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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
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Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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My wife and I inherited a house in my uncle's will,

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My wife and I inherited a house in my uncle's will, following his death last December. My wife is one of the executors of the will and a friend of my uncles, who was left a valuable collection of antique guns and other equipment, is the other executor.
We put the house up for sale in July and a buyer was found almost immediately. We submitted all the paperwork requested to our conveyancing solicitor, including an assent form signed by the other executor.
The conveyancing firm have now informed us that until he signs the release form they have sent to him, the sale is on hold. He is refusing to sign the form.
Is there any reason why he has to sign another form and what can we do if he continues to refuse to sign. He will not answer his phone for me to discuss this with him.

Presumably you now have grant of probate.

Is there a reason that he is refusing to sign the form ?

The assent is the document which transfers the property to the beneficiaries .

As he is not a beneficiary of the house but you and your wife are, what is the release form that he is being asked to sign?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We have probate.He informed the estate agent when she rang him last week that there is 'an issue' with the will.He was there when the will was drafted. He was present when it was agreed by my uncle with the solicitor. He then signed the will as one of the executors as did my wife. He was with my wife when the will was read at the solicitor's office. When we needed the assent form signing he told us that my uncle had said to him that when the house is sold he should have 20% of the proceeds and that my wife and the solicitor had altered the will. I discussed this with him very calmy and rationally, explaining how he had caused my wife immense upset by this allegation and he agreed to sign the form, which he did and sent it back to us. We have had no further communication with him between that date and last Friday when we found out he had refused to sign the form.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I do not know what this form is, but the conveyancing firm say that they cannot move ahead without him returning it.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The e-mail we have just recived reads as followedGood Morning
We still await instructions from Mr mason.
I have tried calling him but have only been able to leave him voicemails which he hasn't returned
Until we receive his instruction forms we cannot issue the contract.


The executor doesn’t have to sign the will. An executor can witness the will but the beneficiary cannot and hence, if the beneficiary has witnessed the will (even though he is in executor) then any bequest to him is void.

If the will does not mention is that he gets 20% of the proceeds, then he doesn’t get 20% of the proceeds.

As I said earlier, the assent transfers the property to the beneficiaries which you say are you and your wife. You are then free deal with the property as you wish, live in it, sell it, rent it out, whatever you like.

It appears, that at the moment, the property has not been transferred by the assent and they are looking for instructions from the executor executor to market the property.

Are you able to attach a copy of the will?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm sorry, but I have made a mistake. The will was signed by my uncle and witnessed by two employees of the solicitors firm he had employed. My wife and Mr Mason signed the front of the will at the reading on 10/02/16 and this was witnessed by a Commissioner for OathsI also don't understand the last but one sentence in your reply.

Thank you.

I will clarify the sentence.

The property is transferred to beneficiaries by way of the assent.

Then the beneficiaries can do what they like with the property without the executor’s involvement.

That should be the situation that you are in.

What I don’t know, is why that hasn’t happened and it may be that the solicitors are going to market the property without transferring it to you and your wife and that would need the executors consent.

F E Smith and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for this.I have a scan of the assent form which is clearly signed by my wife and Mr Mason. We will need to speak to the conveyancing firm tomorrow, because the property may well still be in my uncle's name. I suppose we assumed that because we had completed the assent form it would become ours to do with as we wished. If what you suggest is the case, it's a shame that the conveyancing firm did not tell us this.May I come back to you tomorrow if I have any further queries?