How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask James Mather Your Own Question
James Mather
James Mather,
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 22629
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
Type Your Law Question Here...
James Mather is online now

Good evening hopefully you can help with a terrible situation. My

This answer was rated:

Good evening hopefully you can help with a terrible situation.

My mother passed away last summer June 2012 leaving her estate in will and is really quite straightforward, alongside was the residue of my late fathers estate two investment policies one a life assurance policy and the other an investment bond, the bond produced an income which paid most of the premium for the life assurance policy, the shortfall in the premium was paid by other income streams of mother's.

Both the policy and the bond were cashed in after we lost mother and are held in trust and the trustees are the executors, one of the executors had decided to re invest both into long term fixed investments bonds to produce a monthly income for the named four beneficiaries but none of the named beneficiaries can touch the capital for any reason, upon the passing of the last direct beneficiary the whole amount is then distributed to the grandchildren only two of the beneficiaries have children, two do not.

I feel that the executor/trustee who invested the sum has not acted as mother intended and is very unfair against the two beneficiaries who do not have children and who were both expecting to receive their full share of all the estate and the portfolio etc.

is there anything that I can do to fight this unfairness ?

What exactly does the will say on the point of Executors investing and beneficiaries inheriting?

Can you let me see the will?

What is the estate worth?


Customer: replied 5 years ago.


Good morning Law

The will does not mention anything about the trusts which are outside the estate of mother.


The size of the estate is 1.3m, the life assurance is 1.2m and the other portfolio bond is 1m


I have always liaised on behalf of the three other principal beneficiaries, my brother and two sisters with mothers solicitor who is a trustee and mothers accountant who is also a trustee.


I would add that I was appointed power of attorney for mother since 2008 as she was not all well for several years leading up to June 11 last year when sadly we lost her, and for the last 12 years since father passed in 2000, I managed mothers affairs and on a weekly basis would attend to her correspondence bank and credit card accounts etc.,


I also attended with mother the annual financial review meeting with the financial adviser who works for a sister company of the accountants and I would indeed interpret for mother the recommendations and arrangements of the portfolio of investments and the investment vehicles designed and planned to provide certain sums to cover a number of potential financial demands including the eventual inheritance tax due upon her estate.


The solicitor/trustee were always fully involved and acted in all my Mother’s legal and financial arrangements plans and agreements.


Both executors/trustees are now dealing with the will, and I believe probate is not that far away.


One of the main features of the portfolio which the accountant and financial adviser advised mother and father to establish was a life assurance policy to cover the potential inheritance tax which might become due, this policy was a whole life assurance policy for the sum of £1,100,000, and was started in 2000/2001 this policy attracted a monthly premium in the early years from about £5000 per month eventually increasing to about £6000 per month, I had full knowledge and have copy correspondence of this policy and the purpose for which it was for.


There was a further large investment bond for £1,000,000 which made up a large part of the overall portfolio of father and mothers investments, both the Life assurance policy and the Portfolio Bond were cashed in I believe by either the accountant or the financial adviser sometime after the 11th of June 2012 the day of mothers passing, the solicitor does not appear to know any details.


On Tuesday the 12th of March, I requested a meeting with the solicitor (joint executor) at their offices to review the current status of the will probate and other items of information which was needed to know regarding mothers house hold bills for taxation purposes.


During this meeting and purely in conversation, the solicitor informed me that both the life assurance and investment policies had indeed be cashed in and that the accountant had, she said reinvested the whole amount of £2,100,000 some sort of investments which he had decided to do by himself, apparently to provide a monthly income for the four principal beneficiaries myself my two sisters and my brother for the rest of our lives, furthermore the accountant also decided that we were not have to have any access to the capital and that upon the passing of the last principle beneficiary the whole amount would be cashed in and distributed equally between the grandchildren, I and my younger sister do not have children.


In my meeting with the solicitor she did not know any details of these investments or when they had been made, I also was shocked to be told that solicitor appeared to have had nothing to do with these decisions, surely as the local joint executor and mothers legal representative and advisor she should have known about such a very serious alteration to Fathers and Mothers wishes and intentions.


These actions are totally contrary to Mother’s wishes, her wishes and the clear arrangement that the Life assurance policy would provide the funds to pay the inheritance tax liability and the remaining whole estate would be divided equally between the immediate four children, less of course legacies and any disbursements.


At no time has the solicitor or accountant (the joint trustees) have consulted me as the power of attorney and none of the other beneficiaries have been consulted about these actions.


These arbitrary actions are completely against mothers deeply held beliefs instructions and wishes that the four beneficiaries must be treated equally and that under no circumstances can any divisive action be taken which would split the family, these actions have now done exactly this.


Is there anything I can do?


Thank you

Kind regards


As you appreciate the facts are extremely complicated as
indeed are the trusts set up by your father's estate.

I am going to put it therefore in simple terms. Please
confirm my understanding. I assume that your mother inherited the benefit of
your father's estate, wherever it was invested.

The whole of the two estates (Mothers and fathers, fathers,
having been inherited by mother) then passed , in accordance with your mother's
will. But for some reason, the accountant, took it upon himself to invest a
large chunk of money (from father's estate) elsewhere.

The first thing I would do is ask the accountant for a
full account of any commissions that he received on this investment. If that is
not forthcoming, complain to his regulatory body, or Institute or association.

The beneficiaries, provided they are all over 21 and full
mental capacity and all agree are entitled under the rule in Saunders v Vautier
to bring any trust to an end and have the proceeds divided. If there is any
penalty for doing this, I think you can look to the accountants professional
indemnity policy for compensation. I imagine that the accountant thought he was
getting a substantial amount of commission on a £2 million investment.

I'm not certain if that answers your question but I am
happy to expand any points or answer individual questions.

This is certainly not a do it yourself job and you are
going to need a solicitor with specific experience in dealing with such
disputes involving breach of find you should be duty by executors and trustees.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Dear Law


Sorry not to reply earlier, yesterday was a bad day for me.


To continue a little further with this matter, the executor/trustee who is also the accountant has now said to me that he has an instruction from when my father was still with us that states the two polices the life assurance and the investment policy were be used for this other purpose .


He has not produced any evidence to support this and he has refused to tell me the commission that his company has received.


During the telephone call I had with him he denied that the life assurance bond was ever set up to pay the inheritance tax and it was always planned to do something else.


I just can not understand why he never told my mother over the last 12 years since my father passed.


He was adamant that he was acting completely properly and there was nothing I can do about this.


It is all very strange, you refer to a previous case where if all the beneficiaries are over 21 and of sound mind they can have the trust wound up does this apply to a discretionary trust as this is what I believe this trust is.


Can you provide any further information on this please?


Can I on my own get anything done about it as the 3 other are all showing signs of accepting it?


Thank you very much





I disagree with him completely.

Saunders v Vautier applies to any trust but you must all agree. I would see a solicitor who deals specifically with this and who can take detailed instructions and advise you in depth. It is certainly worth taking it further based on these facts

James Mather and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hello Law


Thank you for your help