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Do I Have Grounds to Challenge My Brother's Position as Executor of a Will


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Hi I'm new here and not sure if I'm on the right forum or not. My brother is an executor and a major beneficiary (as am I) of my late uncle's will. I have been emailing his lawyer as my brother would not let me even park on the drive of my late uncle's house, half of which as well as half of his estate, has been left to me. I was told today that my brother has disposed of the contents of the house, which is now on the market, as they were worthless. Surely, those contents were half mine and he had no right to dispose of them. Can I take any action against him for this? It would be Scottish law as the estate is in Scotland. Any help or advice would be much appreciated as I'm just totally sickened by the way I'm being treated as if I have no rights at all. Just as an added bit of interest, my brother had power of attorney before my uncle died. The accounts I have received are as basic as a five year old would create for a school tuck shop.

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I'm not sure if Scottish probate law is within the expertise of this site. I always suggest when there's a lot of money at stake (like half the proceeds of sale of a house) that it's worth paying a solicitor for a quick appointment.

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Thanks for that asokn but I'm pretty sure there will be someone on here who has some advice as Scottish law isn't really that different and I believe I can apply to have my brother removed just on the evidence of the email saying he's disposed of the contents of my late uncle's house without even having the courtesy to consult me on any of it and, in fact, telling me it was "illegal" for me to park my car on the drive. Must have been the wrong half of the driveway!

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I'm not sure if Scottish probate law is within the expertise of this site. I always suggest when there's a lot of money at stake (like half the proceeds of sale of a house) that it's worth paying a solicitor for a quick appointment.

 

Powers of attorney are created by lawyers in Scotland under some fairly tight conditions.

 

PoAs are policed by theOffice of the Public Guardian in Falkirk - who have and investigations dept but you have three problems.

 

1. they are underfunded to investigate

 

2. They only investigate prior to death

 

3. Any PoA problems after death fall to the executor to investigate.

 

Pretty much anyone can be an executor, their duty being to 'gather in' the estate.

 

The only thing i can think of in your interest is the executor remains liable after the estated has been distributed.

 

But your problems appear to be based on not getting on with the executor and on fact (differing views to value o house contents).

 

Given this you need to see a lawyer and most in scotland offer a free consultation - meaning see a few until one looks interested in more than the fee.

  • Confused 1
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Thanks for that Bang. I wish it were just as simple as my brother and I not getting on but it's not, unfortunately. He is an aggressive bully who is currently bullying two elderly relatives, both of whom he wants to put in a home so he can liquidate the assets! He told me this on a phone call which i thought I had recorded but did not, as it turned out, otherwise I would have made a transcript and handed it in with the soundfile to the police. He has taken over their bank accounts and opened new ones which he controls. He gives them pocket money and if they upset him, he deprives them of groceries, etc. I found appliances switched off at the plug and pushed back in so they couldn't use the tumble dryer, I got an electrician to check the plug on their electric fire as it was heating up - and so was the cable getting too hot to touch - only to find out that my brother's wife had been at the plug and said it was OK. She knew it was OK because her father apparently is an electrician! It was to stop them from using the electric fire and running up a bill! I just want this will, of another relative, done and dusted so I can at least move on with my life and then figure out what to do about his bullying and controlling behaviour to my other relatives. I'm in tears at the moment as I am just so upset that he has allowed my late aunt and uncle's possessions to be "disposed" of without even giving me a say in the matter when, at the end of the day, they were half mine! Added to that I have not seen a copy of the will. I'm pretty sure his lawyer knows he's dodgy and I think I was given a hint in one of the last emails from his lawyer when he said he needed me to "approve the accounts to this stage" before he could release an interim payment. It's not even the value of the goods, it's the principle of the thing. I just thought you were due this explanation as anything to do with wills is normally just about money - not as if I don't need it because, believe me, my own circumstances are horrendous at the moment. But it's about maybe being able to use this to stop other evils by stopping him in his tracks and hitting him where it'll hurt - in his pocket! I thought of asking how much the contents were insured for and going to a court to sue him for half that amount, after getting him sacked as an executor.

Edited by shortieb
bad typo liquidate not liquidise
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afaik, grant of probate in sotland is by way of 'confirmation' which can be done by one of the executors. maybe he did this?, and has taken it upon himself as the 'lead' so to speak. but, everything done by an exec must be accounted for and there should be communication/ agreement with other execs etc. there is also the issue of the PofA, which should cease upon death? the conduct of an exec can be disputed, and as suggested, use of a lawyer would be preferable if poss.

Edited by Ford
  • Confused 1

IMO

:-):rant:

 

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Thanks Bang. I can do that no problem when I'm not as upset as I am now. I know that the investigations lot, like the CPS in England, want about a 60 per cent chance of conviction before they'll act. I was hoping to provide the investigation lot up here with that before getting a lawyer involved. The sound recording of that phone call is the biggest bug bear of all because that, together with everything else, would have stopped all of this. I would love just to walk away but don't feel I can.

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Fairly sure you can have joint executors in Scotland - normally a family member paired with a lawyer. Although its years since I dealt with this type of thing,

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Sorry to deviate away slightly from the main topic, however, with regards to the elderly relatives, if he is depriving them of the basic necessities such as food to the extent they do not have anything in the cupboards to eat whatsoever, I would strongly suggest informing social services. In fact, if you feel that their liberty is being deprived to such an extent by his bullying and controlling of their money, I would do this anyway.

