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plclegal, Barrister
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 8297
Experience:  Barrister at law
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Please advise me on my options regarding the following.

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Please advise me on my options regarding the following.After my mother's death in 2019, she left a small inheritance to me and my brother, Gordon, who are the sole beneficiaries. I was acting as administrator for the estate which was intestate because there was no will.My brother initially said that he did not want the inheritance as it would affect his disability benefits. However, he has since been asking for money and I have provided it when he has asked. I have a small business but have been struggling to make a profit due to ill health. As I don’t have an income from the business, I have borrowed from my brother’s portion of the estate, which he verbally agreed to.I believe that my brother has not declared the money to the Benefits Agency and has made a veiled threat to get a solicitor, presumably because he thinks that I am not going to pay him the remainder of his portion of the estate.I would also point out that my brother has Asperger's Syndrome and schizophrenia and has not been taking his medication, against the advice of his carers.I would like to draft a signed, written agreement between myself and my brother. The essence of the statement is:-I owe him his portion of the estate, but that he has a responsibility to declare to the benefits agency, all monies that have already been paid to him and the remainder which is owed to him.My intension is to protect my brother and myself from doing anything illegal and to avoid a situation where my brother might accuse me of misappropriating funds. If my brother signs an agreement to say I owe him money, then he cannot later say that I stole it. If my brother does not sign the agreement, then a contingency must be anticipated.I intend to seek a consolidation loan, perhaps with a debt charity, as I have some other outstanding financial obligations. If I am successful, then the money owed to my brother would be available, but I would need advice on how this should be paid.I need to know if I am responsible for any wrongdoing in this matter and if so, what I should do about it.Many thanks.

Good morning.

My name is ***** ***** I specialise in family law. I’m happy to assist you today and I appreciate that is is important that you find a resolution as soon as possible.

Please note that our discussions on this site are for general information purposes and do not create an lawyer-client relationship. It is always recommended that you consult with a local solicitor for specific legal information.

I'll do my best to resolve this for you, please give me time to review your question and I will revert back to you shortly.

Can you tell me how much the inheritance was, and how much you have 'borrowed' from your brother?

How much has he already been paid out?

Do you have clear records of all transactions?

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** forward to your response!

Happy to help. As per my reply above:

Can you tell me how much the inheritance was, and how much you have 'borrowed' from your brother?

How much has he already been paid out?

Do you have clear records of all transactions?

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
The estate amounted to £43,428 and I have paid out approximately 6 or 7 thousand to my brother. The amount I owe him is approximately £17000. An accurate record of accounts will take some time to collate, but the bulk of the work is done already.

Thank you, ***** ***** helpful. What is not clear is whether he refused/ disclaimed his inheritance in the first place (for whatever reason) - or simply asked you to safeguard his portion.

If the former, he has no control over the monies as they would have reverted back to the estate and therefore passed on to you as the sole remaining beneficiary. Under this version of events, he could actually owe you money.

If the latter, there would need to be a clear agreement about what you were effectively holding 'on trust' for him.

As long as you have an agreement between you as to any monies owed to your brother, and can account for transactions in the event of a challenge, you are not necessarily responsible for any wrongdoing. If you did have an agreement to safeguard his share and borrowed from this without his permission, then this could be more tricky for you.

At any stage, if your brother decides to 'cash' in the loan, he may chose to pursue you through the civil courts for any balance owed to him.

So really this boils down to his willingness to cooperate.

I trust that this assists?

The responsibility to declare your brother's inheritance/ income is also not your responsibility. This does not need to be part of any agreement in my view.

Can I clarify anything further for you?

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
This was very helpful and clarifies my initial assumption that his original statement effectively surrendered his portion of the estate. My partner was witness to this conversation. My feeling is that he wants to have his cake and eat it, but this would be committing benefit fraud. I will stand by this and attempt to persuade him to agree to this in writing. If he does not agree then I he can pursue legal recourse. As a gesture of goodwill, I would not require that he pays me the money that he received from me. Can you please respond to this.

This seems like a sensible approach. It's helpful to have a witness to the initial refusal too.

I trust this resolves the issue for you today?

Thank you for visiting JustAnswer, please do let me know if you have any additional questions in the future. I am also happy to answer any new questions on other topics that you may have, you can request me by putting “for PLCLEGAL” at the start of the new thread. Best wishes, Peter

plclegal and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
I think that this does resolve my issue and I am most grateful for your help today. I can finally sleep now! I will give 5 stars for your assistance!Have a great weekend Peter.Best regards.

My pleasure, you too.