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Aston Lawyer
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10451
Experience:  Solicitor LLB (Hons) 23 years of experience in Conveyancing and Property Law
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A distant associate of mine has recently lost her husband.

Resolved Question:

A distant associate of mine has recently lost her husband. Her daughter has taken on the Executor duties as the associate is not capable of executing the Will. Note that given the size of the Estate, Probate was not required. The daughter (now informal Executor) has declared there is no money in the Estate to pay out two named beneficiaries - her daughters. Whilst she has not provided direct evidence of this in writing, I have seen paperwork confirming closure of various accounts confirming there is no money to be paid to the Estate. However she has demanded that the beneficiaries be paid from the associate's own funds - although these funds have been derived over the years from various investments from the deceased, I note that the funds are in the associates own name. Given I have personal experience of being an Executor and am named as Executor in further Wills, I have expressed my concern to the associate who asked for my opinion given my experience in these matters. Am I correct in thinking that the associate is under no obligation to pay the beneficiaries? Moreover, would applying duress to the associate to do so constitute a criminal act?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thanks for using Just Answer.
My name is ***** ***** am happy to assist you with your enquiry.
You are quite correct- Beneficiaries are only paid once the Deceased's debts have been paid, and if there is no money left over, then the beneficiaries are not entitled to their respective legacies.
In such circumstances, the next of kin or indeed the Executor is under no duty to pay the beneficiaries out of their own funds.
I'm afraid the beneficiaries are not guilty of any criminal act by merely insisting the associate pays. However, if they continually persist, they would be guilty of harassment. The Police are not likely to want to get involved if any complaint were made to them by the associate as they will say it is a "civil matter". However, the associate may need to seek a local Wills Solicitor to formally write to the beneficiaries setting out the circumstances as to why no legacy is payable and insist that they stop pursuing associate.
I hope this helps and sets out the legal position.
Kind Regards
AL
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