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Aston Lawyer
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10776
Experience:  Solicitor LLB (Hons) 23 years of experience in Conveyancing and Property Law
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Hi, My sister and I are executors of my mothers will. (it does

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Hi, My sister and I are executors of my mothers will. (it does not come into the Inheritance tax category). We are about to pay out the balance of their share to each of the six beneficiaries. However, one of the beneficiaries owes me some money from several years back, and won't communicate with me about it, although he has admitted he owes me money when I have tricked him into talking to me. This debt amounts to about a sixth (£4,500.00) of his share. Am I allowed to take this out of his share before paying out, or is one not allowed to mix personal business with administering the estate. My sister (fellow executor) has said she is okay for me to do this, but I don't want to get her in trouble, or myself!
Hello and thanks for using Just Answer.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX am happy to assist you with your enquiry.

From a legal point of view, you and your sister are under a duty, as Executors, to distribute your Mother's Estate in accordance with her wishes, and indeed it is her money, not yours, that you are distributing.
You are not, therefore, entitled to deduct any monies you personally are owed, from one of the beneficiary's share.
It's as simple as that, I'm afraid.

Whether you chance your luck (and just hold the monies, rather than spending it) to see if you can get away with it, is very much up to you. However, the beneficiary could come against you or your sister to recoup his share.

I am sorry this is not the answer you were looking for, but it sets out the legal position.

Kind Regards
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

If I chance my luck, considering I informed him about my intention in an email, which he did not object to (but didn't answer), and I also refer to the email in the letter with the balance, does that put me in a better position?

Also if I did chance my arm, and hold the money for a while in case he then objected - could I be prosecuted, I would never know whether he might bring this up later.

And could I be prosecuted? (and also possibly my sister as she would have become involved by being nice to me)

Hi Eileen,

You have covered your back somewhat by notifying him of your intention, and you could plead ignorance if he then disputes matters at a later day. You certainly wouldn't get prosecuted- he would have to sue you in the civil Courts to get his inheritance.
If you decide to withhold the money, please keep it safe and put it to one side, so if things do turn nasty, you can then at that stage hand the monies over to him.

I hope this helps.

Kind Regards

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Sorry, just one more question. You said I wouldn't get prosecuted, and he would have to sue me in the civil courts to get the rest of his inheritance. I am not clear about the distinction - is civil court for non-criminal disputes?

Hi- yes "prosecution" is only for criminal proceedings.

Any Probate disputes/claims for money are dealt with in the civil Courts and don't involve the Police/CPS. (The Police wouldn't get involved in disputes of this nature).

Kind Regards
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