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Ask Michael Holly Your Own Question
Michael Holly
Michael Holly, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7486
Experience:  BA honours degree in law, over 20 years experience in litigation, contract and property matters
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My mother’s estate has been in dispute for the last 3 years.

Customer Question

My mother’s estate has been in dispute for the last 3 years. My sister in law was the sole, surviving executor and my family and I have strong evidence that she stole from my mother both before and after her death. We placed a caveat on the grant of probate, and eventually she stepped aside and an independent administrator was appointed. That law firm refuses to look into the activity of the previous executor even though we have produced evidence of illegal activity and the police are investigating. They refuse to contact the police. Is this acceptable?
JA: Since laws vary from place to place, where is this? And when did this happen?
Customer: UK. Mother died in September 2016 but everything is ongoing. Only a small part of the estate has been distributed so far
JA: What documents or supporting evidence do you have?
Customer: Bank statements and correspondence with Aviva who placed a bond under the control of their financial fraud department. They will not say why, citing GDPR but say they will reveal all to the administrator if they ask. He refuses to ask
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No that’s all for now
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Michael Holly replied 6 months ago.

Good evening

I can think of several reasons why the solicitors should not get involved at the current time.

The first is that the police are investigating and if they are satisfied that a criminal offence has taken place can charge your sister in law and she can be made to pay back any funds stolen.

There is no point in the solicitors trying to do the same thing, their expertise is in civil law not criminal law and their job is to wind up the estate not get in the way of the police.

When the police have completed their investigation they will advise the solicitors of what they have found and what they intend to do about it.

The level of proof required in criminal law is "beyond all reasonable doubt" which is a high level of proof. At civil law the level of proof is on the "balance of probabilities". I have come across situations where the police feel they do not have enough to prosecute but what they have found has been used to recover funds in a civil law court.

If there are any further points kindly reply I will be happy to respond.

Otherwise, please either accept or rate my answer on the system so I get credit for my time.

Best wishes