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My sister has had a letter from the solicitors who are now dealing with what is left of my late uncles will, I would like any help/info that you can give me due to the following.....

 

My uncle died in 1997 and when his estate was sorted and the bequests were given out the solicitors kept a sum of money back to pay any taxes and for a headstone (not even sure if a headstone was ever sorted)

 

We have a few times been trying to chase up the final statement of what needed to be paid from this money and to date we have been given the run around

 

Now they are trying to sort it out...more than 20 years later! Sounds like gold digging but will any money left from this fund accrue interest? And is there any recourse for us as they have taken so long?

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22 years sounds like a ridiculous time to take but there might have been legitimate reasons. It can happen.

 

Do you have a copy of the Will? Can you clarify 3 things:

 

1. Are the solicitors named in the Will as an Executor? Or did the Executors in the Will appoint them to act for the Executors?

 

2. Who are the Executors named in the Will? Is your sister one?

 

3. Is your sister a 'residual beneficiary'? ie one of the people who is entitled to a share of your Uncle's remaining Estate after all specific bequests and expenses have been paid out. Who are the other 'residual beneficiaries'?

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1 the solicitors were the Executor, the firm closed down years ago, the firm who are dealing with this mess has taken over keeping the wills, deeds and monies in the client account of the old firm, but have not bought out that company

 

2 No my sister wasnt named, just a beneficiary amongst many others(many who have since died) including myself and another sister

 

3 myself, my youngest sister and my middle sister(3 of us) plus many who I do not know, I do not have a copy of the will

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My understanding is that it's good practice to let beneficiaries have a copy of the will, but this doesn't always happen.

 

If probate has gone through, you should be able to buy a copy online, if you want to spring out for £10. Have you asked the current lawyers for a copy will?

 

https://www.gov.uk/search-will-probate

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

can The original firm has gone out of business so I'd guess your chance of any redress against them is zero. When a firm closes down voluntarily (eg the partners retire) they are supposed to ensure another firm takes over outstanding business. No doubt the new firm in this case will blame the old firm for any delays. If you think you have grounds for complaint - and if the amount of lost interest etc is worth it - you could complain to the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Agency). From what you say I'm doubtful whether that's worth the effort, but only you judge that.

 

As Executors I think they have an obligation to pay all interest earned on your Uncle's Estate to the residual beneficiaries because Executors have a general fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries. But I couldn't point you to any specific bit of law that spells that out.

 

These articles might be of interest. They confirm that the Executors have a legal duty to provide a copy of the Estate Accounts to the Residuary Beneficiaries.

 

https://www.co-oplegalservices.co.uk/media-centre/articles-sept-dec-2018/what-are-estate-accounts/

 

https://www.co-oplegalservices.co.uk/media-centre/articles-jan-apr-2017/can-a-beneficiary-of-a-will-see-the-estate-accounts/

 

Your best course of action, now that the solicitors have finally woken up and are getting on with it, is probably to co-operate with whatever they are asking and keep pushing them. There is no point in getting into legal dispute with the solicitors, which would be paid for out of what's left of the Estate, if the remaining Estate is worth next to nothing.  The remaining assets would just disappear in legal fees.

Edited by Ethel Street
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Complain to the Legal Ombudsman (LO), not the SRA.

The LO can act where the SRA can’t, and can refer issues to the SRA for those issues where the SRA would act.

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