Being left out of a will, feeling blue and confused

(199 Posts)
Newbizmum Tue 24-Jul-12 01:18:17

Our mother died some months ago and it appears there was a change to the will a couple of months before she died, leaving around 98% of the estate (£300k) to my brother and his child with my children and I receiving just a few thousand. Previously the wills of both our parents and then my mother left it 50/50 to my brother and me.

I'll be honest and say that since the somewhat unexpected death of our mother, there have been occasions when the mind has wandered down the road of thinking what we would do with any inheritance. I certainly have not been mentally allocating it for things but rather like a daydream about how you would spend a reasonable but not jackpot lottery win, things like private schooling, perhaps a larger house and so forth.

My brother was initially very communicative but then changed and now doesn't want to discuss it, simply pointing me in the direction of the solicitors. I obtained a copy of the will only after searching the Probate Registry as neither he nor the solicitor would give me a copy.

It had always been an equal split, even before any wills were written but I didn't really consider what would happen because I enjoyed my parents being alive. Reading the will the other day made me feel sick, like I have not felt since I cannot remember when. I feel somehow less loved, second rate, if that makes sense ?

Aside from the mismatch, it worries me that this change, via a codicil, is full of typing errors, spelling and grammatical mistakes and is simply printed on blank A4 paper. All the other wills and codicils were written by the solicitor.

Perhaps because I feel this way I have come to thinking that perhaps this codicil is not real or worse, has been concocted. It appears signed with a reasonable signature (not the clearest photocopy) but the witnesses were just people down the street. I do not even know if this was ever given over to the solicitor but I somehow doubt it as there is no sign of a receipt stamp, which it would surely have.

Do I feel cheated ? yes, in a way. I didn't think this situation would arise for at least another decade but I also always assumed everything was as it had been discussed.

I can't think how the family could be mended after this. If my brother takes it all then it will leave a bitter pill and yes, some pangs of jealousy, which I know to be bad but I can't deny it. I certainly don't feel like going cap in hand. Yet if the feelings surrounding this strange codicil do not diminish, am I prepared to take it further and ask my own solicitor to investigate ? I simply do not know.

I think I could have taken it, albeit it with a little disappointment, if my mother had said she wanted to leave everything to my brother but this seems totally out of character. Even sidestepping the inheritance percentages, I "know" my mother would not make up this codicil at home, she was far too particular to leave anything like that to chance and I cannot envisage her signing something so full of errors, she being a school teacher after all. She certainly could not have made it herself as she didn't know how to type and didn't have a computer or printer.

Sorry for the long post but I don't really know where to turn as my brother has seemingly cut me out of his life. Yet if it has been done without my mother's knowledge or intention, the repercussions would be terrible.

How do I get over this and get back to feeling how I did before ?

Matesnotdates Tue 24-Jul-12 01:28:22

You need to see a solicitor to see if the will is legal.

You have my sympathy - it's a body blow when this happens. You can't stop thinking - why?

suburbophobe Tue 24-Jul-12 01:36:19

I agree, you need to get your own solicitor to check this out, sounds all too weird....

Don't let them screw you out of what is yours by right. If your mother wanted different (to what it looks like now), she would be horrified, so go for it.

sleeplessinsuburbia Tue 24-Jul-12 02:36:23

I''d be really concerned without any guilt. My family has experienced a few dodgy inheritances without questioning it to keep the peace. In the last fewonths of my grandma's life she stressed a lot about her will because she had seen the system abused which was horrible to watch. I now believe you have a duty to make sure what she wished for happens and without even knowing you I feel this is out of character for a normal, functioning mother.
I would be very calm and ring the brother and state that you are concerned about the new will and will be asking a sicitor to investigate it. Before that I would visit the witnesses with your copy and ask general questions about her frame of mind at the time (if she actually did it).
You have nothing to feel guilty about.

ImperialBlether Tue 24-Jul-12 23:31:06

You definitely need to get solicitors onto it.

Did your mum suffer from dementia at the end?

What was your brother's response? Is he in debt? Did you notice beforehand he was planning to spend more than he was expected to get? Has he ever had a problem with drugs or with gambling?

