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Probate Legal Issue

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Hi All,

 

My father has recently passed away on 28th July 2017 following a short illness ( 2 Months ),

He has 2 sons and 1 daughter and step daughter.

We were informed by the step daughter about the death and she gave the hospital details.

 

We contacted the hospital to arrange for the personal belongings and collect the death certificate only to be told in fact the step daughter had already collected the belongings including house keys death certificate.

We told the hospital she was in fact not the next of kin and they said she presented herself as the next of kin the daughter.

 

We have managed to contact her via mobile number with a view to sorting out the funeral and the estate,

she has refused to confirm her address as we need to gain access to his flat to collect documents and she has the keys.

 

She has stated she is named on the funeral policy and the is no will,

we explained if there is no will all his policies and property belong to his 3 blood children and grandchildren.

 

Due to the lack of contact with the step daughter we contacted the hospital only to be informed that our father is still in the morgue awaiting collection by the funeral director who as yet have not been appointed. We have made an appointment with a solicitor for Monday with a view to sorting out this mess.

 

On another point we have been informed that the step daughter has been using our fathers debit card over the last 6 to 8 months maybe longer without our knowledge which clearly is now looking very strange, the only contact now is by text message and she has stated due to no will she wants nothing to be with solicitors or the probate again very very strange behavior and refuses to confirm her address.

 

We need to access the flat to confirm paperwork and documents but how can we do this if she refuses to hand over the keys. Will the solicitor make some type of court order allowing access so we can sort out personal belongs.

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Firstly sorry to hear of your loss.

Did your father legally adopt the step child?

And/or was the step daughter if not adopted ever a dependent?

 

As far as I know if not legally adopted then they have no claim on your fathers estate.

 

But if they were considered a dependent they can apply thru the courts for something ( and I cant recall what it I called)

 

I'm far from an expert in probate matters, others may be able to clarify

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No our father did not adopt the daughter,

we have pointed out we would like a solicitor to deal with the estate matters and need the keys but shes refuses.

 

We know she has already been into the house as she stated she has got the funeral policy,

 

i was thinking of travelling to the house after the meeting Monday with a view to finding the step daughter.

 

We have requested a copy of the death certificate but told this takes 15 days at this stage we don`t even know if the flat is secure.

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Is there any chance you could convince a locksmith to change the locks for you? If you explain that you have no access to the property following your father's death (maybe omit to mention the step-daughter issue) and offer to provide your ID (driving licence/passport), they may be willing to change the locks for you.

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On another point we have been informed that the step daughter has been using our fathers debit card over the last 6 to 8 months maybe longer without our knowledge which clearly is now looking very strange, the only contact now is by text message and she has stated due to no will she wants nothing to be with solicitors or the probate again very very strange behavior and refuses to confirm her address.

 

Inform the bank(s) of the passing of your father, and they may well freeze the accounts. I say "may" as it is quite likely that they would require a death certificate before taking any action. That said, the bank might accept conformation from the hospital if they care to telephone the mortuary.

 

As for finding out where the stepdaughter is living, there are several web sites that can provide a free location service. Alternatively, the local council could provide the information via the electoral register (assuming she is registered).

 

But if they were considered a dependent they can apply thru the courts for something ( and I cant recall what it I called)

 

That would be the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. But to take a claim to court is a very expensive process with no guarantee of success. Reading between the lines, the stepdaughter lives elsewhere, so a claim of being dependent is already on shaky ground.


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My brother has contacted the bank and confirmed they have cancelled the card and froze the account,

once we have the death certificate we can go into the bank and find out about monies taken and card transactions.

 

 

The locksmith would not do the job without the proper paperwork,

we had a text last night from the step daughter refusing all contact as she now knows their is no will.

 

 

i guess she has been to the flat and searched and not found any paperwork

we are planning to travel to the property on Tuesday just to if the flat is locked and secure.

 

Fingers crossed the death certificate arrives soon

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If you know where it was registered, i thought they could provide it quickly.

