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Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34019
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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I divorced my husband in 2007. We have two children together

Customer Question

I divorced my husband in 2007. We have two children together (Harry 11.07.1996. and Daniel 06.09.1998.). My ex-husband died suddenly in January 2014. My ex-family do not get on with me and want nothing to do with me. He left a very simple Will leaving everything to the two boys. His ashes are still in three separate urns (one with his Mum, Sister and Brother - my ex-husband was the eldest of 3) and my boys' were not consulted about this or when they are going to do something with them. My ex-husband (Tim) had a flat which, when he died, became the boys' with no mortgage (he had an insurance policy that paid the mortgage off). The flat is still being shown in Tim's name (not the boys'). The Executors named in Tim's Will were his sister (Sarah) and brother (Shaun) but because they didn't want to deal with the estate (if I'm being generous, it's probably too painful for them but it could be that they just don't want the hassle) they appointed Sarah's husband (John - apparently, he went to Court) to be Executor on their behalf. At the time of his death, my boys were 18 and 16. The flat is now rented out (and has been for a while) to Sarah and John's daughter (Rachel) and her boyfriend. She has since spilt with her boyfriend so assume she is living there alone. We have seen no accounts and no evidence of rents being received since Tim's death in 2014. My sons are obviously very much in grief and Tim's family will have nothing to do with me. There were assets in the flat, which legally (I assume) belonged to the boys' which have been sold (or taken) and also Tim had a brand new car when he died which has been 'bought' off the estate by Shaun (now driven by his wife and son, I believe) but it also had a personalised number plate which I bought him before we split up which is quite personal to the boys'. I just don't know how to go about resolving this. It is obviously such an emotive subject for the children and always difficult to bring anything up with them as it is all still so raw. I do understand that legally it's nothing to do with me (boy boys' will be 18 by the 6th September) but I need to make sure they are being dealt with fairly. Can they/we demand to see estate accounts? The boys' have had a one-off payment of just over £1,300 (we estimated that rents were about £550 pcm, receiving just over £2,600 for the whole year makes me think there is more money that we are being told about). I believe it would just be simpler to sell the flat and the boys can then reinvest in another property/pay off uni debts/go travelling etc and it then cuts out any of this 'hassle' and relationships with their Dad's side of the family won't get any more fraught and they can 'enjoy' relationships again without this. Please help. It's making me feel ill with worry all the time. Thank you.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 10 months ago.

Thank you for your question

My name is Clare

I shall do my best to help you but I need some further information first

Do you actually have a copy of the Will and the grant of Probate?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I do have a copy of Will and Probate (not on me though).
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I do, but unfortunately not on me. (I had to obtain the Grant of Probate by looking myself, no one advised us it had been granted) and the Will, we paid for a copy too.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Expert:  Clare replied 10 months ago.

What is the exact wording of the gift to the children?

Are you aware that the site charges more for a phone call?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Ah sorry - I thought my messages weren't being sent, hence asking for phone call.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
i've a copy of the Will I've just found - will attach it now to this message
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
along with Probate on last page)
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hi - sorry, just checking you got the copy Will and Probate?
Expert:  Clare replied 10 months ago.

Yes I have

Just to check - your eldest will be 21 next July?

Have they asked for any funds?

Has your son received the watch?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
he will.
No, the only thing they asked for (John) was Daniel's birth certificate so he could open a bank account for him (Harry actually works for John, part time, at Iceland where John is the manager so I assume that Harry had already given him his identity documents)
No, he's not received the watch - this is still with his paternal Grandmother.
Expert:  Clare replied 10 months ago.

No I mean have your sons asked for any funds from the Estate - they are allowed to do so before they are 21

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
No, they haven't so far as I am aware. It feels like begging to get anything out of them. We have asked so many times for the estate accounts but all we get back is ''in the hands of their solicitors''.
Expert:  Clare replied 10 months ago.

Is there something the boys would need money for (well apart from the obvious!)

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
they could be using the money to pay off Uni debts (for Harry) and car insurance/tax etc. We've also been paying for driving lessons for Daniel (test next month) and some of this could have been used from these funds. Mobile phone contracts, hockey subs (Dan), holidays (both boys' - not with their boring old Mum!). Dan will be needing to insure his car when he does pass his driving test which will be expensive and it all would help towards the costs of it all. And, yes, the obvious is also factored in!!
Expert:  Clare replied 10 months ago.

Have the Executors told you who the Solicitors are?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
No, we have asked but they won't tell the boys.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hi - I'm only going to be on this email until about 7pm (for notifications). Thanks.
Expert:  Clare replied 10 months ago.

The simple fact is that your sons are entitled to basic information about the Trust since they are the only beneficiaries

You can find out more here

It is clear that they did NOT appoint solicitors to deal with the Probate - so it is unlikely there are solicitors dealing with the Estate

At present since your youngest child is still under 18 YOU as his representative are entitled to this information on his behalf.

Your sons are also entitled to ask the Trustees to advance them some monies - a net estate of £263,000 suggests that there should be funds available even if only from the assumed rental.

The executors are personally liable to your sons for the proper administration of the Estate and the Trust.

I woudl suggest that a clam and formal letter is sent to the Executors reminding them of their legal liability and requesting the basic information would be the way forward

Please ask if you need further details

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi Clare - apologies for the delay, I was on annual leave last week out of the country so have only this morning seen your reply. Thank you very much for your help on this. The family are being so unbelievably difficult as it was a contentious divorce (Tim's sister (Sarah) took his laptop and phone after he died and read all our emails/text exchanges which were less than pleasant) so I guess I am public enemy no. 1, hence why they won't communicate with me. Would the formal letter to the Executor come from me or would the boys' have to send it? Dan is 18 next Tuesday, Harry is now 20. Do you have advice on how to word the letter to them please? My Dad (who was an Accountant, now retired) has written to the Executor (John) requesting this sort of information which has sent the hackles up of the family and the last thing I would want to do if I can possibly help it, is make relations with Tim's side of the family difficult for the boys'. They really are that type of family that would cut their nose off to spite their face (Tim's Dad has already disowned both grandsons since his death, as an example). Thank you.
Expert:  Clare replied 9 months ago.

Until next tuesday you can write as your youngest's representative

Make the letter simple and straightforward

Say that you are writing as his representative, that you know that they are entitled to basic information regarding the Trust and that if they do not provide it then you

may have to make an applictaion to the court.

Ask who the boys should write to if they want an advance

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