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Helen Hill
Helen Hill, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 534
Experience:  LLB Law, Licensed Conveyancer and Probate Practitioner, Fellow of CILEx, Trust and Estates Practitioner (STEP)
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I have a couple of estate questions after the passing of my

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Hello,I have a couple of estate questions after the passing of my father in the UK.
My half brother and I were left an equal 50/50 share of my fathers estate, which basically consists of a house, a car and a few other miscellaneous items. My father had outstanding debt plus there will be legal and filing fees moving forward.
The house will be sold to settle any debt and the remaining difference will be split 50/50 by my self and my brother.
My fathers sister is the executor of his will along with all legal need to be carried out by his solicitor.
My brother resides in Peterborough, UK and I reside in Los Angeles, USA. We are not close and barley know each other as my brother is from my fathers second marriage, I am 48 and my brother is 28.
My brother refuses to reply to any correspondence I have sent him and he also refuses to correspond with our aunt the executor of the will. He only corresponds through my fathers solicitor.
I have the following questions and wish to thank you in advance for your answers and time.
I would have none of these questions if the pandemic was not currently in progress.
Apologies if some of it is long winded.1. Personal Property:
My aunt the executor of the estate is 75 years old and she has instructed the solicitor to empty the contents of the house and to list the house so that it can be sold via an estate agent.
I have personal items in the house that I want to retrieve, but because of the current pandemic I am unable to currently return to the UK to collect my items. I estimate I will not return to the UK until the end of 2020 early 2021 after the travel restrictions are lifted and/or it is safer to fly.
I am being told that if I do not collect my items by the time a removal company enters the house all of my items will be disposed of.
My aunt and her husband are in self quarantine due to their age and the pandemic and there is no one eles who is willing or able to store them for me until I am able to return and collect them myself.
Is there any thing I can do to stop my items from being disposed of?
I can get a shipping company to ship them to a friend in the UK or even to me in the USA, but my items will have to be pre boxed for the shipper to pick up and nobody is willing to do this because of the pandemic.
Even if the house is cleared of all contents, can I legally request that my items be left at the property in the house or shed until the very last day before ownership transfers in the hopes I can still collect them?2. Cremation:
My aunt, my brother and myself all offered to pay for the funeral and will be reimbursed once the estate is settled.
Thankfully my brother has already moved ahead with arrangements and through the solicitor has set the date of June 15th 2020. Only 10 people are allowed to attend the service due to the pandemic.
From my brothers email via the solicitor my brother states that there are only 2 spaces left available for attendance 8 have been taken. Do we get 5 spaces each?
I have not be privy to any of these funeral arrangements or process and even though I am grateful for his effort to move it along I do not agree with the funeral moving ahead.
I had requested in my first email to my brother after the news of my fathers passing that my father be cremated as per his wishes but asked my brother that no service was to be held and that he or the crematorium hold my fathers ashes until I was able to return to the UK to scatter my fathers ashes together with his whole family.
Can I stop this service from taking place?
Can I stop my brother from going ahead and scattering my fathers ashes until I am able to return to the UK?
The cremation needs to happen at this point for health and safety reasons but a service is unnecessary until all of the blood relatives are able to attend. Myself, my son, my aunt, my cousins, my fathers cousins, who all want to attend a service but because of the pandemic are unable to. Can any of this be stopped and delayed?JA: Because family law varies from place to place, can you tell me where this is?
Customer: This is pertaining to UK law
JA: What documents or supporting evidence do you have?
Customer: I will be receiving a copy of my father's will. His solicitor has already sent a letter stating his estate if to be equally shared 50/50
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Just thank you for their time and expertise.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
3. Moving into the house until it is sold:
When I return to the UK to retrieve my personal items if it is before the property has sold can I stay at my fathers old house that has now been willed 50/50 to my brother and myself.
My brother is currently living in the house as he was assisting my father before his passing. I have been told I can not move into the house and if I do I will be legally removed and reported as tresspassing which makes no sense to me.
How is it possible that my brother can live in the house until it is sold but I can not?
Can I legally have my brother removed from living in the house?
Because he lived there with my father before his passing are his right to stay in the house different as opposed to mine?Thank you again!

Thank you for your questions. I am very sorry to hear of your circumstances and I am happy to help. I will take your points in turn. Question 1, if you have items within the property it is not unreasonable to ask that these are retained or sent to you if you are prepared to cover the costs. If a company is being used to clear the property they will probably be able to retrieve these items during the clearance and ship them to you for an additional fee. It might be worth suggesting this to the executor as a way of moving forwards.

Question 2, it is the executor who has ultimate responsibility for 'disposing of the body' of the deceased (a horrible and impersonal legal term for which I apologise) and therefore your aunt has the right to arrange the funeral and chose whether a burial or cremation takes place. While morally she should take into account your views on this unfortunately she is legally the one able to make the decisions.

Question 3, it is currently the executor who has the right to take possession of the property and prepare it for sale. She is obliged to maintain insurance and ensure it is kept in good repair. Your brother has no doubt been advised that he must leave the property when it sells but is probably there with the executors consent (which may prevent the property from falling into disrepair in the meantime). Although you are both equally entitled to benefit from the estate again it is the executor in control of those assets at the moment.

I am sorry I can't give you better news on a couple of these points but I do hope this is useful.

Do you have any further questions?

I notice you have not yet reviewed my answers. Could you kindly let me know if any further assistance is required or accept my answer so that the thread can be closed.

Helen Hill and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Helen,Apologies for my delayed reply. Due to the protests and riots in Los Angeles, I was forced to leave my apartment for what I felt was a safer location out of the city.
Thank you for you kind word and straight forward answers and I have no further questions at this time.Good luck, good health, and happiness!Best,
Neil.