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When is Probate necessary?


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I recently discovered I am named as Executor, along with two cousins, in the Will of our, now deceased, Uncle Donald (we are all his nephews, though not siblings - Uncle Don and his wife died childless). There was quite a substantial six-figure estate, including property and money and I am a beneficiary. My two cousins have dealt with the estate as directed in the Will, as far as I can see, though without involving or consulting me for some reason and I have been allowed no dealings with it, although I have had my allotted share. In fact I did not realise I was supposed to be an Executor until recently. I discover though, that no Probate was sought by, or granted to, either of my cousins and the estate seems to have been distributed - all done and dusted - without it. I am very concerned about the legality of all this. From all the reading I've done, it seems Probate is necessary when the estate is over a certain amount - I think £5000, though I've read different sums so I'm still unsure. I'm not close to either of my cousins, having had hardly any contact since childhood, so I don't know how trustworthy they are - sorry, but you hear such tales. I'm worried in case it turns out this has not been carried out to the book, that my inheritance is not legal and I may be liable for something in some way and even have to hand it all back! Uncle Don left me some property which I want to sell but, although it's all now in my name and everything, Land Registry etc, I'm very nervous about this lack of Probate business. Can some kind person please put me out of my misery and explain Probate to me, in words of one syllable if poss. Is it actually a legal requirement? How could it have been done without? Thanks.

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  • 2 months later...

I have now discovered there were more funds (which should have been distributed three ways between all beneficiaries, including me,) which the other two Executors (who were the other two beneficiaries) kept and of which I was not aware. Is this theft? Fraud? Someone has suggested I get Probate myself. I've no idea how this would benefit me though, especially as I suspect these funds have long gone. What can I do now? What would a solicitor advise? Has anyone any long, legal words I could frighten them with?

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First port of call would be your local probate office.(google) Probate will have been registered and granted from there ( or will point you at the right office). Stating your position to them ( ie investigating probate irregularities - fraud is possably too strong a word at this point) any differences to what they have attested to in the probate and any evidence you have will certanly make them sit up and take notice. However certainly getting the actual probate details which they have registered ( and legaly attested too) will be your first step.

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Re-reading your posts i realiced that the six figure sum meant that death duties would have had to be paid, and they take a dim view of any tax evasion that may seem ( on the face of it) to have occured. Ask for an appoinitment at your local office,- tell them that as far as probate goes you're a numpty who needs an explination in words of one sylobile and you hopefully get a symethetic person who will talk you through it, and mabye have a glance over it to see if theres anything in what you are saying. (I did that when my father died and I could'nt have got a nicer, kinder person) Good Luck

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