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MarianC
MarianC,
Category: Property Law
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As an executor of my brothers estate I have requested a copy

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Hi as an executor of my brothers estate I have requested a copy of his previous Will, as the most recent one was done whilst on medication with a brain tumour. My brothers illness was terminal and had just had radiotherapy and was only 2 weeks into the side effect period. The person who took instruction for both Wills has invoiced me for the time to look for first Will Should I be charged for this or can I request that it is charged to the estate? And should this paid upfront as she has requested.
JA: Estate laws vary by state. What state are you in?
Customer: Hampshire, England
JA: What documents or supporting evidence do you have?
Customer: I have the current Will
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: No

Good afternoon, thank you for your question, I am sorry to hear that you have lost your brother. The search for the Will is an admin task and unless there were unusual circumstances (very unusual) and you were informed in advance that there would be a charge, that is not work chargeable to a client.

kind regards

Marian

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Hi Marian, thank you for your kind words. She said the previous Will was all boxed up and due to be shredded and would need £100 up front for her time to do this and we would have to pay before she started looking for it.
Regards
Stephanie

Oh no, that is appalling, that is so bad, this is just one of those jobs that go with preparing Wills so she should have to put up with that unfortunately. I would inform her that you will have no choice but to put this charge to the SRA (Solicitors' Regulatory Authority) for their comments on such an arbitrary charge. We all dread the SRA!

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Thats what I thought. She has been very reluctant to provide a copy of the previous Will and tells us it is identical to the current one other than one clause which now includes 'this will is made in anticipation of his marriage to his fiancee and is not to be revoked by marriage'. She is a family friend of my late brothers wife. he was rushed into hospital with a lung infection and his partner was given dispensation to go to the hospital to marry him knowing that he was at 'end of life' and not well enough to get married. He passed away less than 2 days later. This person who has drawn up the will and charging us is not regulated, can I still raise this concern with them?

Are they a Will writer? Does her business have a name?

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
She says she used to be a solicitor and specialised in will writing and now helps people with paperwork etc. She says she is still a member of 'Solicitors for the Elderly' but does not provide legal services? Her website is www.paperworkmatters.co.uk and her name is ***** *****

Ok let me look her up.

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Thank you!

What are the dates of both Wills please, she states that she was a solicitor until 2011 which means she was regulated at that time.

Also to charge in this way she would need to provide a copy of her terms of business to your brother stating the costs of Will retrieval etc. Just because she is not a solicitor now doesn't mean she can do what she wants.

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
The first will was dated 9th Feb 2021 and the second was 8th April 2021. I'm not sure what info she provided my brother at the time. And I'm not sure how she has come to the figure of £100, but wants it up front before she looks for it.

You shouldn't be charged for any of it, so she prepared both Wills then?

Ask her for a copy of the terms of business that she provided to your brother which states the fee which will be applied to retrieve a Will or documents.

Who is doing the probate work?

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
she prepared both. Thanks, I'll ask her for it. Everything in the last Will was left to his partner so she is dealing with everything and told us that there is nothing for us to do ( me & my sister, who are also the executors & trustees) and at this point 'do not anticipate having to apply for a Grant of Probate' The first email we sent to request a copy of the last will, we received a response to say that as everything was left to his partner there was nothing for us to do as there were no assets solely in his name apart from a life insurance policy in trust. In her second email response after we requested the original Will again, she then told us he had the car in his sole name. We are aware of 2 bank accounts in his sole name which she has failed to mention. We have the account numbers, as executors can we request statements for these accounts from the bank or from her? Did you want to see a copy of the last Will?

Basically she should just release the Wills, yes if you have a copy thanks.

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
File attached (Q2Z3QGZ)

So there is a typo in clause 5, which should say 'clause 6' at the end, but the rest of the Will is standard. Do you know why your brother went to her and not a solicitor?

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
I noticed that. She was a friend of his partner's sister.
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
File attached (22GL36L)
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
File attached (5PG4P1Q)
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
I've attached the 2 emails from Alison. I need to go to sleep, I can hear my bed calling. Thank you so much for your help this evening. Speak to you tomorrow. Regards, Steph

Hello, I think it is a bit of a cheek really, what if she finds the Will in ten minutes, how will you know? I would stick with asking for a copy of the terms of business she provided when she prepared the Wills.

Good morning, do you need any further assistance?

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Morning! We've sent the email requesting terms of business along a string of other requests as what my brother verbally told us in great detail does not reflect in the second will. A mental capacity assessment should have also been taken before the second will was drawn up so we are just waiting for a response. Other than, at this stage I don't think we need any further assistance thank you.

Oh goodness, good luck!

MarianC and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Thanks, ***** ***** we may need it! And thank you for all your help! Have a lovely weekend Best regards, Steph