This was how Harold Shipman was caught out, you know. A patient was a private secretary before she retired and her daughter said how much she prided herself on her typed work. When she saw the Will - full of spelling errors etc - she knew her mum hadn't written it. Also there were people left out who she knew her mum wanted to leave little things to. It basically said "I leave everything to Harold Shipman."

ImperialBlether Tue 24-Jul-12 23:32:02

Does your brother live locally to your mum?

I think you are quite right to doubt the will and I would engage a solicitor immediately.

No school teacher without dementia is going to leave a codicil with a load of spelling errors. If I were you I'd be interested to see the original.

MotionOfTheOcean Tue 24-Jul-12 23:40:13

You say the Solicitor refused to give you a copy of the will,this would set alarm bells ringing for me as a beneficary is entitled to a copy of the will.Please get some legal advice.

toysoldiers Tue 24-Jul-12 23:41:12

Talk to a solicitor. DH's uncle forged his father's will leaving him everything.

This was to stop anyone finding out that he had already got the how signed over when DGF was suffering from dementia.

A codicil would normally used to add the odd change, maybe a bequest added or division of possessions. Very odd one would be used to fundamentally alter beneficiaries, especially of not drawn up by same solicitor.

ImperialBlether Tue 24-Jul-12 23:45:56

I would lay bets on your brother having a problem with gambling or other such debts.

CointreauVersial Tue 24-Jul-12 23:47:43

Was there any falling-out with your mother? Did she feel that your brother was perhaps in greater need of the money?

I understand why you are feeling devastated; not just because of the money but because of a perceived notion that you matter less than your brother.

You should certainly investigate this, but try to maintain a good relationship with your brother.

sleeplessinsuburbia Wed 25-Jul-12 01:31:16

Agree with imperial. Sorry.

Newbizmum Wed 25-Jul-12 03:28:17

Thanks for all the nice comments. I'll try to cover some points raised.

My brother is very insistent that our mother was totally alert until the end. However, when chatting in the last six months in person and on the phone, the conversation was repetitive with her recounting things to me as if for the first time, when the same items of news were talked about previously, sometimes many times before. This wasn't just a recap of events but delivered to me as the exciting news of the last week or weeks.

I talked about this with my husband but you don't think you need to have a full medical examination just in case, for later on, so to speak. I just put it down to old age and it appeared harmless.

My brother appears outwardly ok financially but he has always had somewhat expensive tastes and even when younger, would like the BMW convertible over the more financially sensible Ford or Vauxhall. He is a multiple divorcee but retained his child and has had a stable partner for some years now. Nothing seems out of the ordinary but you never know. However, from perhaps enjoying spending one's salary on luxuries to premeditated fraud seems a large step to take.

The other nagging thing is that I have now been told my mother knew she was dying but kept it quiet from me. A deathbed change to a will, written on a hospital sheet of paper I can understand, at least to a degree, but a wholesale change would surely have been through the lawyer who drafted all the previous wills and codicils. There was apparently plenty of time and I spoke to her many times after this change was supposed to have taken place.

More specifically, the changing codicil takes great care, though with poorly drafted language and the ever present spelling mistakes, to leave a specific sum to me and a smaller specific sum to my children. It is as if someone had googled for how a will might be challenged and then made sure to include everyone who thought they would inherit, to head off any challenge on the grounds that they had been forgotten.

Another change was in the ages at which the children would inherit. This was raised in the codicil from 21 to 25. Again, why draft this change, unless it was simply copied from somewhere else ?

I am not really a conspiracy theorist but as he could surely not be so stupid as to fake witness signatures, then any collusion must have included them. However, all the major changes in this codicil appear on a separate piece of paper, which could simply have been added in afterwards as there was, I presume, no legal record of this at the time, it not having been prepared by the solicitor.

Just to get my solicitor involved would be thousands by the time they had written here and there and digested the facts. Due to distance, I am not able to interview the witnesses, though a trip could be made specifically. I know who they are but I do not know them. A full blown challenge would cost, well, I do not know. £20,000 perhaps ? That is money I simply do not have.

