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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8443
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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My late husband past away 2.5yrs ago leaving me his wife as

Customer Question

Hello, My late husband past away 2.5yrs ago leaving me his wife as sole beneficiary now the ex wife is claiming that as part of their devorce he agreed to a one off payment & monthly maintenance payments for their son dating back 10yrs. There was no court agreement & they live in Russia. Her lawyer has been in contact with my late husbands solicitor who is also executor of the estate. A notice was placed in the London Gazzett giving 2 months notice of when the estate shall be distributed which is at the end of the month. Now this morning i've received a letter from the executor saying that as a potential claim may arise, he won't be distributing the funds to me as expected in case of any future claims to be made against him which he would be liable for. The ex hasn't applied to the court but they have sent my solicitor notorized copies of their birth certificate's & marriage certificate. This has been going on for 6 months now with papers & emails being sent asking to be considered in my late husbands will. It's now been 2.5yrs & the estate still hasn't been distributed & this just seems to be dragging on. I don't feel that my solicitor is following my husbands wishes & we';ve given the other side ample enough time to act & provide evidence as of a court order but so far nothing. How much longer can one wait? I strongly feel that there is definitely cause for possibly conflict of interest or serious misconduct. The deadline is up in a few days but yet this letter states that he won't be distributing my late husbands estate??
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Customer: Their joint son is 15 now & they divorced 10yrs ago & she has always lived in Russia. I have a son who is almost 5yrs now & only myself & our son is mentioned in my husbands will. All debts have been paid but now the ex wife say's she is owed this money. Not sure why it has took till his death to demand this money they she states is owed to her even though my husband did give her a large sum of money when their relationship broke down abroad.
Submitted: 25 days ago.
Category: Law
Customer: replied 25 days ago.
The house & mortgage was in my husbands name & i've managed to clear the mortgage in the 2.5yrs so now its all been paid for, we did not need to pay inheritance tax either & my husband was of pension age when he passed away (66) Also the ex wife has gone to a TV show in Russia about this issue & the journalist have managed to take photo's of my son & i & presented them on their show. Their lawyers have said that i should do the right thing but i know my late husband gave her funds & purchased a property for her & i feel that she is just trying her luck. Now the executor is worried as they keep bombarding him with emails but not going through the proper channels. How much long must i wait? I've spent all my savings paying the mortgage off in full & giving my husband a bloody good send off!!
Customer: replied 25 days ago.
The same solicitor/executor also done their divorce & served her twice in Russia as at 1st the ex wife signed in the wrong place, in my opinion deliberately..... Even though my late husband is English & lived here in the UK she was asking for payment in USD of a one off payment of 20,000 & 500 every month. Now i haven't even included their 2 bed apartment jointly owned in Russia into the pot but i did recently mention this to my solicitor. The probate was done within 9 months of my late husband's passing so am i right in that they've missed the deadline to contest the will? How much longer can my solicitor give them to act & is he right to hang onto the estate now that the Trustee Act notice is up. In the letter my solicitor also mentions searching for a quote for indemnity insurance??
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 23 days ago.
I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.
I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.
Thank you!
Customer: replied 23 days ago.
Hi Nicole, trust it to be my question..... been waiting for a response all day. I'm patiently waiting!
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 22 days ago.
We will continue to look for a Professional to assist you.
Thank you for your patience,
Customer: replied 22 days ago.
I've been doing some research & came across the word 'DOMICILED' now my late husband died while we were on holiday & not in the UK where he resided so from what i have read that the will can't be contested,a claim can't be made if he died outside of Domiciled. I believe the ex wife knows this fact & so therefore is going for maintenance which she states he hadn't paid for 10yrs. There wasn't a court order & i can't prove that he did in fact send her money for their son but who would leave it for so long (10 yrs) & she's basically i feel just trying her luck. He gave her money hence them not being mentioned in the will.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 21 days ago.

I will try to assist you with this as it has been waiting some time.

What is the approximate value of your late husband’s estate?

Where are the ex-wife’s solicitors located?

What ultimatum has been given to the ex-wife with regard to bringing a claim?

Is she simply demanding money which she alleges is owed to her? On what basis is she saying that it is owed to her?

Has she given any indication of how much she wants?

Customer: replied 21 days ago.
Approximately 450k including our home.
The ex wife's solicitor is in Russia & claiming that my late husband agreed to 20k one off payment & 500 USD in monthly payments back dated for 10yrs. No court order just an agreement according to her?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 21 days ago.

Thank you. There are a whole load of practical difficulties for someone in Russia bringing a claim against someone in England. That isn’t to say that it can’t be done meanwhile, you would have to defend the wife’s claim which is going to cost you money even if you got a costs order against the claimant. If you did get a costs order against the claimant because you won in court and her claim failed, the chances are you getting that money from Russia are going to be remote in the extreme.

Unfortunately, because the English legal system is less corrupt than the Russian system the odds are waited in her favour.

