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Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34907
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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My sister and I are beneficiaries in a Will in which the estate

Customer Question

My sister and I are beneficiaries in a Will in which the estate is to be divided equally between us. My sister and a family solicitor are acting as executors. I understand that legal costs in dealing with probate/administering the estate generally take precedence over payments to HMRC in respect of taxes due. Please would you advise on the following queries:
1. To date it has been necessary for my sister and I to be represented by separate firms of solicitors. We have each taken responsibility for our own individual legal costs.
a) Am I entitled to have any of my legal costs paid or refunded by the estate?
b) Is my sister, as executrix, entitled to have all or any of her costs paid by the estate?
c) If so, in either case, could this include reasonable costs incurred during the months prior to the death in addressing the legal issues re. division of taxes payable and property in the estate?
There are no specific provisions made in the Will in respect of costs incurred in the process of dividing assets and liabilities between the two beneficiaries.
2. The Will provides that the residuary estate be held for each of my sister and myself in equal shares absolutely. There is a minor cash sum which forms part of the estate. After deduction of tax on the sum itself will I be entitled to receive the balance of the cash sum OR are the executors entitled, without my agreement, to take my share of the cash sum and pass it to HMRC in reduction of additional taxes which will become due?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Why have you had to have legal representation?
What is the issue regarding Inheritance tax?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

It was necessary to put in place a Deed of Agreement in order to establish a framework for sharing of assets and liabilities. The document has been executed, but assistance was needed during the process of reaching agreement.

Funds to pay my share of the inheritance tax in full are not in place. It is whether the executors would have first call on the cash sum for part payment of tax or whether it will become available to me for legal fees and other expenses?

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
The first call on the funds are the burial costs and payment of inheritance Tax then debts of the estate
The Executors legal fees are payable from the estate - yours are not I am afraid - but they are not a priority debt I am afraid
None of the costs incurred by either of you prior to the death of your late mother are payable by the estate
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details