My brother will now not take my calls, though I have not even raised the point that I now have the will. SMSs are delivered but not returned. I hope this is out of embarrassment and not malice but I cannot help but feel that were the shoe on the other foot and whilst I could find very good uses for 98% as opposed to 50%, I honestly feel I would just pick up the phone and say there must have been some mistake and I would order the solicitor to rectify it, to return to the status quo.

Yet during and after the funeral my brother was very insistent that everything would be done exactly as our mother wanted. I thought the comment somewhat strange but in the context of what I know now, it could be construed as scene setting, to perhaps later come out with a statement that if our mother wished him to have 98% then that is what he should do, sort of a perverse insistence in following it to the letter, a letter whose authenticity I now question.

Sorry, I know I am rambling somewhat but writing it down gives me some comfort. Thanks for the kindness, patience and understanding.

sleeplessinsuburbia Wed 25-Jul-12 03:41:26

I really feel for you, this is a shitty thing to deal with after losing your mother. Like I've already said, it doesn't sound plausible to me, and your brother's comment is doubly hmmm.

I would go to a solicitor once for advice : how to contact original solicitor, look at original will, get a list of things you can do eg take a day to visit the witnesses etc. to be honest, I have had a neighbor witness something and I had to tell her my name first... People being nice do this trusting what they are told. Your bro prob just knocked on their door and said she was too ill to come out etc and they would have just signed (if he didn't forge them).
Even if it would cost a lot to go to court you don't actually have to, I'd assume if you said to your brother your solicitor expects fraud etc and it looks like most of the total inheritance will be eaten in fees he may reconsider. I'd even ask him if he has any financial problems. This will let him know that people are suspicious and he might be relieved if you offer support.
Good luck, do what your mother and father would have wanted.

outtolunchagain Wed 25-Jul-12 08:22:52

I would advise seeing a good probate lawyer,possibly one that is a member of the Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners.Most will give you a free initial appointment which would at least give you an idea of whether you would have a case and what would be involved in challenging the will.In my experience of circumstances like these, often the threat of challenging the will,will result in the main beneficiary agreeing to a Deed of Variation .It doesn't take away the hurt but may help if you feel your mother would not have wanted this.

toysoldiers Wed 25-Jul-12 09:25:08

Who are the executors and has probate been granted?

The thing to find out is if it is fraud (I.e. your mother didn't write or sign it) or undue influence (he made her sign it).

If she didn't sign it and it has been forged, it won't cost you a lot. In fact, threaten to involve the police.

Undue influence is more complicated but basically, the greater the change (as in this case) the more burden there is to prove they were of sound mind. This would normally consist of your mother calling a solicitor herself, arranging an appointment and meeting him alone. The solicitor should then use their reasonable judgement.

If this didn't happen, then you would have a very strong case.

I suspect your brother is panicking. The fact that he won't return your calls suggests he knows he's been found out.

And are you really going to be able to maintain a relationship with him knit you just 'let it go'?

He has the potential to make this right. I would suggest a stern solicitors letter to him would focus his mind.

If

starfishmummy Wed 25-Jul-12 09:48:45

I find it very odd that the solicitor would not give you a copy of the will.

Remember that if the solicitors were the executors they were working for the estate and NOT your brother, so as a named beneficiary you should be entitled to see things like the will and how the estate was distributed.

When my Dad's estate was dealt with the solicitor sent each of us (brother and I) a full copy of how it had been distributed. It showed all my Dad's assets; what the solicitor had spent (funeral costs, his fees etc) and then how the remainder was distributed.

blueglue Wed 25-Jul-12 09:59:47

This is very weird indeed. It does sound like your brother has been involved in some sort of fraud. I don't know anything about this sort of stuff, but wonder if it is worth reporting to the police if the solicitor is too expensive.

If you don't get anywhere via any route, I would never speak to your brother again. I have to say that even if in the unlikely event that the will is real, your brother ought to feel guilty about the mismatch and consider gifting you some of his inheritance.