There are a variety of ways of dealing with this.

Your husband may or may not have agreed to pay this money to her. She is probably chancing her arm.

My first suggestion would be to agree to pay her £5000 in full and final settlement. It’s going to be cheaper than going to court and is risk-free. I will say that if she went to court, I think it unlikely she would win but there is a chance. She is also not going to be able to enforce alleged maintenance payments going back 10 years.

Second suggestion: As the situation is at the moment, the solicitor could basically be hanging on to the money indefinitely. there is no reason why he could not distribute at least 50% of the money now even if he is worried about a claim. he needs to contact the solicitors and give them an absolute deadline to issue proceedings failing which he will distribute the estate. He appears to be being dilatory for some reason. If he does give an absolute deadline to issue proceedings and they don’t issue them, and he distributes the estate and they subsequently bring a claim against him, he can produce his correspondence that he acted reasonably with a view to getting the matter thrown out. He can’t just sit there and do nothing! If doing that, the solicitor would take out an indemnity policy on the off chance that they do bring legal proceedings which at least that he would be insured against.

Third suggestion: I don’t know what the Russian property is worth and there are certain practical difficulties in getting an accurate valuation and disposal and getting the assets, but it might be worthwhile offering to transfer the property to her in total provided she accepts that in full and final settlement.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Please rate the service positive.

The thread remains open for further exchanges.

Best wishes.

Customer: replied 21 days ago.
Thank you for your indepth reply. The Russian property was purchased when they were together some years ago. The executor is the solicitor who is representing me apparently. The remaining funds on account is about 50k roughly & the house here in the UK which was in my late husband's name & I've just managed to clear the mortgage which was also in he's name. My solicitor/executor has emailed me yesterday asking if I want him to get a quote for indemnity insurance? Is this something that I need to have? Shouldn't he's law firm have this cover as standard practice??
Expert:  F E Smith replied 21 days ago.

The solicitor will have professional indemnity insurance against professional negligence.

However this isn’t professional negligence insurance, this is insurance against someone bringing a claim as a result of a decision which isn’t negligent but may lead to litigation. It is a different thing. It is quite normal to arrange in circumstances like this. It is not usually that expensive believe it or not. Yes, I would ask him to get quotes from indemnity insurance because meanwhile, all this to-ing and fro-ing with correspondence is costing £200 per hour and the sooner you get this wound up, the better and it costs a few hundred or even a couple of thousand pounds for an indemnity insurance policy it’s money well spent and draws a line under everything. The last time I arranged with these policies, it cost hundreds not thousands.

Customer: replied 21 days ago.
Thank you so much & good day to you.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 20 days ago.

I am glad to have helped. Please don’t forget to rate positive as that gets me paid. The thread does remain open.

F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8443
Experience: I have been practising for 30 years.
F E Smith and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Your advice really helped & prompted me to book an appointment to see a new solicitor.
I was advised to request some information to which i did via an email giving the executor 14 days to reply & to my surprise he did within the hour by phone with good news that he is now ready to distribute the remaining estate & to transfer the deeds into my sole name. I wanted to hold off making an offer to the otherside as they might see that as a weakness but they actually have no grounds to contest the will as my late husband's wasn't domiciled (permanent residence) in the United Kingdom. But i will set up a trust fund for when the son is a young adult as i'm a mother myself. After all he's also lost he's father. After 2.5yrs i can now start to move forward with our lives & hold onto the good memories!! Onwards & upwards.
Thank you once again x
Expert:  F E Smith replied 16 days ago.

Thank you for the update.

That is good news indeed. I am glad to have been able to help. Best wishes.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Can you help with this matter of transferring the property into my name. The executor/solicitor has emailed me across the Land Registry form AS1 section (9) where it states 'The personal representative transfers with
which box should be crossed? The solicitors firm has sent me both claiming that they originally sent me the wrong form so now i'm slightly confused. Does this mean that he the personal representative solicitor/executor has limited title guarantee prior to signing the property over to me as sole beneficiary or does it imply that i have full title guarantee or limited title guarantee??
They've confused me by sending both & now their office is closed till Monday.Thanks in advance.
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Which box should be crossed?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 12 days ago.

You would tick limited title guarantee if you have no knowledge of the property or full title guarantee you have knowledge of property. Difference between full title guarantee and limited title guarantee.

When a property is being sold, Full Title Guarantee implies that you have the right to sell the property that you will do all you can to ensure that the buyer has good title and that you are selling the property free from all charges and encumbrances other than those which would be discoverable on reasonable inspection from the title deeds or reasonable searches.

This latter part doesn’t apply if it’s limited title guarantee what you do guarantee that you haven’t created any adverse rights over the property you can’t speak for former owners.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Thank you so much.
So the limited title box should be ticked right?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 12 days ago.

That’s correct, and executor/personal representative would normally be transferring with limited title guarantee.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
I get it now, thank you so much x

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