecatz
    • By Threecatz 6th Aug 18, 5:10 PM
    • 23 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    Threecatz
    Thank you for you reply Seven and the link, too, I will certainly go and have a look there.

    Yes, my brother did instruct the solicitor without mentioning it to me. The first I knew about it was when I received a letter from them!

    Unfortunately, I did suggest a few letters back, as one of the options for resolving this, that we appoint an independent probate solicitor to deal with the whole thing and we both stood down and let them handle it but he still wouldn't budge!

    Anyway, thanks again to you and all who have replied, it has been much appreciated.
    • Dox
    • By Dox 7th Aug 18, 9:04 AM
    • 856 Posts
    • 639 Thanks
    Dox
    Why are you getting so wound up about all this? Your father only died in May; the estate will be below the IHT threshold, so there won't be any interest to pay on unpaid IHT.

    Write to your brother, with a copy to his solicitor, and say you can do nothing further until you have a copy of the will, at which point you will discuss with him (i.e. your brother) how best to take things forward. Confirm that you have not appointed the solicitor acting for him and that any charges arising are therefore your brother's responsibility.
    • Yorkshireman99
    • By Yorkshireman99 7th Aug 18, 9:56 AM
    • 4,398 Posts
    • 3,630 Thanks
    Yorkshireman99
    Why are you getting so wound up about all this? Your father only died in May; the estate will be below the IHT threshold, so there won't be any interest to pay on unpaid IHT.

    Write to your brother, with a copy to his solicitor, and say you can do nothing further until you have a copy of the will, at which point you will discuss with him (i.e. your brother) how best to take things forward. Confirm that you have not appointed the solicitor acting for him and that any charges arising are therefore your brother's responsibility.
    Originally posted by Dox
    Since an executor has appointed a solicitor they are not personally liable for the fees that are chargeable to the estate. The OP might have great difficulty in recovering the fees from her brother who is certainly morally responsible.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

60Posts Today

2,321Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • Ta ta... for now. This August, as I try and do every few yrs, I'm lucky enough to be taking a sabbatical. No work,? https://t.co/Xx4R3eLhFG

  • RT @lethalbrignull: @MartinSLewis I've been sitting here for a good while trying to decide my answer to this, feeling grateful for living i?

  • Early days but currently it's exactly 50 50 in liberality v democracy, with younger people more liberal, older more? https://t.co/YwJr4izuIj

  • Follow Martin