ImperialBlether Wed 25-Jul-12 13:01:53

I think I would try the police as a first port of call, actually. From what you say it is really, really suspicious.

Why would a mother who gets on well with both children leave 98% to one child and a small, specified sum to another? Why raise the age of inheritance for the grandchildren when the sum is so small? Why not use a solicitor?

If she was in hospital and said she wanted to change her Will, the nurses would contact her solicitor.

Is there a date on this 'codicil'?

ImperialBlether Wed 25-Jul-12 13:05:35

OP, I've just thought.

The original Will left everything between the two of you?

A codicil is only to make small alterations, not to totally rewrite the Will. So, if your mum made a new friend and wanted to leave her her sewing machine, she'd add it on as a codicil. If that friend died before her, another codicil would be written to give the sewing machine to someone else.

What seems to have happened there is that your mum (or someone) has replaced the original Will by virtue of adding a codicil. This isn't the point of it at all.

If your mum wasn't of sound mind when she wrote the codicil then it's not valid. If she was always okay, but perhaps a bit absent minded, then surely she would have asked for her solicitor to make any changes?

ImperialBlether Wed 25-Jul-12 13:06:46

OP, do you and your brother live in the same country? Did either of you live near your mum (when she was alive)?

We had a family friend who had her will changed in favour of a neighbour.
The money had originally been left to charities.

The neighbour had done it to two other elderly people.
No one helped, police not interested ( burden of proof) and the solicitor who granted power of attorney ( do her bank accounts were defined while she was alive) would not get involved.

It sounds as if you have a stronger case though.

* so her bank accounts were drained

I understood that once probate is granted, anyone can apply for a copy of the will.

ajandjjmum Wed 25-Jul-12 13:15:46

Do you think your brother might feel some sort of entitlement - nomatter how misplaced - if he was the one physically closest to your DM, and looking after her?

What a shitty thing for you to have to deal with. I would certainly contact an expert - presumably you need to lodge your concern promptly, so that the funds don't disappear?

Sorry you've lost your DM.

ImperialBlether Wed 25-Jul-12 13:32:48

Just thought. How do the grandchildren differ in terms of inheritance? I don't think your mum would have differentiated there, would she?

In any case, from what you say about the codicil it's pretty obvious she hasn't had anything to do with it.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Wed 25-Jul-12 14:05:20

Are you all in the UK? If so, I would speak to the police. Do you have a friendly lawyer (relative or family friend) who could maybe point you in the right direction if you don't like the police option.

This sounds very weird.

TheSilverPussycat Wed 25-Jul-12 18:20:39

Toughasoldboots is right about getting the will after probate - I did so while doing the forensic accounting for my divorce settlement. It's cheap, google how to do it.

And at one point I was afraid Ex had defrauded the estate of his DM, but this turned out not to be true, thank God.

I took the bank statements and deposited them with my solicitor, and had I not been able to trace the fishy account which prompted my suspicions, I would have gone to the police. Luckily, all was well, but Op's case does sound well dodgy.

And some solicitors can be tempted sad

ImperialBlether Wed 25-Jul-12 19:02:21

Trouble is, the money's passed to the brother by then, hasn't it? If he spends it quickly that might be too late.

TheSilverPussycat Wed 25-Jul-12 20:08:41

Still worth contacting the police, or perhaps a solicitor, for advice imho.

RandomMess Wed 25-Jul-12 20:15:29

Who is the executor of the will, I believe your fist port of call is to alert the executor to the fact that the will seems out of character, seems not to be the way your mother would have behaved if she was of "sound mind" and you are concerned that she was pressurised/tricked into signing it...

JustFabulous Wed 25-Jul-12 20:32:52

I really don't think it is £20,000 to contest a will.

If it helps, a relative made a new will literally days before they died and it was properly done, with the solicitor coming to the place (can't remember what it is called. It is where you go when there is no hope of survival), and it was witnessed, signed and stamped correctly.

