To ask for my inheritance back?(130 Posts)
NC, am regular user but don't want this to be linked with previous threads as it'll out me!
Will try and keep this brief but feel free to ask questions to clarify as it's confusing and complicated!
My dad died when I was a child (under 10), leaving me, mum and sister. At the time he had a well-paid job with good pension etc and DM didn't work. His death resulted in a lump sum being paid which paid off the balance of our house plus an annuity for life for my mum which was/is the equivalent of a good salary (think well over 4 figures net per month) and also a smaller annuity for me and DS while we were in full-time education (including uni).
To cut a long story short my mum spent all that money and more. We moved into a bigger house and didn't have to pay a mortgage as the lump sum plus equity from the last one covered that. So life improved that way. But we got no money to help us through uni (I had to self-fund and ended up taking over 10 years to complete a degree due to lack of funds) and DS didn't even try to go as she couldn't afford it. We are now both married with DC and although we are ok financially, we are both saving up to move to a bigger house.
However, mum's house has tripled in value. Unfortunately in order to have an extravagant lifestyle, she has borrowed so much against the house so now despite the rise in value there is very little equity in it. She has now decided to move out of the house into a rented place in a different area and is also making plans about buying things like a sports car with what's left after the sale of the house, so there will be nothing left. My DS and I have spoken to DM over the years about her money problems and she would not admit to anything being an issue and maintained that although the house was an expensive commitment to maintain, she was doing it to pay the mortgage off and then split the money 3 ways when it was eventually sold so that DS and I could finally get our inheritance.
I don't know what to do - do I just let the sale go through and she wastes the last of our dad's money or do I say something and come across as greedy whilst she's struggling? Or something else completely? Please help!
sandiacre and superwife are spot on. You need proper legal advice.
Sometimes household insurance offers free legal cover and advice, though what this actually entails is another matter. Worth checking your policy as a starting point however.
It sounds to me like your mum was acting as trustee of a bare trust for you and your brother. In that case, you should have had the money at 18.
I wrote my post before I read your update.
Please ignore, it sounds now like the money was in your name and she had it paid into her own account, even after you were an adult, is that right?
If it is then she stole it, and you have every right to ask for it back.
Annuities would normally pay out either for whole life or fixed term and there would be no lump sum at the end of it. In the case of a child with an annuity to last while in full time education then it would be paid to the guardian to spend as they saw fit and would end when you go to university. It does depend entirely on the wording of the will and the annuity but it is possible that you are not entitled to anything. You need to see a solicitor with a copy of the will.
I think it was very wrong that you did not get the money provided for your university education. You could see a solicitor if you think the money should have been paid to you. Not sure how that would stand in law. Your mother could be in trouble and could be ordered to make you a back payment if it was found the money should have gone to you.
Do you have a copy of the will?
I'm pretty sure you can request one. I think that's the starting point.
And of course, seeking legal advice,
Ok, copy of the will. I have no idea where it would be though - is there a public place where they're kept (clutching at straws, I know!)
Jacks I am 100% sure that there was a clause to say that the money would be paid throughout my education including uni; I specifically remember getting a special letter from the uni at the start of each semester to confirm I'd attended the previous semester and was still on my course. DM kept requesting them from uni to send off to dad's employer to make sure the annuity continued. I didn't understand this fully until it was too late
This may help - wills are public document,
I also x posted
I know you say you paid board since you were 16 but couldn't she just claim that it cost more to keep you ?
I have teenagers and they cost a lot.
I also think she owes you the money but if there is none left and she's having to move into rented then there's none to get .
You definitely need a solicitor
Anyone can get a copy of the will from the probate court.
The link above is to a private company - they'll probably charge you the earth for fuck all.
I've just tried to link to the really simple, well-explained site that gives you all the details and addresses to do it directly - and have got the modernised, crap, horrendously complicated govt one instead. <sighs>
I will dig out a suitable link eventually. Honestly, it's really easy - you send off your money (was £5 last time I did it): they send you a copy of the will.
OK, you need this form: hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/pa001s-eng.pdf
Tick "General Search", and ignore all the stuff about "within 6 months" - that's for Standing Searches.
If you don't know your father's exact date of death, give the best you can and state that it's approximate. The Probate Calendars are annual anyway, so they should be able to find him.
