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Suspected fraud over late aunt's will and probate.....


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A bit of a story but I am very worried about something.

 

On 21st April 2017 my aunt passed away.

She had a son and a daughter (my cousins).

She treated her daughter very cruelly all her childhood, whilst favouring the son and at 16 dtr left home, cut most ties, several attempts over years to put things right, no joy. Dtr now happy, loved, housed, and fed, all by her own hand and pure hardwork lol.

 

However, the son is dishonest, used to thieve off his employers, and steal out of his mother's purse.

 

He then set up a business with his sons and has been bankrupt three times (although as far as we know not currently bankrupt).

 

Aunty has left a property worth nearly £500,000, and she was also rather cash rich.

Now, my mother and Aunty used to sit and joke about the little nest egg she had left my mum

 

. Mum used to say she was going to give it to the Donkey Sanctuary, and Aunty said at least some good would come of it.

 

Dtr also confirms that on the one occasion when she challenged her mother about the sheer injustice of all this (after all father had TWO children and had he not died at 47 Aunt wouldn't be in the wealthy position she was when she went) was told emphatically

"everything to go to son outright, except a bit of money for you, my sister and her daughter.

 

I have only left you money so that you don't try and contest the will and ruin your brother's life!" Aunt also told my mother this several times.

 

Over the last 8 years or so Aunty became more housebound so her son and his wife took over her care and control of her bank account (although not by power of attorney). I know all this from my mother.

 

Moving onto June 2017, my mum died unexpectedly.

She was not a wealthy lady at all.

 

I was able to give her the send off she deserved, and I asked for donations to the Donkey Sanctuary.

 

Well, in doing this it reminded me about Aunt's will, and I thought, well if probate has been granted, then I could look at the Will (becomes a public document then?).

And do what mum wanted with whatever she had been left.

 

I really cannot imagine I would have been left anything much because my Aunt helped me out so much when I was a kid. But when I look at the Probate thing on line, they haven't registered it.

 

Now, I told my cousin (dtr) about this, and she says "of course he hasn't applied for probate yet, he wants to empty his mother's bank account first, he is not a suitable person to deal with the estate. he is extremely sly and dishonest".

 

Is there anything I can do here?

I think my mum was left a small amount of cash,

 

I would like to have that sent to the Donkey Sanctuary as per her wishes,

but I suspect my cousin (son) is not applying for probate yet so he can continue to use the cash in my Aunt's bank account, just as if she were still with us.

This cannot be right can it?

I do not speak to him, and will not be speaking to him.

 

On another note,

I really feel for my cousin (dtr).

She truly had an awful life with her mother.

This is all confirmed by my own mother.

And the things I have had to listen to from my cousin, its heart breaking.

It was outright child abuse.

 

My late Uncle (who adored his daughter) got early onset dementia and died when he was 47

 

. He was in a highly paid position with a fuel company,

the house was paid off and Aunt received his very generous pension and all the rights that went with that until she died at 87.

 

I feel that my cousin (dtr) should have an equal share in this, and I wonder, does she have any grounds to contest this Will, whenever we get to see what is in it?

 

I do hope someone can help us out here, neither of us have ever had to deal with anything like this, and the first time we try to, it seems full of dishonesty and unfairness!

 

Thanks for taking the time to read.

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If you can get hold of a copy of the death certificate, sending it to the bank in question would see the accounts being frozen. Do you know for certain if there is a will and who the executors are ?

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Hello J&W, I'm sorry you have this problem. Very sorry to hear about your mum as well.

 

You can only see a will once probate has been granted, which can take months. With your aunt's will it's likely that the executors have to deal with the IHT people given the sums involved and this can take time.

 

I can't post links from my phone but there is a government website that tells you when probate is granted. You can then order an electronic copy of the will for £10.

 

HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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If you can get hold of a copy of the death certificate, sending it to the bank in question would see the accounts being frozen. Do you know for certain if there is a will and who the executors are ?

 

 

How is the OP going to get hold of that?