Ambersivola Wed 25-Jul-12 20:33:37

Hi,

I haven't read all the replies, but one thing has occured to me. If your mother was not present when the codicil was witnessed and signed by the witnwsses then the codicil will be null and void. It should not cost a lot to get the soilcitor to investigate the witnesses. Indeed it may be something the Probate Registry would be interested in.

TheSilverPussycat Wed 25-Jul-12 20:34:23

I second RandomMess's advice - unless the brother and solicitor mentioned above are the executors...

VivaLeBeaver Wed 25-Jul-12 20:37:08

The problem is if the witnesses are friends of your brothers rather than genuine witnesses. They could be in on it and then I don't know how you'd prove it.

LaVitaBellissima Wed 25-Jul-12 20:40:15

Hope you get to the bottom of it all, you shouldn't feel guilty in any way to take this further.
Sorry for the loss of your mother thanks

HoleyGhost Wed 25-Jul-12 20:41:55

In a similar situation we consulted a lawyer. One letter led the guilty person to offer a settlement. We signed away our right to challenge the dodgy codicil in exchange for a fraction of what the deceased had wanted us to inherit.

We did not have the stomach to do battle in the courts. You don't either but your db does not know this.

Viviennemary Wed 25-Jul-12 20:48:24

It's difficult to understand why you couldn't see a copy of the will when you were named on it. This would ring alarm bells for me. Sounds really dodgy. I'd definitely challenge it by getting your own solicitor. I thought a codicil was only like an extra sentence or two as somebody else said. Not a change to the whole will. And who witnessed the codicil.

TheSilverPussycat Thu 26-Jul-12 10:21:04

The fact that your brother has cut contact is suspicious.

Wills can be varied after death - google deed of variation. (We did this with a great aunt's will),

Newbizmum Sat 28-Jul-12 21:16:45

Thanks again for the comments and kind words. Again, I'll try to cover the points raised.

The executors are my brother and his latest wife. The solicitors are a local firm who have been the ones to draw up all previous wills and codicils.

I obtained a copy of the will from the Probate Registry. Neither my brother nor the solicitor would give me a copy, citing a request made in this suspicious codicil, that I was not to be informed of the death of my mother until after the estate had been dealt with. This only arouses further suspicion.

In previous codicils, the witness signatures come immediately after the reason for the codicil and immediately after the signature of my mother. In this codicil, there are 3 pages. The first page contains a clause relating to a car, which is a fine use of a codicil and it has my mother's signature. The third page only has the signatures of the witnesses. It is on page 2 where the wholesale changes are made but it looks very suspicious that this page was added later. The pages are numbered sequentially but the typeface is different and the margins do not fit, making me think the page numbers were added later by running the original codicil and the 2nd page through a printer set up to only print the page numbers on a blank sheet. The numbering of the pages effectively shows that the suspect 2nd sheet was in fact there originally but not if the numbers were added later.

I do think my brother feels more of an entitlement for sure. Yet the locality works both ways through life, what with baby sitting on the doorstep for decades, picking up small cash handouts over the years, way more physical presents for all birthdays etc. I am farther away but hardly at the end of the earth.

I also thought I was entitled to a copy of the will by right but it appears that is not so. By making me a specific beneficiary and my children too, allocating absolute amounts rather than percentages, this means I have no right to a copy of the will nor a right as to the price at which assets are liquidated. Only a residuary beneficiary has those rights apparently, where their inheritance is a percentage and therefore the prices of everything affect the eventual payout. This would appear clever.

The comment on my mother not differentiating between grandchildren is a moot one as well. The wording used is "children of my daughter ..." rather than grandchildren, whereas the child of my brother was deeded worthy of the title grandchild. This is at odds with reality and smacks of being written by someone emotionally charged at having to include my children against their wishes perhaps. I do know my brother was jealous that others would share in the inheritance he once thought would solely be his.

As time passes and I digest the facts again and again, I am finding that the only explanation which makes sense is fraud but the real question is who drafted this codicil ? It is truly so badly that it could not be my mother, nor my brother either. It is almost as if written by someone only semi literate. It is my understanding that the witnesses are non skilled manual workers and whilst this does not mean their literacy is so poor as to fashion this codicil, they are the only ones "in the frame" so to speak. My brother faking it so poorly as to cast suspicion elsewhere could be an argument but is he that clever ? Perhaps.

