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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 12067
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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In February 2012 during a marital dispute my husband emptied

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In February 2012 during a marital dispute my husband emptied our 3 joint accounts into sole accounts in his own name. I consulted a solicitor who said he could take steps to get my 50% share of the funds back but my husband then said he would return the money to the accounts but he never did and he died suddenly in May 2012. We were still living in our jointly owned house and we had no separation agreement. As my husband died intestate the solicitor dealing with his estate paid me back my 50% of the joint accounts as a debt to his estate. His 3 children ( my step children ) are now taking me to court to get the money back as they are saying it was their Fathers and not mine. My husband worked abroad and I had access to his emails as I booked flights and did things for him when he was unable to access his account. After he died I went into his email to contact friends and to close his account. I found several emails between him, his son and a solicitor friend of his son. My husband had sent his son all my bank details, balances, NI number, personal and financial information only related to me. The son then proceeded to send all this to his solicitor friend using his council email account to which the solicitor was also replying to him on. All this information has got to have a bearing on the on going case against me. They are actually asking for information they already have but can't use as they obtained it illegally. There are also derogatory and defamatory remarks in these email made by all three of them. Am I right in thinking that my stepson broke the law when he passed my information onto a third party. Also is it not illegal to use council email to send another persons private information back and fore ? Can I do anything about it ? thank you for any advise.

I think you have several lines here but to answer your latter questions first, any information that your son was given by your late husband would not necessarily be privileged and it is often the case that information is passed on to a solicitor for use in a court case. The use of a council email system for personal use may be in breach of the council's email policy and you may have cause for complaint there but again that won't help the bigger picture. What is the case is that you can establish that the funds were originally held and owned jointly and that your husband "stole" the funds into his own account. After he died you made a claim on the estate and the money was returned to you. The children would have to sue the estate and I don't think they would win. In any event as there was no will you would be entitled to widow's prior rights of £50000 and legal rights of a further third of the remainder. I oresume this was taken into account? Happy to discuss further.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your advise. Prior rights were taken into account. The issue they have lies with the 50% of the funds from the joint accounts ( approx 35k ) which the solicitor returned to me as debt on the estate. The bank gave me a letter saying that my late husband removed the funds into accounts in his sole name. They are trying to say he had more money than me when we got married and because I wasn't working he contributed more. Can a take a no win , no fee case against the son for sending my personal information through the council email, also defamation of character. Some of the things they were saying were derogatory and untrue and have caused a me a great deal of hurt and stress.

As the account was joint it would be looked on as joint property and you would be entitled to half. The fact that he had more money or that you didn't work isn't necessarily relevant as you would have looked after him and the household. You could take action but it's not the type of case that a solicitor would take on a no win no fee basis as such actions are unpredictable. However there's no reason why you couldn't see a no win no fee lawyer for an initial consultation to see what they say. I hope that helps. Please leave a positive rating so that I am credited for my time.

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