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Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
May I ask if you believe you could produce any evidence that she took the additional money please - e.g. do you believe that she deposited the whole amount into a bank account?
Thank you. Is the bank in question a UK bank account?
Thank you. There are two approaches you can consider. The first is a complaint under criminal law. There are grounds to deem this to be theft however the police may well take the view that it is a civil matter in the circumstances and refuse to proceed. It is a finely balanced question of judgement as to whether this is is criminal but it is a potential approach. If the police agree to investigate they have powers to obtain a copy of the bank account statement and then if they consider they have sufficient evidence seek a prosecution though this would be hampered by the individual living in Australia.
The alternative approach which can be undertaking irrespective of whether you pursue the matter criminally is to consider issuing proceedings against the individual. You can as executor seek an order for disclosure in respect of the bank statement under part 31 CPR and then following the same consider issuing proceedings against her. Again this is slightly less straightforward than it need ordinarily be because you will need to seek permission to serve abroad. However as the amount is more than £10K there is scope for recovering some legal costs if you are successful and accordingly you may consider instructing a litigation solicitor to assist you with aspects of the claim.
If you are successful you will obtain judgement against her which can then be enforced in Australia and reciprocal enforcement provisions between the UK and AUS.
Executors can act jointly and severally. A solicitor is unlikely to proceed to distribute however without all of the executors instructions as he has an equal duty to all three of you.
You can seek an application for disclosure using form N244. If this reveals evidence suggesting you have a claim you can issue proceedings using form N1.
In order to serve on her abroad you will also need to complete form N510http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/HMCTS/GetForm.do?court_forms_id=2235
These forms are completed and filed with the county court for issue.
If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do no hesitate to let me know.
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