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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9985
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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fraudulent activities linked to a deceased estate, where substantial

Resolved Question:

fraudulent activities linked to a deceased estate, where substantial sums have been depleted at an alarming rate.
As the executor of an estate I am concerned that the estate has been eroded over the past few years by deceased daughter and the deceased granddaughter who feel a sense of entitlement to money and the assets in the estate. They've viewed the whole thing as a gravy train.
Mother died
Not informed by my sister, but heard from relatives two days later.
Keys to the house were subsequently handed to us at our home three weeks following the funeral.
At the house we discover all valuables were taken - the house appeared as if it was ransacked; Empty jewellery boxes were littered all over the place.
Mum's and some of my personal belongings were missing.
Apart from the will and land registry document, there was no trace of any paperwork regarding accounts, statements or any other bank details.
To seek details for the purposes of the Probate application, I made a visit to sister's. I was informed that the jewellery (a very considerable amount) was gifted to her two years ago as compensation for mum's care over the past 7 years. The conversation was recorded as she had been inconsistent in her accounts of mother's wishes on previous meetings.
Via text message, I was asked by the granddaughter husband to hand over the will under the pretense of completing some paperwork.
As the executor of the estate, I replied that I would deal with all matters regarding the estate and again requested a list of items taken from mum's house, bank details and death certificate.
These were not forthcoming and sister's family became very uncooperative and hostile.
Upon making an appointment, I visited my sister's house for the details required for completing the probate. I faced a lot of hostility, confronted by three minders, and handed a statement outside her doorstep.
I reported the disappearance of valuables and the state of the house to the police.
Subsequently, I have acquired bank statements, dating back to 2001, detailing regular withdrawals from mother's account. A sum in excess of 150K has been made over the years. 87K just over the last 7 years: All withdrawals were made using her cashpoint card. I checked with the bank for any consents or authorisation - none was recorded.
Shockingly, there was a withdrawal minutes before her death. The estate had been stripped out.
Assuming, mum had given the large sums and jewellery as gift, over the past 7 years, who is liable to pay inheritance tax on the gifted items? Would it be the estate or the person who received the gift. The estate is over the Inheritance Tax threshold £325,000 in 2014.
For the record, I have always paid all her utility, telephone, cable TV and insurance bills via direct debit from my personal account and have never received or sought any repayments back for these.
Please can you advice on possible solutions to problem and probate application - what immediate actions are required.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  JGM replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question.
The estate is responsible for the payment of inheritance tax.
As executor you have to make up the estate inventory and apply for probate in usual manner and from the information available to you, ie, the extent of the estate in the hands of the deceased as at the date of death.
If you think that the estate has been plundered before your mother died, then as executor you are entitled to sue on behalf of the estate for recovery of the funds. As far as gifts are concerned, there is a presumption against gifts and it would be for your sister's family to prove that the jewellery etc were indeed gifts.
You can also continue your endeavours with the police on the basis that the finds were stolen.
I hope this helps.
Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

.. Obviously the estate pays the inheritance tax.

However, the government web site says

"If someone gives you a gift and they do not survive for 7 years after making the gift, you would only be liable to pay Inheritance Tax on that gift if the value of the estate - including the gift - is over the Inheritance Tax threshold (£325,000 in 2014 to 15 tax year) and there is not enough money in the estate to pay the Inheritance Tax.

However, if all the gifts made by that person during the 7 years before they died add up to more than the Inheritance Tax threshold (£325,000 in 2014 to 15 tax year) - just the gifts themselves not the rest of the estate - Inheritance Tax will be due on all of the gifts that brought the total above the threshold. In this case, you as the donee will usually have to pay the tax due on your gift."

So my interpretation of this would be that sister should pay inheritance on the gifts if the estate alone is over the threshold.

Is this a correct interpretation?

Expert:  JGM replied 1 year ago.
No it isn't as from your original narrative th estate is over £325000 and can afford the inheritance tax.
Customer: replied 1 year ago. I need to sell the house .. as the bank accounts have been wiped clean.


Expert:  JGM replied 1 year ago.
Your welcome.
JGM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9985
Experience: 30 years as a practising solicitor.
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