It takes longer if you wait for it to be recorded on the national database.

 

Given your family situation, do you think your Dad would have been mindful to clarify his wishes in a will ?

Would he have used a local Solicitors before for any reason ?

It might be worth making enquiries, as just because no will was found in the flat, does not mean there was not one done at some point.


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Have you spoken to the registrar's office, ripped off? In the circumstances I'd have thought there might be something they could do.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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We have been in contacted the office and they confirmed the death has been registered,

we have explained the situation but it will still take up to 15 days

and once we have the certificate we can then start to sort out the estate.

 

 

We had a text from the step daughter last night and she wants nothing to do with the process nor probate.

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How big is the estate likely to be?

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According to my brother our father did say he purchased the flat leasehold few years ago and sold it in Jan 17 for £175,000

we know he also had pensions and saving account & current account as well both with Natwest,

 

 

we are concerned the step daughter may have cleared out the accounts,

our question will be if she has taken all the funds from the accounts what action can we do as clearly she was not next of kin.

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It would be a case of gathering evidence, by getting copies of all Bank statement and looking at the withdrawals.

If it looked like she had been withdrawing money without your Dads consent, then you would have to report to the Police.

Cashpoints have cameras in them and Banks keep recordings for a period.

Also Banks CCTV is kept for longer than it used to be, as it is all digital these days.


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Well the bank have confirmed today the step daughter has been using my fathers debit card,

they confirmed that she had even taken funds out after he had died as well.

 

 

We have now managed to book an appointment with the bank,

i have got a feeling she has been taking cash out over the last few months and has cleared the account.

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They confirmed that she had even taken funds out after he had died as well.

 

Unless she is an executrix of his will, she has no authority to withdraw funds after his death (even if she wants to claim she had his permission prior to his death). Go to the police.

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We can confirm as far as we understand there is no will,

the step daughter has confirmed this via text message.

 

 

Once we have had the meeting with the Natwest bank and get a full understanding about the missing funds we can then take the correct action.

 

The bank have already stated that she is not authorized on the account,

they have stated due to the fact she was using the debit card after the death

this must be reported and be properly investigated by the police.

 

We just hope she has not emptied the bank account.

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Someone suggested checking with solicitors local to your father to see if they're holding a copy of a will. Are you able to do that?

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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After lots of hours looking

we have found out he has been renting a flat for the last 25 years based on regulated agreement.

 

The flat was part of 6 flats within a large house.

over the last 12 months 5 flats have now been sold totaling £1.6 million,

 

when i spoke to the agent he sounded very happy now the tenant has died.

 

In has actual words

" Great sorry he will inform the landlord "

 

i asked the agent if we could keep the flat and was told No as it will now be refurbished and sold ( estimated price £495,000 )

 

According to my brother

he purchased our father the leasehold about 20 years ago

but according to land registry the leasehold was sold to the landlord in Jan 2017 for £175,000 and until we gain access to the flat we cannot confirm any details about his estate.

 

Well the death certificate copy arrived today,

The Step daughter who registered the death has listed her name and confirm as daughter

it only a small point but she was not the daughter.

 

The good news is now we know the address where she lives as its stated on the paperwork / Death certificate.

 

After sending hours on the internet we have now found out where she works as well,

the bank have called today and confirmed the debit card has now been taken by a cash machine as she was trying to withdrawn funds.

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You are assuming it is the step dughter who tried to withdraw funds, and you are probably correct. However, that isn't proof, and the bank don't have to (and probably won't) show you the CCTV for the time the card was used.

 

It would be a case of gathering evidence, by getting copies of all Bank statement and looking at the withdrawals. If it looked like she had been withdrawing money without your Dads consent, then you would have to report to the Police. Cashpoints have cameras in them and Banks keep recordings for a period. Also Banks CCTV is kept for longer than it used to be, as it is all digital these days.

 

 

Unless she is an executrix of his will, she has no authority to withdraw funds after his death (even if she wants to claim she had his permission prior to his death). Go to the police.

