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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 12178
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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Scottish law issue Background: I have been in touch with you

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Scottish law issue
Background: I have been in touch with you several times before about my mother's will so this is an ongoing case. My mother died six weeks ago. My brother and sister are executors due to them living locally. I live abroad as does my other brother. We have been told nothing about the will (although I have a copy and it states that we should have an equal share of money). I sent a very straightforward and polite email about 10 days ago asking them when they were going to have the estate ready. They have not answered. Also, I know my sister has taken a great deal of money from my mother's house as I saw the money when I was in the house alone.
1. Can my sister take any money from the estate? She has been left the house and contents.
2. Is there a procedure that the executors must follow to comply the law? What deadlines are there?
3. My sister has had access to my mother’s bank accounts for a number of years. Is she obliged to account for all money taken out of the accounts since she has had access to the accounts?

1. She can't take money from the estate. House and contents doesn't include money. 2 The executor has to apply for Confirmation at the local sheriff court. Confirmation is the Scottish term for probate. As the house forms part of the estate there is no exception to this rule and a full estate inventory has to be lodged with the court along with the will, both of which can be inspected there. There are no particular timelines or deadlines. 3. If your sister has stolen the money then she would have to account. If she was attorney or otherwise using the money for your mothers benefit then she would not. If she was legal guardian she would have to lodge accounts with the office of the public guardian on an annual basis. I hope that helps. Please leave a positive rating so that I am credited for my time.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
1) You said there were no deadlines. Does this mean that they can totally ignore any contact or correspondence asking for information as to how they are progressing, or do they have some obligations as to keeping the beneficiaries informed?
2) What should be the next step to take and within what timelines?
3) If foul play is suspected, is there any way a solicitor can obtain legal powers to access bank accounts?
4) If money was removed from the house and Confirmation was not obtained is there anything a solicitor can do?
5) My mother was sharp as a pin for 89 years old but she couldn't get around. She had thousands of pounds in the house which my sister has removed. I have no idea if my sister was attorney but I doubt if she was made legal guardian. The likely scenario is that my sister has not even told my brother, who is one of the executors, that the money was there. Should I inform my brother about this?
6) What is established practice in cases like this?
7) Can engaging a solicitor be expected to achieve progress and resolution within reasonable cost and time limits?

1. No, they have to act reasonably. An estate like this should be completed typically in in no more than six months to a year. 2. Next step is value the extent of the estate and prepare the application for Confirmation. 3. A court order would be needed in the context of an action for accounting. 4. If you are talking about cash that could be difficult to prove. 5. Yes. 6. There is no established practice. The executors have duties and responsibilities to ingather the estate, obtain Confirmation and distribute the estate. If the beneficiaries aren't happy they can go to court. 7. It depends on the individual case. Solicitors will charge on a time basis.