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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3493
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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I received a solicitors letter enclosing an Indemnity in favour

Customer Question

I received a solicitors letter enclosing an 'Indemnity in favour of the
Trustees of the Will' document. Please could you explain what the actual term means? It is regarding a will of my late aunt who passed away last September.

I look forward to hearing from you shortly.

Anne Dolman
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you for your question and welcome.

My name is AJ and I will assist you.

Do you have the exact wording of the indemnity?

Are you being asked to give the indemnity?

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I do not have the document now as I had to sign and return to get my cheque. The paragraph relating in the letter says -

I enclose herewith an Indemnity in favour of the Trustees of the Will. I should be most grateful if you could check through and if satisfied sign and return the document to me. Please note it is standard practice to include an Indemnity in favour of your Trustees. However should you have any queries in respect of the same, I am obliged to inform you that you should consult with your own independent legal advisor.

The brief paragraph before said that ' I will also shortly be arranging for a distribution of the estate monies..

I have received the cheque regarding the Indemnity.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

Are these professional trustees?

AN indemnity is basically a guarantee that you will make good any loss arising from a particular subject matter. In this circumstance I would expect it to say something like you will indemnify the trustees for any tax claims they suffer or any other personal claims they suffer in exercise their duties as trustees in the distribution of the estate monies.

What it should not indemnify them for is any loss they suffer or any personal claims they suffer from their own negligence. Especially if you are paying them as professional trustees you need some guarantee that they will do the job properly.

I am happy to wait until later if you would like to discuss this further, but it would really help if I could have sight of the indemnity wording just so I can understand exactly how far the indemnity goes. I would also suggest that the indemnity should be limited to the actual sum of money or value of assets you receive from the estate, that way it will ensure you are not accepting some unknown liability.

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I am assuming it is regarding a payout of my aunties will which I should be included in and also assuming that I should be receiving notification of soon as this letter was dated 1st May 2014 and I received my cheque 3 weeks ago. My auntie had quite a lot of valuable items which went to auction last year. A cousin of mine got power of attorney and dealt with that, plus the sale of my aunties house. My auntie had a nasty stroke and ended up in a care home
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

Whatever the indemnity is I would make sure at the very least it is limited financially to the sum of money you have actually received from the estate.

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'm sure it will be as the letter stated it was standard practice, I also had a quick chat with the solicitor to try and understand what the term meant, but still not all that clear.

I am sure my auntie included me in her will (that is what I'm hopeing). The reason I think a lot about this is because her sister died a year before without a will. (The 2 aunties were sisters, never married and lived together all their lives). As my other auntie died without leaving a Will, her money was shared between her brothers and sisters, they had already died so the money got passed to their children. As I am an only one, I received a nice sum and I know one of my cousins was a bit bitter about this. I am just hoping they there has been nothing underhand done to try a block me from receiving anything from this auntie. I lived with her for my first 14 years of life and my dad bought their house for them when we left the family farming business years ago
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

Dont worry the indemnity is not going to relieve of any right to your inheritance (if any).

What it essentially means is you are saying to the trustees that if the trustees are held personally liable for distributing the estate, for example because another dependent of your auntie comes out the woodwork - you will reimburse them for that cost.

I would just carefully check the indemnity to ensure it does not make you pay out more than you actually receive from the estate or have to pay out where the trustees have been negligent for any reason.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
It is almost 2 months now since I received the initial letter from the solicitors and am now concerned that I will not get a share of the inheritance. I do not have a close relationship with my cousins (who are the trustees) I just get a feeling that they may have done something underhand so I do not get my share, I really cannot see my auntie leaving me out, but wonder if they may have had an influence on her, as they made sure she made a will. What do you think?
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi

Thank you.

I would not be too concerned just yet. There is a concept called the "executors year". This means that the executors cannot be forced to distribute any of the assets for at least one year from the date of death.

If you do not hear anything by September then you will know there has been a problem.

Have you asked the executors if you can see the will?

Kind regards

AJ


Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

No as we very rarely speak with one another. One I speak to extremely rarely the other not all I'm afraid. My concern is that on the letter received from the solicitors where the Indemnity in favour of the trustees of the will was discussed, it said that she would be shortly be arranging for a distribution of the estate monies. The letter was dated 1st May 2014, perhaps it is me being impatient but I thought it would have been done by now ......
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

Then the only other explanation is they are waiting for you to sign the indemnity.

Can you ask the solicitor to see the will? Do you know if probate has been granted?

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The indemnity was signed and returned on 5th May and I received a cheque for £7,752 at the beginning of June. I understand that probate has been granted, maybe a matter of waiting a bit longer? She was quite a wealthy lady and I would be really annoyed if it was left to my other 8 cousins and me left out. My aunt never married and had no children of her own
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi

Thank you.

How much more are you expecting? The only thing I can suggest is you write to the solicitor and ask them to confirm if any further distributions are likely to be made to you.

If you think there has been undue influence in the will you can obtain a copy of the will from the probate registry for £10 - https://www.gov.uk/wills-probate-inheritance/searching-for-probate-records

Based on what is in the will you would then have to decide whether it is worth challenging it.

Any feedback is gratefully received.

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The house sold for £250,000 and I know she had at least £300,000 in savings so if split equally between everyone it would be a nice sum, that is why I am concerned
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

I think the only action you can take at this stage is:
1) Write to the solicitor and see if they have any more information;
2) Get a copy of the will from the probate registry - it will only cost £10.

At least then you will know what you are due and if by September no further distributions have been made, you can then seek to find out what happened?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

AJ

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