English inheritance law

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Is there anyone who can answer a question about wills and joint executors in UK. I am here and joint executor with my sister in UK for my mother's will. I've been told from day one that it has nothing to do with me until I was asked by my sister to write to the solicitors releasing the will to her. It seems that we are to share the estate. My German lawyer friend thinks this is very unprofessional of the UK solicitors and questions if they actually asked my sister to tell me to write this letter

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7 hours ago, Henribear said:

I am here and joint executor with my sister in UK for my mother's will. I've been told from day one that it has nothing to do with me.

 

Wrong. However, like you I can read. Who told you that? Your sister?

 

The sollicitor's job is to point out the options available. This does not mean they told her to tell you to release the will to her. Your sister trying to displace responsibility perhaps? Sounds like your sister wants control. Be wary and exercise caution. Do not blindly sign anything without understanding what you are signing.

 

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/833274/pa2-eng.pdf

 

Do not sign the renunciation form PA15 unless you want to cede control of the execution of the will to your sister.

 

Familiarise yourself with these forms. Be prepared.

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/probate-forms

 

I am not a lawyer.

 

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7 hours ago, Henribear said:

I've been told from day one that it has nothing to do with me...

 

Alarm bells ringing loudly here.

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6 hours ago, optimista said:

 

Alarm bells ringing loudly here.

Tell me about it! I've contacted the solicitors in UK and they are surprised that my sister asked me to do this though they tell me it is perfectly correct to release the will. However I am to receive a copy

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4 hours ago, Henribear said:

...they tell me it is perfectly correct to release the will. However I am to receive a copy

 

Correct maybe... but desirable ? I think they should finish their sentence. Are the sollicitors or your sister to be executor of the will? The executor distributes any remaining assets of the estate of the deceased. If your sister does that you may find that you "get what you are given", which may not necessarily be what you are due.

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We are joint executors but I am in Germany and my sister in UK. She is trying to exclude me. She is also refusing my entry to mum's house if and when I can get there. She has been giving items away. She tells me that expensive items like classic cars are worthless. I have found out today that they are quite valuable. 

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5 hours ago, optimista said:

If your sister does that you may find that you "get what you are given", which may not necessarily be what you are due.

The estate has been left to both of us equally except for a few minor bequests. However she has been giving items away. She feels that she need not discuss it with me because she will deal with it. I feel like I have just lost a sister as well as mum

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You need to put a stop to this...

 

lawyer up!!   

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An example -

My brother and I were joint executors of my father's will, he lived in SA at the time and me here in DE.

When our Dad died, my bro was in the process of moving back to the UK but he filled in something to make me the sole one because he wanted it done quickly - which is what we did (not quicker - he was supposed to give me the will and forgot it in his shipping container ;)

But this is all the other way around - I was not trying to displace him, he was wanting to step down and make it quicker.

 

Your situation is well dodgy. Keep talking to the solicitors and explain what's going on. She is not acting within the law by disposing of goods herself. She is stealing from the estate. Maybe your Mum has left some of those items to specific people who now won't get them. She doesn't get to decide who goes in, either.

 

As Optimista says, don't renounce your executorship - 

 

Sorry, just read your last 2 posts.

Sorry to hear this. It's awful. People act weird in grief. Try to see it as that, and not as a personal battle with you. Has she been the one who was always there with your Mum? She might feel that her Mum's stuff is an extension of her stuff, and that you are somehow outside of that situation, but in the end you may need to decide whether long term you want this fight which will mean what SP just said, or whether it is not worth it to you and you will let it go.

It is up to you, and either way, you are right and she is wrong, if that helps. These times are a terrible test. Very difficult. Sorry about your Mum, and sorry about your sister now, too. It's crap.

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Something similar happened to me, sadly - all the more upsetting as I didn't see it coming. Probably was too trusting. Death can release all sorts of resentments. 

 

Whether you will be able to to preserve your relationship to your sister in the long term, it's difficult to say. But excluding you from the house, giving items away - this is absolutely not acceptable. 

 

As others have said, on no account give up your executorship, and get your own legal advice as soon as possible.

 

Good luck, and condolences on the loss of your mother.

 

 

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Read this to get an overview of what goes on administratively after death.

 

https://www.co-oplegalservices.co.uk/probate-solicitors/timeframes-for-probate/

 

In order to wind up the estate either the executors named in the will or the sollicitors have to obtain probate. This is a legal authorisation to deal with the assets (money) of the deceased. It requires a sworn oath to be taken at a court - so appearance in person. As you are out of the country it will be difficult and costly for you to do this. Few people execute a will without the services of a sollicitor to some degree, although it is doable if you have lots of time, are determined and don't mind a lot of aggro. Sounds like the best thing would be to release the will to the sollicitors - be very sure the cross is in the right box! - for them to obtain probate and execute the will, rather than to your sister who would then be sole executor.