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Oh Mr P - I have done that, just yesterday. I ummed and aahhed over it, but at the end of the day something is not right here. So I simply copied the death certificate and posted it to the bank. No note or anything. They'll get that tomorrow.

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And yes Mr P, there is most certainly a will. Aunt used to tell my mother everything, they were so close. And Aunt has thrown it in her daughters face over the year's as well. Of course, without seeing the will I wouldn't know who the executors were. Can you be an executor as well as a beneficiary? If so, it'll be the son. He was the only thing that mattered in her life.

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Can you be an executor as well as a beneficiary?

 

Yes, it is possible to be both an executor and a beneficiary. Probate can take time to sort out, especially if the finances are complex or fragmented. I went through the process myself a couple of years back and took six months before submitting the paperwork.

 

If you want to check for probate and/or order a copy of the will & grant, you can search here: https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/#wills

 

Alternatively, you can fill in a PA1S form and set up a standing search and you will be notified if/when probate is granted. For further information, see: https://www.gov.uk/wills-probate-inheritance/searching-for-probate-records

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You can be an executor and a beneficiary. There is the chance your aunt's account was held jointly with her son in which case he's perfectly entitled to spend money from it because it becomes his without need for probate. The amount at date of her death will still be what matters for tax purposes.

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Dtr also confirms that on the one occasion when she challenged her mother about the sheer injustice of all this (after all father had TWO children and had he not died at 47 Aunt wouldn't be in the wealthy position she was when she went) was told emphatically

"everything to go to son outright, except a bit of money for you, my sister and her daughter.

 

I have only left you money so that you don't try and contest the will and ruin your brother's life!" Aunt also told my mother this several times.

.........

 

Now, I told my cousin (dtr) about this, and she says "of course he hasn't applied for probate yet, he wants to empty his mother's bank account first, he is not a suitable person to deal with the estate. he is extremely sly and dishonest".

 

Is there anything I can do here?

I think my mum was left a small amount of cash,

 

I would like to have that sent to the Donkey Sanctuary as per her wises

 

.....

but I suspect my cousin (son) is not applying for probate yet so he can continue to use the cash in my Aunt's bank account, just as if she were still with us.

.........

 

I feel that my cousin (dtr) should have an equal share in this, and I wonder, does she have any grounds to contest this Will, whenever we get to see what is in it?

 

I do hope someone can help us out here, neither of us have ever had to deal with anything like this, and the first time we try to, it seems full of dishonesty and unfairness!

 

 

Unfair : probably.

Challengeable : unlikely. (Did daughter, your cousin, rely on her mother for support? If not, as an independent adult she doesn't have a claim).

It appears the deceased made the unpleasant decision to give almost all to the wastrel son, made no bones about revealing it, and was adamant about this over many years : if her fathers will left all to the mother and the mother was competent to make her decision it is hard to challenge, even if it seems unfair.

 

As for dishonest : if there is only a small sum due to your Mum's estate and the dtr : hard to show dishonesty - he'll just say "all will be paid when the estate is settled".

 

Unfair and distressing : absolutely.

Challengeable or dishonest : doubtful.

 

For it to be fraud there would have to be dishonesty, which I don't think you can (yet!) show.

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I have one more question, which I think I already know the answer to. I now know that the son is the executor. Can anyone confirm that there is no way he can administer this will with applying for probate is there?

 

I am going to pay for a Caveat to be entered ready for when he applies for probate. My female cousin may be being treated badly (and she has confided in me that she feels the abuse will not stop for her until this matter is resolved, and she can have final , being treated like this will be the final act of cruelty against her by her mother) and I may not be able to do anything about that, but by goodness I can make sure my poor old mum gets what her sister wanted her to have.

 

Thanks guys.

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Probate (more correctly a 'grant of representation') will be required unless the estate is very small (not the case here, from what you say), or he doesn't need to obtain the grant becuase he already had access prior to the death (if he jointly owned the property with 'right of survivorship', and any bank accounts were joint accounts).

http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/for-the-public/common-legal-issues/probate/

 

You've already acted over the bank account by sending in a copy of the death certificate.