And it's a tenner now - doubled since a couple of years ago.
What will happen if you try to make a claim?
Has she got any money in reality?
IMO emotionally write off your inheritance. It is where it is. Sadly your DM comes across as feckless. Whatever money comes into her hands will fall out again.
I can understand your feelings. I was left a small legacy by my GM. Not a lot but at the time it would have made a difference. Another relative had control so that the legacy was not paid out for another 10 years meaning that it had no real value to me by that point (the legacy was a specific cash value).
In your case the problem is that the money is all gone. Pursuing it wont make the money magically appear.
What is your relationship like with your DM?
And I agree with what everyone says about getting legal advice - at least an initial consultation.
If she's planning to sell the house, if you move fast you may be able to get a charge on it so that the balance goes to paying you off, NOT a new sports car. (NB I am NOT a lawyer, you need proper advice).
As for your relationship with her... that's something only you can decide. It sounds like she's stolen from you, not just thousands of pounds but your sister's future and a good chunk of yours.
Oh, and nothing you've said suggests she's struggling - she has a salary and a salary-earning partner. So though I'm sure she will claim you're impoverishing her, that's just another taradiddle.
OP, get a charge against the house.
She owes you money and she has sadly stolen from you and your DS.
I am so so sorry for you... how awful.
But you have a right to ask for it back and she should acknowledge what she has done.
Just be prepared for long-term fallout though.
I think you should go and see a solicitor and discuss it with him/her. When you have the necessary legal information, then you can decide how to proceed - and whether it's worth falling out with your mother. Firstly, you need to know whether or not she has actually defrauded you - which sounds possible (though I am not a lawyer, which is why I suggest you consult one). If she has, then you could take legal action against her.
If she hasn't actually defrauded you, as CCR suggests, then you could ask her for the money on the grounds that she said some would be coming your way, but it doesn't sound as though you have much chance of getting it. But it's important to know the actual legal position before you speak to her.
Wow, she let her kids live like that and took their money to live high off the hog?
Fuck it, I'd get legal on her and she could go get knotted as far as any relationship was concerned.
Anyone who does this to their own kids is toxic and untrustworthy.
Just because your mother got the money paid into her account doesn't mean it was hers to spend. Dad died a few years ago and left all his grandchildren a small inheritance, I was quite surprised to receive a single cheque that covered my inheritance and the kids, I'd expected us to get one each.
What a terrible situation. I would try the pension fund managers again and find out as many facts as I can.
You have been robbed, you needed to start looking at it from that view point. As PP have said go to a solicitor ASAP they will be able to advise you and get a copy of your Dads will there will be a copy somewhere.
I think you should get legal advice. Maybe start a thread in the legal section for starters.
It sounds like she has stolen the money from you. She's behaved appallingly and I don't blame a tiny bit for being bitter.
OP normally I am the first to say that you are not owed an inheritance and that children should only get something when both parents have passed. However your situation seems different and your df obviously thought long and hard about how to provide for his dd's and what they may need. If he cared about education so much to specify this money I would imagine he'd be very proud that you have achieved what he wanted for you.
How is your relationship with your mother? It seems that going down a claiming back path would be a point of no return, would you be ok with that?
I hope you get the answers you need.
He may well have specified money for them precisely because he knew she'd be imprudent. Though I guess he didn't realise she would be downright dishonest.
It sounds like she has done the wrong thing by you. Definitely get legal advice and push for reimbursement of funds that should have been yours.
I was in similar circumstances but my siblings and I all had the money paid monthly into out accounts once we turned 18 (or possibly the sept/academic year after we turned 18). Up until then DM got extra on her payments for us so technically she must have lost out when we went to uni.
The money came from my dad's pension fund and didn't go through DM at all. I remember vaguely that we had to prove we were in education but DM dealt with that. I imagine that she put our bank details on the form because the money definitely came into our accounts.(Eldest bro may have got cheques - it was a long time ago)
I think what you do about it depends on how much you are willing to gamble your relationship with her. Personally, I'd go for the money because your relationship is shot to ribbons anyway and she is going to piss the money up the wall if you don't get it.
The pension fund should be able to tell you the conditions of the scheme and tell you if putting into someone else's account (even if it was DM's rather than a random) was legal. Obviously they may be reluctant to confirm this as they did it.
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