 

On a practical level the "stuff" in the house has to be disposed of one way or another if the house has to be sold in order to settle the will. If you are unable to be there in person, you can either go with the flow of your sister's decisions - she is after all the one with all the practical aggro (and do not underestimate that) as you are absent - or argue over every little thing from behind the front line and destroy your relationship with your remaining flesh and blood. Stuff won't give you love. It is just stuff. And money doesn't buy you love either. As you know.

 

If she gives you half (yes, I know) of the proceeds from the sale of "stuff" would you be o.k. with that in principle? If you cannot be there you have no agency so have to let her get on with it, realistically. You can try to enforce your rights through a lawyer (which is nice in theory), but it will not be free and very difficult in practice. As you see she is already presenting you with done deeds. Damage limitation is the name of the game.

 

Another way of looking at this is to see it as part of the price of living abroad. Of course nobody tells you that when you first hop over the Channel. Law of unintended consequences.

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Now my sister is putting all of the estate funds into her bank account.  I am still being told to stay out of it. The solicitor has voiced her concerns over my sisters actions, telling me that she doesn't understand what needs to be done.  I'm being asked to allow my sister to sign for everything to speed things on. I'm happy to do this if it's done correctly. As for our relationship,  she has told us that we are immigrants who have abandoned their country and we have no rights.  Enough said!

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19 minutes ago, Henribear said:

Now my sister is putting all of the estate funds into her bank account.  I am still being told to stay out of it. The solicitor has voiced her concerns over my sisters actions, telling me that she doesn't understand what needs to be done.  I'm being asked to allow my sister to sign for everything to speed things on. I'm happy to do this if it's done correctly. As for our relationship,  she has told us that we are immigrants who have abandoned their country and we have no rights.  Enough said!

As joint executors you are jointly responsible for the will. The solicitor has a duty to keep you both informed. Was in similar situation as joint executors- we decided it was easier for sibling in the UK to be the main executor, but- I was kept fully informed by sibling and Lawyer. The full amount of estate funds was held by the lawyer , and he transferred the amounts to each of us.

Discuss with your solicitor, document emails, calls and state your concerns . 

 

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14 hours ago, Henribear said:

Now my sister is putting all of the estate funds into her bank account.

 

Very poor show. She could and should have opened a temporary account for the purposes of depositing cash assets. And still can! Otherwise, it will be conviently impossible for her to separate her own monies from proceeds of the inheritance unless she is extremely rigorous in her accounting methods. And impossible for you to check unless she is highly cooperative. What are the chances of that?

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Can you ask your solicitor to act on your behalf? That would make sure that she starts to act correctly and does not just take everything?
I most certainly would not be signing or agreeing to anything giving her too many options. 

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Whose interest is "the solicitor" you reference supposed to be looking out for?  The estate?  Or the heirs? 

 

Clearly you and your sister have a conflict of interest, so should have different solicitors.  If "the solicitor" is supposed to be working for the estate, and knows your sister is moving funds around without your authorization, that solicitor is not doing a good job.

 

It sounds like you need to get your own solicitor that can (1) tell you how things are supposed to work; (2) tell you if things in this instance are working correctly; (3) step in to work toward correcting the situation if necessary. 

 

Your own solicitor won't be kostenlos, but it seems you are bothered by what is going on and there seems to be more than a few hundred pounds at issue.  Don't put it off.  Research today who you might hire and make phone calls on Monday morning.

 

caveat:  I don't no nuttin' 'bout British law

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It all seems very irregular.

19 hours ago, Henribear said:

I'm being asked to allow my sister to sign for everything to speed things on

 

by whom? The same solicitor who

 

19 hours ago, Henribear said:

has voiced her concerns over my sisters actions

?

I wonder whether another solicitor is in order, as DD suggests above. There is a house involved here, so in the UK there are hundreds of thousands involved, and a few hundred on a solicitor would be well spent. Or phone the one you are dealing with and ask for some straight answers. Everyone involved seems to be faffing about not really grasping the issues, which given that one is a solicitor is a poor show.

 

Do not sign it over to your sister, the good ship 'saving our sibling relationship' has already sailed. From here on in, in the nicest possible way, you are getting lawyered up and dealing with it properly. There will be a traceable trail of what she has put into her account from the estate, so all is not lost.

 

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2 hours ago, kiplette said:

There will be a traceable trail of what she has put into her account from the estate, so all is not lost.

 

If she cares to disclose it. And then, 50 quid here, 25 there... cheques, cash... mixed with her daily crap. How do you distinguish between the two? Fat amounts more conspicuous. But who's checking? The sollicitor will only know what the sister tells him/her - or involves them with - if she has probate. If the sollicitor has probate I wonder why the money is going into the sister's account.

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The solicitor is meant to be taking the estate to probate. A hold up with the death certificate means that the will will be released this week.  I have been asked to sign over responsibilities which I have not done. Apparently the solicitor and my sister have been working together and excluding me. Apparently the solicitor has told my sister to put the money into her own account and to have the valuation of items done herself.  Later today I will be speaking with the solicitor. Restrictions aren't going to last forever and I will get back to UK this year 

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