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Probate and Solicitors as Executors . . .

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Morning Caggers,

 

A friend of mine sadly lost his sister last year, you may have read my post about transporting her body through the country previously, and it transpires that she has had a history of mental illness, which culminated in her death due to an addiction of Paracetemol.

During her last few months it transpires that she has made some very odd decisions, possibly due to her mental condition, one of the strange decisions was to instruct a company of solicitors to be the only executor, strange as her mum is alive as is her brother and they have a family friend who is a senior barrister, or may even be a High Court Judge I believe. Anyway it is what it is and she did have a Will, again littered with odd decisions but it is her current Will . . .

 

The main issue for her family is that she did own a property, 50/50 with a Housing Association etc, and there was a small amount of money in her bank. The solicitors in question are doing nothing with the probate or estate, her mum keeps looking after the house and has been paying the Rent/Mortgage, Council Tax, all the Service Bills etc . . . The funeral director is chasing for their money too . . . and yet the Solicitors do nothing with the estate . . .

 

I'm led to believe that this is a common tactic by solicitors that sit on this for a year or two, to justify exorbitant fees which funnily enough equal what cash is yielded from the estate . . . please somebody tell me this isn't true as this would be a disgusting tactic by someone who is meant to be morally whiter than white and representing everything that this proud country stands for legally?

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Have you approached the solicitor to ask why they are are delaying things ?

 

I think you can ask them to step down as Executors, but if they dont do so willingly you might have to take action which could be costly.

 

I will try and find someone to help you.


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the family friend I mentioned who is a legal person, got involved to try and help but because in the eyes of the solicitors that the family have now taken legal representation they won't deal with the family at all and put the phone down on them stating "we cannot talk to you" . . . no courtesy, no explanation etc . . .

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I'm led to believe that this is a common tactic by solicitors that sit on this for a year or two, to justify exorbitant fees which funnily enough equal what cash is yielded from the estate . . .

 

Most of the probate cases that I know of that have been handled by solicitors were wrapped up fairly quickly. For simple estates without any complexities, six to twelve months is usually the norm. The client of the solicitor handling probate is the deceased, so he is highly unlikely to discuss anything with you.

 

As citizenB has pointed out, you can ask them to step down as executors - Check with the Probate Registry to see if probate has been granted.

 

Why is the mother paying all the bills and mortgage ?

These should be paid from the estate if the property is unoccupied, and depending on the L.A., CTX may not be payable.

 

Is there any equity in the property once the mortgage and HA share have been taken in to consideration ?


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it appears there is approximately £70-80k total equity which of course the HA have a 50% claim on, however, it appears there is no mortgage on the property, it was a cash purchase with the other 50% of course being rent payable to the HA. This isn't being paid and is of course wracking up, we're 6 months on since her funeral and i'd guess the debt stands at approximately £1800.

Council Tax apparently won't be due until after probate has been issued, service bills weren't paid for the first two months surround her death but mother is subsequently paying these, unsure of the costs involved.

The worry is if the solicitors in question drag their feet for another 6 months or even 18 months, what debt will be accrued re the house, funeral directors not happy at not being paid, legal fee costs and concerns with the property with bills, council tax and insurances etc . . .

The solicitors in question haven't been in touch with the family, the funeral directors to say they are acting as executors of the estate, A/ is this standard practice or B/ should they have acknowledged all creditors in writing?

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The bit about bills being paid by the mother is really worrying. This should be something that the executors need to deal with. If the solicitors are dragging their feet (either through incompetence or neglect of duty), the mother may not see the money being repaid. The funeral director should have been paid out of any cash available in the estate as they get priority over any/all other debts.

 

The one thing that might be causing delay is the Coroner's Office. They need to investigate the death as it is a suicide, and it is possible that that is the reason the solicitors don't appear to be doing anything.

 

Have you checked to see if probate has been granted via https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/#wills ?


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