 

It seems likely inheritance tax (IHT) will be due (but that depends on how much the non-charity beneficiaries are getting!)

He'll have a year from the date of death to deal with the IHT.........

https://www.gov.uk/valuing-estate-of-someone-who-died

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Thank you BazzaS, I'll have a read of that link. We know only she owned the bungalow, and he did not have a joint bank account with her (again from my mother as recently as February this year and from my birthday check the same month in her sole name). Mum told me that she simply gave him and his wife her bank card and pin number when she stopped going out. My mum also told me Aunty said she had lent "thousands" to the wife over the years, not a penny paid back! Oh to have been a fly on the wall.

 

Thank you both very much, this is getting interesting lol! Oh and I am now almost certain I have been left two china dogs lol! And I want them.

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It seems likely inheritance tax (IHT) will be due (but that depends on how much the non-charity beneficiaries are getting!)

 

Why would the amount beneficiaries are getting under the provisons of the Will affect whether the estate is liable for Inheritance Tax?

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Why would the amount beneficiaries are getting under the provisons of the Will affect whether the estate is liable for Inheritance Tax?

 

Because of the nil-rate band.

 

(OK, so technically, all of the estate is chargeable to IHT, but since up to the value of the nil-rate band is charged at 0%, effectively, if it all falls within the nil rate band, there is no IHT, so no liability!)

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I think it's this which has led to confusion

It seems likely inheritance tax (IHT) will be due (but that depends on how much the non-charity beneficiaries are getting!)

Do bequests to charities fall outwith a total value for inheritance tax?

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Because of the nil-rate band.

 

(OK, so technically, all of the estate is chargeable to IHT, but since up to the value of the nil-rate band is charged at 0%, effectively, if it all falls within the nil rate band, there is no IHT, so no liability!)

 

I don't follow that at all. Whether the estate is liable to pay IHT depends on the net value of the estate. What you referred to as "how much the non-charity beneficiaries are getting" doesn't make any difference to whether the Estate is liable to pay IHT. If the net Estate value does not exceed the Nil rate band threshold - £325,000 - there is no IHT to pay. If it is over £325,000 then IHT is normally 40% on the amount over £325,000. "how much the non-charity beneficiaries are getting" doesn't make any difference to liability to pay IHT. Substantial donations to charity might make a difference to the RATE of IHT payable over £235k, but not whether tax is payable at all.

 

 

Do bequests to charities fall outwith a total value for inheritance tax?

 

 

No, but if the donations to charity exceed a certain amount the standard rate of IHT - 40% - is reduced. It's a while since I looked at the detailed calculations but search 'inheritance tax reduced rate' and you'll find it.

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Do bequests to charities fall outwith a total value for inheritance tax?

 

Yes, IN EFFECT if the whole of the estate is going to charity. (The whole estate is CHARGEABLE for IHT, but the LIABILITY is zero).

 

Otherwise, bequests to charity (if there are also bequests to non-charities) aren't liable to IHT, and can affect the rate of liability to IHT for those (non-charity) bequests that are outside of the nil rate band. (If sufficient is given to charity, the rate of IHT drops from 40% to 36%).

 

Sometimes wills are 'written back' (after death!) to alter the amount given to charity, where the amount to charity was close to triggering the lower rate, to increase the sum to charity to that threshold. The charity gets more. The beneficiary gets more, too (as they pay 36% rather than 40% IHT. The government takes the hit (the charities increased sum effectively being funded from the 4% no longer going to the government).

 

However, since the case here is that sums are going to non-charities, I can see that

It seems likely inheritance tax (IHT) will be due (but that depends on how much the non-charity beneficiaries are getting!)

was poorly phrased by me.

 

I'll try again:

"It seems likely IHT will be due.

If the value of the estate exceeds the nil rate (and additional nil-rate) bands, and isn't all going to charity, then some IHT will be due.

The rate of IHT (36%? 40%?) will be influenced by the size of any charitable donation.

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