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Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33321
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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. I sent this question a week ago and my deposit was

Customer Question

Hello . I sent this question a week ago and my deposit was received but you do not seem to have received it!
Ten years ago my mother died leaving some properties to me and my 2 brothers as trustees. By mutual agreement , one of my brothers has managed the properties since then , collecting rents , paying bills etc. A year ago I have asked him for detailed accounts of income and expenditure , not audited , but maybe in the form of bank statements. His daughter manages the accounts and receives 400 GBP per annum for this .
Despite several requests to see the accounts , nothing has been produced. So my questions are
1)Do I have a right , as a fellow trustee , to access these accounts?
2) If so , how can I compel my brother to produce accounts?
3) Should my brother have opened a separate bank account to deal with these tenants in common properties?
4) Do the accounts have to show a detailed breakdown of income and expenditure?
With Many thanks and my regards *****
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
What was the wording that created the Trust?
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you Clare ,

I am seeking the info you need!

I've contacted my late Mum's solicitor and asked him to supply the answers ASAP.

More soon I trust

My Regards

Charlie

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
That is fine - add it when you can
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Dear Clare ,

I've just received a response from my late Mum's solicitor. I quote him

."The properties were transferred to the 3 brothers and you hold them in trust for yourselves .There is no separate trust document". He does say when this happened but I think it was at the time of Mum's death as it was then I began to receive income from the properties

Looking forward to your comments.

Thank you and my regards

Charlie

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
That suggests that there is in fact no formal trust.
What has happened is that you and your siblings own these properties and have simply agreed that they should be kept as a joint venture and rented out.
You can bring this to an end at any time and seek an Order from the Court that the properties be sold
Since there is no formal trust you are simply three people who run a business renting out properties - and as a joint owner you are entitled to a full accounting showing the breakdown of Income and Expenditure.
If your brother refuses to provide these then you need to make it clear that you will end the business relationship and seek a sale of the properties - and a financial accounting.
Please ask if you need further details
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you very much for this information. In fact the family solicitor has written saying


"The position is the properties were transferred to the 3 Brothers and you hold them on trust for yourselves. This is no separate Trust document. I did not tell you that Gelli Rhudd was transferred to the Trust to which you refer. Gelli Rhudd was transferred out of your Mother’s Estate.


With reference to the final paragraph of your letter I am reviewing my file and I will be writing to yourself and the other Trustees shortly as to the position with my Firm and the involvement and dealings with the Trust going forward. This letter will deal with the question of any costs that are owing. Until I write further I will not be prepared to deal with any Trust/ownership matters unless I receive instructions from all of the Trustees."

I am puzzled by his reference to the Trust in his final paragraph if there is no trust. What does this mean? I also think now that the ohter properties in Walsall were transferred to the three brothers prior to 1996 which is the date of my mother's will. She died in 2005. Surely I would have been entitiled to income from these properties before her death? Could you elucidate what you mean by being able to ask for "a financial accounting"? What would this comprise?

I'd also like to know how I can find out the date when the properties were transferred into our names. The family solicitor refuses to answer my questions unless the other brothers agree and they are refusing so I am in the dark. Am I not entitled to this information?

Thanks again in advance for your help.

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
As you say it makes no sense.
You can check the ownership of the properties using the Land Registry Portal here
http://eservices.landregistry.gov.uk/www/wps/portal/!ut/p/b1/04_Sj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfGjzOKNjSxMDA1NjDwsjM3MDTxN3dyNDUNMjQ1MjIEKIvEocDckpD84NU8_XD8KTZm_m6OBp7GTv7e7caCRgYEZhgJUcyyMCCgAuQOswAAHcDTQ9_PIz03VL8iNqPDMDEgHAAblRA0!/dl4/d5/L2dJQSEvUUt3QS80SmtFL1o2XzMyODQxMTQySDgzNjcwSTVGRzMxVDUzMDQz/
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I have tried the Land Registry portal and see that we three brothers are all owners but there is no information as to when we became owners. If my mother's will is dated 1996 and there is no reference to the Walsall properties then I assume they were transferred to our ownership several years before her death in 2005, and in fact prior to 1996. Would the solicitor not have had a legal obligation to inform me of this? The cottage Gelli Rhudd was left in trust in her will with the various standard clauses about beneficiaries and power to sell or postpone sale etc. Surely the provisions in this testamentary trust of which I am a trustee cannot simply have been set aside?

