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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 10951
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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My wife's father died two years ago at only 63 of

Customer Question

Hello. My wife’s father died two years ago at only 63 of cancer, which is tough enough, but he was in business with his brother, which was explained to us in business terms as being 'like a marriage' in terms of assets etc. The brother is one of the executors and my wife and 2 siblings, think that they have received nowhere near the information due to them, although some money has come through. We have received no statements or accounts or in fact anything of real worth in writing and there has just been an air of secrecy. Nothing in writing to detail funeral expenses, inheritance tax details, or in fact anything. The other executor is a family friend of the brother and also his solicitor and the feeling is that my wife and siblings have been fobbed off continuously. When we have asked the solicitor executor, we were told by the brother that every time we asked him something this costs money, however if he is a named executor, how is this correct as surely an executors duties are offered voluntarily, so this suggests some conflict of interests. There are several properties and rented commercial space tied up with the joint ‘pension’ arrangements of the two brothers and we have received repeated excuses that Customs and Excise are still not satisfied with the inheritance tax situation, none of which we have been privy to, when we have asked for a definitive written breakdown of what has been paid to whom and what the future situation might be. Anyway they are at last thinking that independent legal advice regarding the whole matter might sadly be necessary, but this will of course wreck the family's relationship with the brother and others. Is there much information within the public domain that could be drawn up here, so that some more clarity can be found without being confrontational and/or are there some legal requirements we can 'demand' from the executors that might help? It is very complicated, but we need some help. Thanks Jon
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Buachaill replied 2 years ago.
1. The first thing you should be aware of here, is that the professional executor, the solicitor, is most likely getting paid for acting as executor, as normally, for the appointment of a professional person, there would be a charging clause in the will permitting the professional person (eg solicitor) to charge for their time, as they would not act for free. So, if the will has been admitted to probate, you can obtain a copy of the will from the District Probate Registry in Leeds and see if it contains a charging clause. My guess is that it does, as no solicitor acts for free, as executor of a dead person's estate.
Expert:  Buachaill replied 2 years ago.
2. The second point however, if that the professional executor should be written to and information sought in relation to the progress from the estate. If your wife is a beneficiary, she is entitled to information as to when her share will be paid out. If your wife is the residuary legatee, that is is she receives a share of the residue or the remainder of the assets, then she is entitled to a full account of the handling of the estate by the two trustees. So, if your wife is not the residuary legatee, she can enlist that person's help and get them to seek the information she wishes. In that way she can get a full and clear picture of what is going on with the administration of the estate.
Expert:  Buachaill replied 2 years ago.
3. Be aware that an application to remove one or both executors can be made if there is something untoward in the administration of the estate. This application can be made on the "executor's year" or one year period allowed to an executor to administer the estate has been completed. Such an application can be made on the grounds of delay. If the executors are simply taking too long to deal with the estate, then you can apply to have someone else appointed executor instead.