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Thanks Bang. There is a lawyer involved in this but I'm not sure if he's a joint executor or just my brother's lawyer - he's been emailing me and must know that the accounts fall far short of what's expected as well as that nothing should have happened to the contents of the house without my say so. I have no complaint about the lawyer whatsoever as he's not my lawyer. I'll be taking steps to find out tomorrow though.

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Thanks missdpd - no problem in you deviating at all - it's all so mixed up that it'd be hard to deviate much, to be honest. I don't want to upset them anymore but yes he has been deprving them for quite a while now. And social services know about the plug - I pointed that out - that could have set the entire building on fire!

Edited by shortieb
forgot to address who the reply was to
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Hi. Whilst I'm a practicing solicitor this isn't my field but I thought it may be useful to highlight a few points I remember about it:

 

Have had a read through your post. I'm not clear about whether you're an executor. It sounds like you are a beneficiary of the estate and not an executor.

 

- Who is executor:

Were the executors named in the will or was the court petitioned to make you/him executors dative?

In either case you would (should) know that you are an executor.

If you are then you have certain legal duties and should seek legal advice or there can be trouble.

 

- Power of attorney

This ended when your uncle died. Anything beyond this will have been carried out by your brother in his role as executor.

 

- If you're not an executor

If you're a beneficiary and your brother (with his lawyer) is acting as executor, then his job is to sort out the estate (known as ingathering). If there's a will and you've been left certain items you should get them, otherwise he'll be converting pretty much all of the estate into money so that taxes can be paid and the money distributed among the beneficiaries. (This is a very simplified version of what happens).

 

 

 

- about your elderly relatives

this sounds very bad, social services may be a good starting point.

 

 

I hope this has been some help

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... also - your brother has certain duties as an executor. If the contents of the house had value and he gave them away to a friend, for example. then said they were worthless, this would be a breach of his duties.

 

Overall I would recommend it's worth your time and money to seek specific advice from a lawyer.

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Thanks for that dalifnei. I am not an executor although if I was I wouldn't know as I still haven't seen a copy of the will. I am a major beneficiary, along with my brother who says he's executor which he is now. Whether he is named as an executor in the will or not is anybody's guess, he may well have just taken on the role and paid the dues of confirmation. The estate is split between him and me. He has emptied the house of all contents, saying they are worthless when they were not, including lamps, paintings, ornaments, beds, furniture, pots and pans, crockery, etc. etc. If I have half my late uncle's estate that those things that he has called worthless were half mine. They are not mentioned in the accounts anywhere. The white goods, according to his lawyer, will be included in the sale along with carpets, curtains, etc. Added to all this, I have been denied access to the house by him. He went bananas when he discovered I parked my car on the driveway to walk my dog - I didn't know then that I had been left half of my uncle's estate. I'm still so angry, it's unreal because I just feel I'm being treated as if I'm dead as well and I don't matter. Those goods may well have been "worthless" to him although I don't think they were, his wife has been in there and I'm pretty sure all that was there will have been distributed to other people. That apart, I had just moved and found myself in a new home with nothing and I mean nothing. I sold up and what I was buying fell through but I went ahead with the sale and had to get rid of most of my stuff as it would've been too expensive to keep them in storage. So I was in a new home with nothing - and I mean almost nothing - and he gave away or threw out or whatever pots and pans (I had none), beds (I had none apart from a blow-up mattress on the floor), sheets, crockery, cutlery, wardrobes (I still don't have any), etc. etc. I'm sickened and that's putting it mildly. As for what he's doing to my two surviving elderly relatives, it's just disgusting. I alerted social services when I discovered the plug and discovered that my sister-in-law and "fixed" it and said it "was alright". The plug was too hot to touch and so was the wire going into it! They are the main reason I moved, at least one of them is. I know that both of them do not want social services involved so I'm trying to figure out a way to stop him in his tracks and one way would be down the criminal route as opposed to the civil route. Theft of goods and dealing in stolen goods just might be as good a start as any. I'm just all over the place at the moment and am having difficulty making myself look at the situation from the outside so I can act. I do think it'll be worth me seeing a lawyer as I have been asked to approve the draft accounts before any interim payment can be made! I don't want to do that then find that I've stabbed myself in the foot. The contents aren't mentioned in the accounts at all, I had to email his lawyer to find out about those and got one back saying my brother had "disposed" of them because they had "no value". Typical of my brother, knows the price of everything and the value of nothing, I'm afraid. Thanks for your response. It helps when I can rant a little bit!

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Get your own lawyer asap do not sign anything from your brothers lawyer without the say so of your own lawyer and regardless of your elderly relatives wishes if you are concerned about them you must notify social services.

If I have been of any help, please click on my star and let me know, thank you.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just an update for everyone who's been so helpful. I saw a solicitor who said leave it as I can act on the shortfall re contents after distribution of the estate but I've just discovered now that he's selling the house at 30k below the lowest asking price in the area?!! And the contents that were worthless are even in the photographs! Now I'll have to do something about it. I am so sickened and so gutted it's unbelievable. How can a brother do that?

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