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UKSolicitorJA
UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 4312
Experience:  English solicitor with over 12 years experience
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My cousin, my only living relative, died in May, 2013. I was

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My cousin, my only living relative, died in May, 2013. I was visiting her and calling her on a regular basis for the last year of her life whereupon she suffered from Dementia. From a child she was never fully mentally able, somewhat backward. The Social services called me to explain that she had died and as the only know relative I was expected to close the estate. I began the process of obtaining the necessary Court paperwork to close any bank accounts etc. A few weeks later I was getting worried about the amount of work and travelling involved so I obtained the services of a solicitor local to where I live. In the meantime I received the Court documents and closed my cousin's bank accounts which had £38,800. A few weeks later the solicitor contacted me to announce that he had done a search and found that my cousin had made a will out in the 90s'. I was astounded that my cousin made a will. She was not in my opinion mentally competent, even at a younger age to understand such intricacies. Anyway, I thought let it go, the money is going to a charity. 9 months later the money still lied in the account, even after 3 contacts by my solicitor to the other. I found this very offensive and failure to provide diligent service so I emptied the accounts. Now the other solicitor seems to have "woken up" and is in contact with my solicitor. What will happen to me if I don't give back the money?

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 3 years ago.
Hello,

Have you seen your cousin's Will. Did she leave all her estate to a charity? Who was appointed as the executor?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

At the time I was told she had died, Nobody was aware that there was a will until the solicitor I engaged after that did a search. No, after 9 months I have not seen a will. My solicitor told me that only one charity was named and the executor was somebody I don't know.


 


D.

Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 3 years ago.
Thank you,

You should contest the Will if you do not wish to return the money under the provisions of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act. You should do so ASAP and within 6 months of grant of probate.

It is better to challenge the Will before probate has been granted, from what you say, it is unlikely that probate has been granted, but your solicitor may check with the Probate Registry if it has been granted and if so, when.

The ground for challenge will be lack of testamentary capacity. You may discuss this further with your Solicitor and see if he is able to assist with the application for contesting the Will.

All the best
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi again,


"Probate"....Do you mean the obtaining of the Court Seal allowing me to access the accounts? If so, I already have them and have drawn the money out.


My basic question to you is what is likely to happen to me if I don't contest the will and I keep the money???? I can't prove what my my cousin's mental state was now (even though I know it has always been lacking) as there was only me and her left. I know it is a broad question, but in your experience what do you think, your best guess?


In other words would I go to prison or what????


D.

Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 3 years ago.
As you did not know about the Will, you were not committing a crime by taking the money but if you do not pay it over in accordance with the Will, then I am afraid there will be problems.

Like I said, you should go to court to contest the Will if you legally wish to keep the money.

The fact that she had dementia, doctors opinions etc may be called upon as evidence to contest the Will due to lack of testamentary capacity.

All the best
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi,


Yes, but WHAT problems do you foresee or guess at? I just want your best guess!


 


D.


 

Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 3 years ago.
You could be arrested for fraud by abuse of position of responsibility.

I trust all your queries have been answered.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Have you known people go to prison for that?

Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 3 years ago.
Yes, I have.
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