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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34902
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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I write to ask if you have a legally qualified person who may

Customer Question

I write to ask if you have a legally qualified person who may be able to point a way forward on resolving the issue below.
Mother opened a saving account in approximately 1998 the account was in joint names with my eldest sister, the reason for opening the account was that my mother was retiring to Ireland and my sister was not happy in her marriage.
The money was in joint names so if there was any problem with any of the grandchildren in the UK mother had money in the UK, but should my eldest sister leave her husband there was money she could access.
My eldest sister left the country and settled in Dubai in 1998.
Neither reasons why the account was set up occurred; the bank book was held in Ireland with my Mother up until 2006.
The account was red flagged by my younger sister who lived with my mother to stop it going dormant.
My eldest sister had removed the passbook on one of her rare visits and started to pay monies into this account from Dubai as she was now looking to return and buy a marital home back in the UK, up until this point the monies had accumulated.
My mother suffered from bowl cancer in her later years which she had surgery for and this ultimately spread to her liver which was eventually her cause of death in 29th October 2011.
Mother made a will on the 11th January 2010 leaving monies in her in bank accounts in the UK to six grandchildren.
She attended the bank in the UK in March 2010 after her final chemotherapy treatment where she was asked if she wanted to sign this joint account over to my Eldest sister, but declined.
My eldest sister emptied the joint account on 7/10/2010, she opened an account with the same bank and transferred the money into this.
There had been a falling out between my mother and my eldest sister, namely that she had interfered over medical advice given and had been a disruptive influence so my mother had told her not to come back.
I as an executor have tried to fulfil mothers wishes having found out that my sister had emptied the account and closed the account she opened in January 2013 saying to the bank that she wanted to buy a house.
Throughout her dealings with the bank she had claimed falsehood saying for example that she needed the joint account to be reopened as she was expecting £15k from Dubai. I have looked through the statements and cannot see a sum being paid in of this amount, so she conned the bank into reopening the account.
The problem as I see it is that my sister will claim the money is hers although she never made any contribution to this account until 2006 and is not willing to honour mothers wishes.
Do we have sufficient legal claim to this money and is there a way that we can retrieve it without spending a fortune in doing so.
I have e-mailed my sister on a number of occasions about honouring mother’s wishes and to no satisfaction.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your question here on Just answer. It is my pleasure to try and assist you with this today. Please bear with me if I need to ask for any further information from you in order for me to be able to advise you fully. My name is Law Denning and I am a practising solicitor. I have been an expert on this website in UK law since 2008. During that time, as you appreciate, I have answered thousands of questions from satisfied users on a variety of subjects.
Because we are all in practice with clients and court and other users, I might not always respond in minutes, particularly evenings and weekends. Please bear with me in that case. I will be online and off-line all day most weekdays and weekends.

Were your mothers wishes set out in a will please?
Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare and I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
For clarity this account was always held in their joint names and your sister paid into it.
How much was in the account at the time of closure?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Mothers wishes were included in a written will

Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
Did the Will actually specifically refer to this account?
For clarity this account was always held in their joint names and your sister paid into it.
How much was in the account at the time of closure?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Mothers will states that "monies held in her UK bank accounts are to be given to my grandchildren".


Mother had this joint account with the TSB and some National saving bonds.


The account had £13,027.37 accummulated before the passboook went missing, my sister had put monies into the account after March 2007. Mother closed her Halifax account in 1993 and opened this account.

When my sister closed the account the sum of £12,126.18 was transferred to a account that she opened and this account was then used as her sons rent account, e.g. she could not close the account as such without mother or death certificate. The bank inform me that the other account was closed in January of this year.

Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
I am afraid that legally the money does indeed belong to your sister.
Monies held in a joint account passes to the survivor on the death of the other person - so not only was your sister legally able to transfer the money but even if she had not the money would have passed to her automatically anyway.
I am sorry but other than morally there is no claim that the estate can make
Please ask if you need further details