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tdlawyer, Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience:  11 years experience of general practice.
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Joshua. I have just lost my father, and he has made me sole

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Joshua. I have just lost my father, and he has made me sole beneficiary on his Will, but he has not only appointed me as Executor, but also the company Will Drafters Ltd as Executors. I know why he has done this, because he was obviously trying to help by getting someone else to deal with the burden of the estate. However, I have a meeting tomorrow with these people to go over my Father's Will etc. I doubt they realise that there's only some £40k equity left in the property, no savings, but an IVA is in place. I believed I was the only Executor, and now I feel this has complicated my discussions with my Father's IVA company who were willing to talk to me as the only Executor. Is there any way that I can have this company removed as I seriously do not need their help, and I doubt my Father realised, they are obviously going to take their cut off of this minimal equity, let alone what the IVA company will take too! In a nutshell, there will be nothing left for me and my children.  I will obviously be taking out of the estate any bills due prior to the sale of the property, I have also had to borrow out of my own money for his funeral from a social grant and will need to claim this back too.  I now feel as though the other executor will be charging extra for his services on top of everything else.  The whole situation feels quite hopeless.  What sort of questions should I be asking the representative from the company after he has read out my Father's Will?  I currently have a copy of the will that my Father kept safely at his home, so have already seen myself and the company as Executors.  My meeting is tomorrow at midday and I need an URGENT response please, otherwise the information you give will be rendered too late.

tdlawyer : Hello thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I'm able to help you with this.
tdlawyer : In your meeting with this company, you could seek to persuade them to renounce their executorship.
tdlawyer : this means that they can simply decline to act as executor and leave the entire administration of the estate in your hands.
tdlawyer : if you were able to persuade them that it was inappropriate for them to continue, in the sense that the administration was an easy matter, and there were very little funds available, which may be something you can persuade them off given the existence of the individual voluntary arrangement, then they may be willing to renounce.
tdlawyer : Beneficiaries and executors do have the ability to apply to the court for an executor to be removed. However, the reality is that it is a very difficult application, absent wrongdoing on the part of the executor subject to the potential application, and the costs of making an application make it unattractive option for smaller estates.
tdlawyer : As your father chose, for good reason at the time, to leave the estate with two executors, the starting point is that his wishes must be respected.
tdlawyer : It can be difficult to get away from this.
tdlawyer : Perhaps the best course might be to make sure that the professional executor has very little to do, insofar as possible, with a lot of the leg work being done by the other executor and simply furnishing decisions to be made to the professional executor, thereby effectively making the professional executor something of a tick box exercise.
tdlawyer : If the professional executor becomes unresponsive, or incredibly difficult to work with whatever reason, then their formal removal by way of a court application is much more likely. Again, the problem with that, is the costs of going to court to try to achieve that kind of order. Often, the best thing to do, if the professional executor cannot be persuaded simply to renounce, is to ensure that they have very little to do.
tdlawyer : Does this answer your question? Is there any think you would like me to clarify for you?

If he can't be persuaded to renounce, then should I be asking exactly what fees his company is intending to charge firstly? Then I would also need to be able to speak to the IVA company (who have already cleared me to speak to them when I have supplied a copy of the Will, and death certificate). I'm not sure if they're going to be happy with the other executor on the Will though. But am I entitled to speak to the IVA company independently from him? I have already cleared all my father's benefits with the one-stop government company. Now it remains for me to inform the Housing Association as he is in a part buy, part rent scheme, and then his bank! I do have access to the account, but was waiting to see this company before contacting them. There is a small balance on his account, and standing orders are still live. What will happen to the account? I'm assuming it will be frozen and I will be unable to pay any ongoing bills. The funeral is a month away, so gas etc., may well be cut off and I need to keep the home running in order to rehome his animals. This is quite a headache!

tdlawyer : Both executors will have full power as executors. However, decisions affecting the estate, such as contracts or agreements entered into, must be made together. But nothing stops you, as one of the executors, from engaging with the supervisor of the IVA. And yes, there is nothing wrong with asking what his fees are likely to be.
tdlawyer : Most banks will release small amounts of money without formal grants of probate having been made. It is very common that banks will allow funeral expenses to be paid prior to the grant of probate. You should speak with the bank, taking a copy of the will with you, as technically speaking, the power vests in an executor following the will coming into effect, not the grant of probate.
tdlawyer : Technically, probate is just a confirmatory court order of the powers that are set out, and which arise from the will.
tdlawyer : That said, a lot of professional bodies, such as banks and the land registry, normally require grants of probate, certainly for any significant transactions, as it will protect them should something go wrong later.

Okay that's great - only problem is that it's an eccount, online account, because of Dad's IVA he couldn't get a high street one. So hence my question, sorry should've said. There is some £400 in the account, which won't unfortunately help with the funeral costs, I am having to borrow money in advance of the house sale. Are you saying that a grant of probate will be required, and if so, whose responsibility is it to supply this?

tdlawyer : Just one more point, which is perhaps obvious. Your accountant has offered to guide you through the process, but at the same time, has suggested you seek advice from the person you propose to remove, as to how they ought to be removed. I simply query whether they're the best people to take advice on the procedure. I expect not. Too many accountants think they're lawyers in disguise. I always appreciate that cost is a factor, but there isn't a real substitute in my view to taking advice from a solicitor, from a local law firm. This is far more sensible, even if only by telephone and on a limited basis, and that way you'll be fully protected in the event that you receive poor advice.additionally, any client money that you pay to them also be protected, which may not be the same with other professionals.
tdlawyer : The executors are the ones that will seek the grant of probate.The best bet is to send an email to the bank otherwise contact them through their systems online, to see what their approache is to releasing that sum of money. Something tells me they will probably agree.

Great thank you. I'm assuming such things as water, council tax, gas, electricity bills that accumulate for as long as the property takes to sell, can legally accrue - or do I have to take responsibility for these?


That was the last question sorry.

tdlawyer : They continue to accrue. You do not personally inherit the responsibility.
tdlawyer : And I'm pleased this has been helpful. If you need to ask any further questions in future, please just let me know.
tdlawyer : All I ask, as usual, is that you remember to rate the answer for me before leaving. Thank you, ***** ***** hope all goes well with your meeting tomorrow.

Thanks so much for your help. Much appreciated.

tdlawyer : You're very welcome. Good night.
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