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JGM
JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 10913
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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I have a problem with a marina since my father died 2 year ago after being terminally ill

Customer Question

I have a problem with a marina since my father died 2 year ago after being terminally ill for over a year I now found out they have used a debt collector who has started legal action. I have never received an invoice for this. I do not know what to do. This seems consulted to put down here but I will try.
My father, who I had not seen for almost 20 years,died 7th July 2013 in Crieff. He owned a yacht which he kept at Dunstaffnage Marina, Dunbeg, Oban paying annual fee to the Marina and also had one of the best moorings which I believe he paid £3000 for and for which he paid a rent to the Mooring Association which has nothing to do with the marina. My father's Crieff solicitor did not finalise my father's dealings with the marina or their brokerage company at the same address.
The Mooring Association asked both the Marina and the solicitor for my address - these people were both writing to me at my home address - but they both gave my father's cottage in Comrie that was left to my
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Scots Law
Expert:  JGM replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I am a solicitor in Scotland.
It is generally for the executor to deal with debts due to the estate. Who were the executors and did they know about this berth and the yacht? Are there other beneficiaries other than you?
Who now owns the yacht and where is it?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The solicitor was one executor they are Mr Geddes of Irving Geddes in Crieff he charged us £10,000 on an estate of approx £350,000. He was also very keen to sell the cottage which in a conservation village, he sent round a couple to view it while we were clearing it out into a skip.

The other executor was my youngest,and least experienced , brother who had also not seen his father for almost 18 years, and had received terrible treatment and neglect by his father.We think he was chosen because he would not go against any decision by the solicitor.

We have now sold the yacht to a local cabinet maker from Oban called Derek McLean the boat is at Crinan Argyll.

Expert:  JGM replied 1 year ago.
Why did the solicitor not deal with the marina when he was winding up the estate?
JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 10913
Experience: 30 years as a practising solicitor.
JGM and other Scots Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

We thought he had settled all outstanding debts including the boat, and he handed us the paperwork for us to sell the boat and mooring, not telling that it was illegal for us or anyone to sell it. They evidently sell it and pass the money on to you. All moorings come under the Crown Estate and if you miss two payments you lose your mooring. I think they tried hard to find us but as I said the marina and solicitors did not send them our address although they were both writing to us at our Chester address.

Expert:  JGM replied 1 year ago.
You have to establish from your brother, who acted as co executor, precisely what the instructions were to the solicitor about the boat and the mooring. It would be unusual for a solicitor not to deal with every aspect of the estate or at least to take instructions on those items that were to be retained by the beneficiaries. If it was never the intention that the beneficiaries were to retain the boat, then they should have dealt with it as part of the estate. From what you say there is a potential cause for complaint about their handling of this aspect.
It also appears to me that any debt action arising from this should be directed at the executors. Beneficiaries are not generally liable for debts of the estate, although where the estate has been fully distributed I do have experience of the Crown pursing for such things as overpaid benefits etc.
A debt due by an estate should be intimated to the executors within six months of the date of death. I suggest in the first instance you ask the solicitor for a written report on how this situation has managed to arise given that the estate was in his hands to deal with.

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