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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 12085
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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My mother has just died (two weeks ago) and has apparently

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My mother has just died (two weeks ago) and has apparently left a will which I have asked my brother and sister to see. The funeral was Friday and still no will. My brother originally said that we, the four children could sit together while he read the will. I don´t even know if there is a will and I am the eldest. My brother and sister have said that they will be clearing out the house next week. They have also taken money out of the house to pay for the funeral and meal, I do not know how much there was or how much has been spent. I know that my mother had a lot of insurance policies and savings. I have not seen these. My sister has said that my mother was going to leave the house to her. This may be true but is it legal? I just want to do what is right. I am not interested in money or the house for that matter. I just do not want to be bullied by my younger brother who has taken charge of everything. How should I proceed with this?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I would really appreciate a response with this today in order to prevent any more being taken from my mother´s house.
The only person who is allowed to do anything concerning the estate, with the exception of arranging the funeral, is the executor. The executor is either appointed under a will or, or there is no will, by the court. You can tell your brother and sister that they have to show you the will immediately. If they don't, go and see your solicitor and get yourself appointed as executor by the court. If there is a will and they have refused to show it to you, your appointment by the court will mean that they have to either show the will or put up with your appointment as executor by the court.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Can I say to them now that they cannot go ahead and remove anything from the house until the executor has been contacted? Is there always an executor? Does the solicitor who wrote up the will have any role to play? What about insurance policies, bank accounts, savings and so on? How can I be sure that what they show me is the situation at the time of her death. I feel that I cannot trust my brother as money has already been taken out of the house without me knowing how much. This was a considerable amount of cash she had in a drawer. Have they broken the law by taking money and other items out of the house?
if there is a will there will always be an executor. If there is no will an executor has to be appointed by the court. That is why you get in first and do it. The solicitor who wrote up the will might or might no be an executor. If you know who it is contact him or her. The executor writes to the banks and insurance companies etc to establish the extent of the estate at the date of death. If they are not the executor they have committed theft by removing money and other items. The theft is from the estate. Only the executor has authority to do that.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have now asked my sister who the executor of the will is and she has said it is herself and my brother. Does this mean that they can go into the house and take what they want before the will is read? What are their rights as executors and what rights do my other brother and I have? How can I be sure that they show all the insurance policies, bank accounts etc? My brother and I work abroad while the brother who is executor along with my sister live close-by. This is not an issue of money, this is to do the right thing.
They can only secure the estate for the benefit of the beneficiaries. They then have to inventory the estate and apply for Confirmation (probate) ingather the estate and distribute the net estate in accordance with the will. If the estate is large or there is a house they will need a solicitor. There is no formal reading of a will in Scotland except in books and plays. The beneficiaries are et automatically entitled to sight of the will although you should ask to see the will. You have no real way of knowing whether they show all the bank accounts etc. The office of executor is one of trust. If a beneficiary has reasonable grounds for suspecting an executor isn't doing his job properly an application to the court for an accounting can be made. If they are taking things for themselves during the period of administration then you would have cause for complaint. Insist on seeing the will immediately and a draft inventory of property as soon as this is prepared. Make it clear that however far away you are if you are given any reason to suspect that they aren't doing their job properly you will come after them in the courts.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is there any way I can engage a solicitor to check that all of my mother's various bank accounts, savings accounts, shares and insurance policies etc. without my sister and my brother knowing? I do not want to accuse them of acting improperly unless I am sure. My sister has access to all of my mother´s accounts and can take out money as she pleases. She is easily manipulated by my brother. I do not have an overview of all the policies and accounts my mother has but it is a considerable number.You wrote 'The beneficiaries are et automatically entitled to sight of the will although ...' What do you mean by et?I think that is all, at least I hope so.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
You have been extremely helpful.
You could not instruct a solicitor to check all of this directly. Only the executor can do so. You could instruct a solicitor to seek information from the executor or the executor's solicitor. I meant to say, before autocorrect took over, that beneficiaries are NOT automatically entitled to sight of the will. I hope that helps. Please leave a positive rating on the system so that I am credited for my time.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you very much for excellent help which I have rated. It would of course have saved a lot of time if my brother and sister had told me they were executors of the will.