I understand we are tenants in common. How can I find out if there is a trust? If there is no trust how could the cottage be transferred? How could a will trust be dissolved?

I would also appreciate the answer to my question about financial information and accounting too. Thank you again.

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
What is the wording of the Will that you are referring to?
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you, Clare.

Just to clarify what property we are referring to...

Our mother made a will in 1996. I attach a copy. In this will I assumed the "residue of the estate" referred to a cottage in Wales and to two properties in Walsall as well as money in bank accounts and her own house.

However, the two properties in Walsall, formerly belonging to our mother, and which I had assumed had been left in our mothers will, now appear from the Land Registry information to have been transferred into the names of me and my two brothers in 2001. I recall nothing of this and nor does my younger brother. The properties were let and I assume one of my brothers received the income since the correspondence address on the Land Registry is his.

The cottage in Wales does seem to have been part of her estate and she made codicils to her will leaving the cottage in trust to seven beneficiaries including the wives and children of my brothers, with their thirds being divided. At some stage the cottage was transferred into the ownership of the three brothers in 2009 four years after her death when probate was finally completed. I am given to understand that we are tenants in common of these properties. Presumably the other beneficiaries still would benefit from any sale?

Our family solicitor is refusing to give me any information without the consent of my brothers, one of whom I suspect of fraudulently not sharing income. As I have said he refuses to send accounts. His daughter, whom he pays to do accounts, is a beneficiary and lately sent a minimal resume of income and expenditure but no bank details or information about reserves. I do not trust her to be open and disinterested.

I'd appreciate your opinion on what measures I can take for disclosure of financial information.

Attachment: 2015-02-25_105122_chgriffithscodicil.pdf

Please let me know if the attachments of the will and codicil have not come to you and I will try again.

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Ho
Are you sure that the properties were transferred to you in 2001?
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Dear Clare, The property is Title number WM742092

I only know that in the Land Registry document that I searched it states IN SECTION B under the heading Title Absolute

1. (29.03.2001) Proprietor: ***** *****more Griffiths, ***** ***** Griffiths and Peter Charles Griffiths care of Moat Spring Farm, Marchington Woodlands, Uttoxeter, Staffordshire

2. 20.03.2001 Restriction: No disposition by a sole proprietor of the land (not being a trust corporation) under which capital money arises is to be registered except under an order of the registrar or of the court.

Actually the other property in Walsall is registered similarly with our names and restriction under Title Possessory on 20.02. 2001.

I now attach two Deeds of Variation and a Codicil which updated the will of 1996 and in which the cottage in Wales, Gelli Rhudd, is referred to specifically. The family solicitor had also already recently told me that the two Walsall properties had been transferred before our mother's death.

I hope this information is useful but do let me know if you require anything further.

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
It is clear that there is no formal Trust involved with any of the properties.
They are simply properties that you all own jointly - and if you wish to stop owning them jointly then you can insist that they are sold.
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I am still unclear. What happens when a will leaves property "in trust" with the provisions in the will? Eg the right to occupancy.

Are we joint tenants or tenants in common?

What has happened to the other beneficiaries shares if they are not named as owners?

What about a right to proper accounts and access to bank statements if the properties were being managed by one brother, without our knowledge, having been transferred by our mother prior to her death (and the other two brothers not having received any income from the rent)?

Surely the law must provide some form of redress?

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
I think I am missing a Codicil - the one dealing with the cottage
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I hope I have attached the codicil now.

I also would like to know how one can tell from the land registry information about Registered owners whether one is a tenant in common or a joint tenant

and

under Title Absolute what is meant by "No disposition by a sole proprietor of the land (not being a trust corporation) under which capital money arises is to be registered except under an order of the registrar or of the court"

Thanks again

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
Sadly no it has not come through - could you try again
That phrase means that the property is held as tenants in Common
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Oh dear, I don't know how to do it...is there any way I can attach it to a normal email or send a scan?

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
The first ones you sent came through perfectly - did you do anything differently with those?
Clare
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
May be you can just reproduce the wording here?
Clare

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