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Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
please accept my condolences for your loss. May I asked if you were estranged from your mother or simply rarely saw each other please?
How many siblings do you have?
Was your mother married on her passing?
I rarely saw her due to being in an abusive relationship, theres just me and my sister my mum was married but her husband died in 2009
Thank you. Lastly may I ask if you are aware whether your sister has applied for probate to date? She would need to to complete a sale of the property.
she has applied for probate it says grant only
Thanks. if your mother did not leave a well then the legal position is that she passed away intestate and her estate will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy.
In this case, because your mother was not married, her estate will be divided equally between any and all natural and adopted children. Based upon what you say, here this would mean you and your sister and accordingly, you are entitled to a half share in your mother's estate.
You have an equal right alongside your sister to act as administrator of your mother's estate under the intestacy rules and you can make an application at any time for your own grant of probate and whether or not you consider this to be worthwhile will depend upon how much there is left to administer and to what extent your sister is always not being cooperative in terms of providing you with information and ultimately your entitlement.
If you decide not to apply for a grant of probate but allow your sister to continue, you have a right to inspect the estate accounts which your sister must maintain in order that you can see what assets made up your mother's estate, what expenses and costs have been deducted and accordingly so you can calculate your share
What do I do if she is not answering any of my messages
if you believe your sister is not providing you with your full entitlement, you can if necessary issue a claim in the courts directly against your sister for recovery of any money owed or in order that information is disclosed to you that you require to reasonably determine your entitlement. You also have the right to information about your mother's assets in your own right because you have a right to act jointly with your sister as administrator though some organisations can be resistant initially to an assertion that you have such a right and practically, it can sometimes be necessary to involve a solicitor to write letters on your behalf to such organisations to obtain the information you require should you prefer this approach rather than court. Obviously, as above you can also apply for a grant of probate in your own right by contacting your local probate registry and having obtained the same, this usually satisfies any organisations claims that they cannot disclose information to you even though strictly a grant of probate is not needed for you to obtain such information
your sister is personally liable to you in respect of any assets owed to you from your mother's estate and if she has sold your mother's house already, ultimately, you can make a claim in the County Court. If your sister has assets of her own, the may not be any particular urgency in this respect as you can claim interest on any monies owed to you but if your sister is asset poor and you fear that some of your entitlement may be spent frivolously and your sister may not have sufficient assets to repay such sums to you, you may wish to consider prioritising the matter because ultimately you will not be able to recover from your sister what she does not have.
how much would it cost if I involved a solicitor as I am now a single mum and only work part time could I get help with costs
a solicitor would charge costs on an hourly rate which is likely to be anything between 100 and £200 per hour depending upon what you are able to negotiate. If you can show the value of your mother's estate, which should be noted on the grant of probate at the bottom, and show that you are her daughter therefore evidencing a clear claim against the estate, some solicitors may be prepared to take the matter on as a no win no fee instruction as this being the case is is a fairly safe case. Alternatively you could seek costs from the estate to cover legal costs.
initially, one would like to think you would not need to involve a solicitor and you can resolve the matter by writing to your sister advising her that you have sought advice to ascertain your position (which is as above) and that you required to respond substantively to you within the next seven days with a full set of accounts or interim accounts, confirmation on the status of administration for your mother's estate and her estimation of what timescales are involved in finalising administration in order that your sister can make distributions to you failing which you reserve your rights to apply the joint administration of the estate and / or seek orders for disclosure and damages against your sister for your share of the estate together with costs.
Since there is no legal defence for your sister in refusing to pay what is owed to you under the estate which is set by statute law, one would hope when she realises you know your rights and are serious, she will cooperate with the reluctantly or not. You may wish to stay in your letter to her that if she is unsure of her position, she may wish to seek advice as it is not your wish to generate unnecessary and pointless legal costs
Have I been able to help you with all your questions on the above?
you have helded and understand now but I feel I will have to involve a solicitor as have already sent 4 letters to my sister's home and she has not got in contact but thankyou for your advice
If you feel you need assistance from a solicitor, that is quite understandable. if you look at the bottom of the grant of probate, you will be able to see the declared value of your mother's estate. You should be entitled to half of that value less reasonable costs and expenses you some idea of your approximate entitlement. If you friend around some local solicitors firms you can discuss with them what funding options they can offer you the circumstances. Most medium firms are larger, offer succession dispute services. I would suggest against using a general practitioner as they often lack the specialist skills to most effectively assist you and you can end up paying for someone that is to some extent finding their way in an area they rarely practice in.
If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do not hesitate to revert to me
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