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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 on your loss.
may I confirm one point with you. you mentioned that your mother's will provides that £10,000 is left to her siblings to be divided between them. do you have the exact clause of the will to hand? Does it say £10,000 to each of her siblings or £10,000 to be divided between her siblings as you mention in your question?
OK the first thing to say is on the face of the above clause you have overpaid the siblings. the above clause does not provide that they are entitled to £10,000 each but rather that they are entitled to £10,000 between them
Would you like to continue?
Oh fine. Sorry I had understood from your original post that you had sent them £10,000 each. I am glad that is not the case.
May I ask who is the residuary beneficiary of the estate - i.e. who gets the bulk of the estate?
as an executor, you do not have to ensure that a legatee takes what he is entitled to. you discharge your duty by making payment to the legatees in question which you have done. if they have not banked your cheque, then there are limited options available to you.
you can either retain the money in a separate account bearing some form of interest so that as and when they request payment in the future (should the cheques expire) you have the money available to pay them together with any accrued interest. This is the simpler approach.
the alternative is that you can arrange to pay the legacy into court. This where you arrange to pay the money into a county court where they will hold the money on the legatees behalf. For this sum in my view this would be an unnecessary step to take and it would be simpler just to maintain the fund in a separate account in your name and leave it untouched.
There is no limit to the amount of time they have to claim the money.
In terms of a challenge to the will itself, because six months has passed since the date you obtain probate, they would have no chance of a claim under the inheritance act. a challenge to the will itself is not out of the question but it would be unlikely to succeed because you as your mother's daughter have a better claim to your mother's estate than to her siblings
Accordingly I do not consider a challenge from them has any significant merit. Providing you maintain the £10K legacy fund in a savings account and effectively forget about it you discharge your duties as executor
If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do not hesitate to revert to me