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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69268
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My mother and father died 21/2 and 3 years ago respectively.

Resolved Question:

My mother and father died 21/2 and 3 years ago respectively. My younger brother was appointed executor and trustee of each will along with the surviving spouse. On the death of the surviving spouse or my brother I am appointed an executor and trustee.
The bones of the will are that all four children of my parents are coequal beneficiaries, That is I and my brother and two sisters.
I have only in the last few days discovered that i was an executor along with my brother. He chose not to tell me. But I now have copies of the wills and it is beyond dispute except that the grant only names my brother and not me.
1. Does the grant appointing my brother only take precedence over the will and the wishes of my parents to have us both acting?
2. There is sibling dispute and I and my sisters believe my brother needs "reigning in". Is he able to act alone or must it be in agreement with me now that my appointment is in the open?
***** *****
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.


Thank you question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.

Has the brother done anything incorrect in administering the estate?

Does the will say that you must act jointly?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Well it's a moot point! He is the only executive director of my father's property company and this company was in the process of developing a medieval building in the Weald of Kent. This company is also part of my parent's estate and it is debatable whether my brother since my mother died has held in mutual harmony his roles as director of the company and executor of the estate. By this I mean he is trying to execute a classic property deal and strip out land at no cost which would result in his receiving significantly more value from my parent's wills than the three of us.

We three expect to receive about £500K after tax while his proportion would be closer to £1.2m on this arrangement. He says he has saved us collectively about £700k in tax, which is true, and he deserves reward , and also "expertise" with the company.

I know it's difficult and arguably there is a moral case, but at the moment we are only interested in the legal position.

Does that make sense?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The will does say .........

Any of the trustees may exercise or concur in exercising and powers and discretions given by this will or by law notwithstanding that he has a direct or other personal interest in the mode or result of any such exercise but any such trustee may abstain from acting except as a merely formal party in any matter in which he may be so personally interested and may allow his co-trustees or co-trustee to act alone in relation thereto

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Jo - it needs to be said as I am not too sure how this site operates, we are talking about UK law not US law!

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.

This is UK law.

The US area is different.

I need to know what the will says about the appointment of the executors rather than their powers and duties

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I am attaching my mothers will as images so you can find the info you require.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Sorry Jo - there might be some duplication there! I thought I had removed the earlier scans, but clearly not. There should be only four pages plus the grant of probate.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.

thank you.

That tells me what I need to know. It says that power is reserved to another executor which is presumably you. He has felt the application and said that either you are unwilling or unable to act and that’s why power has been reserved to someone else which means that you could always get involved later if you so wished, however what he said is that the date of the application probate, you didn’t want to be involved.

There are 2 potential issues here first one is that the application was defective and secondly as to whether the distribution has been done in accordance with the will.

If you think that he is doing something that he shouldn’t have done or is not doing something that he should have done, then you need to make an application to court to remove him.

If there is no allegation of that then even though he has fraudulent application there is probably nothing to be achieved by progressing that

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. I just need some further clarification .....

I was very willing and very able to act - I simply didn't know I had been appointed a reserve executor and trustee. My brother never spoke to me about it at all.

Are you saying that the grant of probate effectively removes me and that I can have no influence at all?

Can I approach the court and say there has been an error?

Assuming this is resolved, do we have to make joint decisions or can a single trustee act independently of the other and in opposition

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
You will not actually a "reserve" executor as such but you would a joint executor with your brother. You are only reserved in the grant of probate.
By being reserved you can be joined back in at any time.
Of course you can contact the Probate Registry and tell them that the other executor applied in his own on the basis of the power to used to be reserved but you never agreed to that, the application was therefore incorrect and that you now wish to be joined in.
Before doing that however you might want to show this answer to your brother and asked comments.
As it stands at the moment, he can act independently whereas if you both are executors you have to agree on what happens
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69268
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
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