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JGM
JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 11745
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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I am the sole beneficiary of my father's will and also its

Customer Question

I am the sole beneficiary of my father's will and also its executor. Legal rights are due to my siblings but before we can calculate the exact amount due to them we must wait on some responses from HMRC. IHT tax was paid and Probate was granted last year making funs available. The assets mainly a property and cash held in an account which passed on to me upon my father's death which in effect bypassed the will.
I have been using the funds from this account as an advance. My question is, as sole beneficiary of the will and as executor is it a problem that i have made these advances to myself before legal rights are settled? i have advanced myself upto 20% of what i am set to inherit.
There is more than enough to cover their legal rights claim and the 80% left for me.
Many thanks
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Scots Law
Expert:  JGM replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question.
As executor you are entitled to decide whether interim payments can be made to any beneficiary so as a matter of law there's nothing wrong with what you have done, assuming you can pay the legal rights from the moveable property in the estate.
I hope this helps. Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
JGM and other Scots Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you .

Currently, in order to settle the legal rights i would need to sell the house. The title deed to the house is now in my name so i can sell it if necessary. The house has no mortgage.

I could also raise the cash by taking a mortgage on the house if i choose not to sell it.

In these circumstances (i.e. that there is not enough cash to settle legal rights) is it still ok that i made these advances to myself.

As executor did i have an obligation to inform those with legal rights that i was going to make advances to myself? did i have an obligation to offer them advances?

Many thanks

Expert:  JGM replied 3 years ago.
Let's just say that if you had instructed a solicitor, the solicitor would not have been prepared to make you advances of cash from a legal rights fund. However that is not to say that what you did is illegal. Unwise yes, and the benficiaries would be less than pleased that you had put yourself first before them.
An executor is trustee for the estate as a whole and you have put yourself first which is never good from the point of view of perspective, even if it isn't illegal. But I think you know this already, having asked the question!
You at now personally liable to pay the legal rights to your siblings.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you.

On another note, I understand that interest is generally added to legal rights. That said part of the estate was shares in a private company. The other part was cash and chattels. Would the interest be applicable on the legal rights fund as a whole or only the cash part? if so what interest should be given considering that a current account gives you no interest and a savings next to nothing? also when does interest start to accrue eg. once probate is granted?

Many thanks

Expert:  JGM replied 3 years ago.
Interest is payable on the total legal rights fund.
Interest accrues from death to the date of payment. The rate of interest is not fixed. It is what the sum earned or could have earned by prudent management.