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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71132
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hi Im the executor of an estate in probate. I have a duty

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I'm the executor of an estate in probate. I have a duty to split that estate between 12 people all family members. Five of those beneficaries are children with ages 3 up to 11. I understand that I have a roll to take care of there share and invest wisely. My questions are

1) do the children's parents have any say in what I do as long as it's legal
2) the estate is basically a house, can I leave the children's money in the house with a view that in the years to come, with improvements on the house there share value would increase giving them a good return. What legal documents would I need to put together to facilitate this.
3) I have one of the beneficaries offering to buy a share in the house enabling me to then pay those who want there 12th. Can that be done and based on a survey valuation do I sell at the valuation or is it reasonable for me to make a small reduction for a quick sale.

Any advice would be appreciate and if nessacary for the purpose of keeping within the law and regulations I may be looking for all this to be done professionally.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

What do you mean when you say do the children's parents have any say? You are the executor so it is your decision.

Do you trust the parents?

What do the other seven beneficiaries want with regard to the house who are not children?

Who is the person who wants to buy? Are they related to you and why would you want to offer a reduction?

Are you a party to that possible purchase?

When you say reduction, how much?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi Jo

Many thanks for your response.

Firstly I have told the parents that the matter regarding the children isn't there decision so thank you for that clarification. I have no reason to distrust the parents.

All the other beneficaries simply want there share other than one who has expressed an interest in trying to keep the house in the family which in turn would earn the children a better return when they come of age.

This person is one of my brothers, he hasn't asked for a reduction in value, I'm just keen to get everything wrapped up and consider that an option to help to that.

I'm not party to that suggestion although I can see that it would be a good idea for the children and the other beneficaries if only they could see that.

The property has a value in its current state of £140,000, other properties on the same cul de sac are fetching £200,000 but our property requires lots of updating, kitchen, bathroom etc.

Many thanks again for your help Jo

It really is much appreciated

You can give the money to the parents in exchange for a "parental indemnity" which basically means that the parents agree that if they do something untoward with the money, and the children decide to bring a claim against you, the parents pick up the bill. It really depends whether you want to have the trouble of controlling this money for a number of years or not. Please bear in mind that whatever you do with regard to investments, if it does not produce the best return, you may have 18-year-old children wanting to bring a claim against you. You are making any investments, base it upon advice from an independent financial adviser, so that there is someone else to sue/blame if the investments do not perform.

I can see no reason why you should offer a discount for a quick sale. Indeed, the beneficiaries that are being disadvantaged by that would criticise you for doing so.

The sale must be at the best price that can be obtained and in that respect, you need evidence in the form of valuations from at least three agents. They would not be unreasonable to take the middle one and use that as the basis for the sale price.

Under no circumstances can I recommend that a trustee is in any way involved with the purchase and it must be at arms length from you so that you are completely squeakyclean and cannot be criticised for potentially selling undervalue.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi Jo

That's all much appreciated.

Can I ask one more question. If I decide to keep the children's money in the house having sort professional advice on the investment what guarantee if any would or indeed could the parents reasonably expect me to give. Is it simply a guarantee under law as an executor that it's my duty to keep a record of that investment until it matures in line with the children's age.

Many thanks again
Your duty (called your fiduciary duty) is to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries. It means simply that in its widest sense.

You are not under a duty to provide any guarantee whatsoever but you do have a duty, if you are not completely over say with what you are doing, to seek professional advice.

If you decide to keep the money in the house that may or may not be the best investment in the current market and that is why it is essential that you take independent advice.

Unless all the other beneficiaries agree, they must either be paid out their share of the full market value or the house must be sold.
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