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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 12065
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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My mother passed away recently and my sister and I are the

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My mother passed away recently and my sister and I are the only beneficiary to her estate, this is stated in the will. My sister is also executor of the will, since my mothers passing I haven't seen the will she has closed my mothers accounts and the money has been put into an account in her name we also have my mothers house but she is refusing to even have it valued stating she wants it decorating before she puts it on the property market where do I stand legally and does Scottish law differ from English law as my mother resided in Scotland
Thank you for your question.

Scots law is different from a English law.

An executor is accountable to the beneficiaries of the estate and has to act in the best interests of the estate to maximise it for the benefit of the beneficiaries.

It is good practice, but not the law, to advise the beneficiaries of the progress of the estate. As there is a house involved, your sister will have to apply for confirmation to the estate. That means she will have to apply to the court to be confirmed as executor. As part of that process she will have to lodge an inventory of the estate. She will also have to lodge the will. At that stage anyone can go to the court and examine the will and the inventory.

As far as decorating the house is concerned that is the executors decision. As I said earlier the executor is entitled to take decisions in order to maximise the value of the estate.

I do appreciate that it is frustrating not to be kept informed. If, at any stage, you suspect that your sister is not doing her job as executor, you are entitled to apply to the court for an accounting of our dealings with the estate. Given the cost of this, however, this would always be a last resort rather than a first. Before that, you would write to your sister in formal terms and ask her for the relevant information.

Happy to discuss further.

I hope this helps. Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thankyou for the information it was very helpful, as a beneficiary to my mothers will and my sister the only other beneficiary am I entitled to any money from the estate before the house is sold
Kind regards
Allison Emmott
This isn't a matter of entitlement, it's a matter of practice. There is nothing to stop an executor making an interim payment to a beneficiary during the administration of the estate. It is a matter for the discretion of the executor whether that is done or whether the executor waits until the estate is completed.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thankyou for the information, I am going through a divorce and struggling financially and it's split the family up. I would rather be broke and have my mother back but I can't and this is her way of helping me because no one would would it be prudent to have a discussion with the lawyer dealing with estate with my sister present
Yes, there's no reason why you shouldn't do so. Note, however, that as a matter of practice an executor will not normally pay out monies from an estate earlier than six months from the date of death. This is to make sure that any creditors have submitted claims and so that the executor can prepare a draft account to see what the extent of the estate is likely to be.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Even though my sister is the executor I have dealt with all the paperwork on her behalf and there is no outstanding debt to date
In that case a view can be taken