 

 

You've previously been advised to go to the police, who are the correct agency to investigate this.

She might claim the withdrawals prior to his death were with his permission, so I can understand you wanting to investigate that first, but the withdrawals after death give you grounds to report it straight away, and then the police can look into any withdrawals, both before and after his death. What are you delaying for?.

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Agree. Biggest mistake is for a family showdown, where they go to an address to confront the step sister. She might just disappear.

 

Let the Police deal with this now and go through a proper process. If the step sister has squirrelled money away, the Police can arrange to freeze any accounts in her name and take any other actions needed.


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The delay was due to not having the death certificate

the bank will not accept our details without the correct paperwork,

 

 

we have already got an appointment Monday morning with the bank and straight afterwards if there is any wrong doing the matter will be passed straight to the police.

 

The only concern now is if the step daughter has approached other companies such as pensions etc

 

Yes agreed we may have the address but will be passing the information straight to the police,

we are just hoping she has not squirreled away his monies or tried to claim funds from other places.

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Ask the Bank to print out a list of Direct Debit authorities and standing orders that have been registered on the account within say the last 5 years. From the list, you might gain Insurance company names, reference numbers etc. Helpful if you are trying to track down any policies he might have been paying.

 

Remember to take with you any identity papers e.g passport, your original birth certificate, marriage cert showing any change of name. This is so the Bank can see who they are dealing with.


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The Step daughter who registered the death has listed her name and confirm as daughter it only a small point but she was not the daughter..

 

That's not necessarily evidence of any wrongdoing, I wouldn't make too much of it. A step daughter can reasonably call herself a daughter if she was treated as a 'child of the family' under family law, and to legally be a relative who can register a death. The rules on who can report a death don't distinguish between blood relatives and non-blood relatives. Any 'relative' may qualify to report a death (if thev meet the other requirements).

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The delay was due to not having the death certificate the bank will not accept our details without the correct paperwork, we have already got an appointment Monday morning with the bank and straight afterwards if the is any wrong doing the matter will be passed straight to the police.

 

But the police can confirm the death had occurred even if you don't have a copy of the certificate, and can start the investigation.

Not having the certificate doesn't mean you couldn't report events to the police!

 

If the bank has already told you the card was used after death: that is enough. The police can liase with the hospital (to confirm the death) and with the bank (to confirm the transaction after death).

 

You've been told the police are the correct agency to deal with this, and they have powers you don't. You trying to investigate instead of them is just adding delay.

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Well i have just finished a call to the police and reported the problem,

they have said that someone will be calling to our house to take down a statement also on Monday.

 

 

I have explained the situation and they have confirmed that this person cannot withdraw funds from a bank account after they have died as they are not authorized. They have also confirmed they will also look into past transactions as well.

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Well totally shocked,

our fathers bank account has been emptied and in fact overdrawn and not enough funds to help towards the funeral,

the step daughter has been with drawing funds over the last few months every day, even buying from shops as well.

 

 

on closer reading some days she has withdraw funds from different cash points all at the same time,

our father died on 28th of last month and she was withdrawing funds after he had died.

Overall she has taken over £8,000.00 and thats not including the shopping transactions.

 

We took all the bank statements

highlighted the ATM transactions and other transactions such as Paypoint, KFC, Macdonalds, Wine shop, mobile top ups, Tesco

 

 

looking at the transactions its clear clear she was using the account as her own,

comment from police was she may have had consent ?

however all this was going n when he was in hospital.

 

Example of ATM

 

27/7/17 - ATM Natwest £20.00

27/7/17 - ATM Halifax £100.00

27/7/17 - ATM HSBC £20.00

27/7/17 - ATM Natwest £100.00

27/7/17 - ATM Noremachine £20.00

27/7/17 - ATM RBS £100.00

 

We have been told if she has taken all the funds they are gone,

personally it`s now about whats right and wrong, just hope the police take this issue to hand.

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