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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 12110
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I live in Antigua West Indies but have been caring for my

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Good Morning.
I live in Antigua West Indies but have been caring for my father in the UK for the last 6 years. The care was shared with his ex girlfriend who he made his Power of Attorney and Executor of the Will. Something that always worried me. I am an only child and have been a good and caring daughter and though living overseas I have always dropped everything when needed over the years. My father died in late March, I was with him and then organized his funeral. I had to come home for 6 weeks 2 days after funeral to take care of business here. I discussed with his Executor that I would like to comeback for the summer in early June (my quiet time) to slowly sort through my Fathers personal things and begin to prepare the house for its inevitable sale. She has not formerly read the Will to me (should this have happened yet?) She told me rather grudgingly that she does not have to but she will but has told me that he left the house to me. She is also a beneficiary in the form of an industrial building and 100k. which I feel she deserves for all she has done by the way. I understand everything has to go through Probate and the Inheritance Tax will have to come out of that but can I not sort out his personal clothing and chattels and start cleaning and painting the house yet? In my absence she has now turned all utilities off and insured it to be empty and tells me that I cannot stay there. Our relationship has always been difficult and I am not sure I trust her. does this all sound reasonable to you? I would have thought it would be better to have someone staying in the house until Probate goes through as it is full of antiques etc. I feel as if I lost all access to my family home and history of 50 years because I had to leave for 6 weeks and I feel very upset about it.
I actually fix up houses to sell for a living and was hoping by doing so we might get a better price. After all, this affects my inheritance and I have the time in the summer to do it. Also why does she get to keep the building he left her and all the 40% have to come out of my inheritance. She also says she is responsible for selling the house even though he left it to me? Is that right? I would appreciate your advice. I am sorry this is rather long but I am feeling very concerned at a time of grieving. Many thanks
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Sorry, I do not have data on my phone. I can receive e-mail to my computer or I can Skype call on "windyridgeanu" Thank you

Hello. What is your question about this ?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Well there are many questions embedded in my message. I am asking if it is right that she is refusing me time to stay in my fathers house to sort out his belongings? Am I able to do this before Probate has gone through? Is it right that she has not read the will to me properly yet?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
No, sorry I do not want to pay the additional money for a call at this point.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Please can you send me some advise?

I’m afraid that beneficiaries do not have an automatic right to read will although they can get a copy from the probate registry once this is admitted to probate.

Having said that, my advice to executors is always to let anyone see a copy of the world who genuinely has an interest in it because all that being secretive does is raise suspicion that something is amiss.

Of course, there may be other issues which need to be resolved before probate is granted and it is possible to apply to court for Pre-Action Disclosure of the will of the executors will not disclose it.

There is no statutory requirement for a “reading of the will”. It is something which happens in films and books. Usually, a copy of the will is sent out to the beneficiaries along with whatever money they are getting.

We don’t know what’s in the will so don’t know whether you have the right to live in or ends of the property or not. The Power of Attorney ends upon your father’s death. Therefore, the girlfriend is now only acting as executor under the terms of the will.

You have no right to go through his chattels and other personal effects, only is executor has the right to do that.

You say that 40% has to come out of your inheritance and I presume you are referring to inheritance tax. Normally, each bequest bears its own tax unless the will says otherwise.

If the house has been left in its entirety to you, then you are in a position to dictate whether the property is sold or not.

You may find that the girlfriend becomes more agreeable to discuss matters if you get a local solicitor to write to her threatening a court application.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

I’m happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

Please take a moment to look at the top right hand corner of the page and rate my service by clicking one of the stars at the top of the screen. It’s important you use the rating service because that gives me credit. It doesn’t just give me a pat on the head! (Although there is an incentive scheme where the more five-star ratings I get, I do actually get a pat on the head! :-)) All you need to do is press Submit. Thank you.

If you still need any point clarifying, I will still reply because the thread does not close.

Best wishes

Incidentally, you can put a hold on the grant of probate while these issues are resolved by entering a Caveat at the Probate registry.

F E Smith and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thank you so much for your advice, I found it most helpful. Am I entitled to see the whole Will when it is admitted for Probate or just the part relevant to me? Hopefully she will agree to let me see it for peace of minds sake and a full understanding on my part and as you say to avoid suspicion. All I know is that my father left the house to me. I am shocked that I do not have rights to sort through my fathers possessions. Does that mean ever or just while probate is being processed? This is my family history and treasures, not hers. Is that why she is trying to keep me out the way? Yes, I did mean inheritance tax. Is that paid out of the estate or is that up to each beneficiary to pay that? She is saying that the house has to be sold to pay these taxes and that she will be handling the sale because there are taxes to be paid and this will have to come from the sale of the house. I was hoping to keep things pleasant as she can be very nasty and she would definitely become this way if I threaten court application. My problem is, that after 6 years of restricted earnings due to my fathers illness all these expenses like legal fees, plane fairs back to the UK etc. are hard to find but I just do not want to be walked all over either. Happy to give you a star by the way!

I apologise for keeping you waiting. For some reason, this wasn’t in my inbox is requiring my attention.

Once the will is admitted to probate and you obtain a/Gen Register Office, you get a whole document, not just apart.

You only have the right to sort through your father’s possessions if you are either an executor or there is something in the will which says that you can choose what you take. Otherwise, you have no right to go through them at all. You are then the mercy of whoever your father appointed as his executor (also called “personal representative”)

the executors sort out inheritance tax. Each request carries its own tax unless the will says otherwise. Sometimes, that requires quite a bit of mathematical calculation in order to apply the correct tax to the value of each bequest.