What has come over me in these last few days is, for me, an irrational desire to punish anyone who has conspired to defraud my mother. I don't just want a deed of variation and the splitting of the assets more equally but rather I want punishment, even if that includes jail for my brother or his family. I could never forgive, never forget and what is broken cannot be mended. If he is seeking to commit a fraud to enrich himself, then I do want the police involved and I want him arrested and shamed.

Thanks for the link for the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. I do fear the cost of litigation because at an hourly rate in the mid £200s or nearly £300 when you add on VAT, costs reach enormous levels very quickly. Actually preparing for court is in the tens of thousands as you are instructing barristers and if you actually go to court, you are running perhaps £5000 plus a day. My figure of £20,000 was really a low ball estimate. Add together both sides and a court appearance and you will be well over £50,000, perhaps heading towards £100,000 if court time is lengthy and multiple witnesses are called. It is a truly serious and potentially life changing undertaking.

I am going to get this reviewed by a solicitor and see what advice I receive. Until then, I can do nothing and any actions I take may cause more harm than good. I'll report back afterwards. Thanks.

RandomMess Sat 28-Jul-12 21:22:05

urgh what a nightmare sad

I agree it's not about the money it's about defrauding what your Mum wanted, it's just awful.

whatinthewhatnow Sat 28-Jul-12 21:29:13

god OP this sounds a complete nightmare for you. Please do whatever you can to look into it. It does seem so unfair that because of vast expense you may be prevented from getting to the bottom of it. I hope your conversation with a solicitor is helpful. And sorry of course to you for the loss of your mum.

x

Viviennemary Sat 28-Jul-12 21:30:15

The thing is you are not just challenging the will which you think is unfair, but you are also worried that fraud or forgery has been committed. So would that not be different to just the challenging of the will.

FridayNightOlympicRing Sat 28-Jul-12 21:32:00

If I was in your position I'd rather see the money go to solicitors than stay with your brother, how awful for you to be facing this after the death of your mother. sad

The more you describe the codicil, the more it sounds like you have a good case though. Good luck with your solicitor.

HappyCamel Sat 28-Jul-12 21:33:00

Some solicitors will work on a no win, no fee or a fixed fee or capped fee basis.

TheSilverPussycat Sat 28-Jul-12 21:33:59

Is this not potential fraud/forgery and therefore a criminal matter, to be drawn to the attention of the police? Had my suspicions re my ex not been found to be wrong, that was going to be my next step.

PavlovtheCat Sat 28-Jul-12 21:35:29

I do think that, as you have suspicions this will has been fraudulantly gained, rather than your mother being coerced into it, you should have a conversation with the police and say everything you have said in here. or, if you are worried you won't be heard, write it all down in a letter and take it to them and ask to see someone get them to read it. While coercion is harder to prove, it would be much easier for the police to investigate and prove fraud, esp as they would look at previous wills and current codicils.

I am so sorry that in the midst of grief you are having to contend with a money grabbing bastard, which of course he is. As you mentioned, if this was your mother's wish for as long as you could remember, it would only seem right that he would say 'this seems odd, of course this should be 50/50 as that is what mother always wanted so that is how we will proceed'.

BlackSwan Sat 28-Jul-12 21:38:03

There are too many flags to ignore here. Your brother sounds like a thief. And the bastards left you such a small sum, they thought you wouldn't be able to finance a lawyer to challenge it. But do it.

BettySuarez Sat 28-Jul-12 21:38:28

Good grief op, sorry to sound flippant but this sounds like a case for Miss Marple. Everything that you have outlined sounds very suspicious indeed.

Good luck with your investigations and very sorry to hear about your DM sad

PavlovtheCat Sat 28-Jul-12 21:39:44

"Neither my brother nor the solicitor would give me a copy, citing a request made in this suspicious codicil, that I was not to be informed of the death of my mother until after the estate had been dealt with. This only arouses further suspicion" omg my alarm bells are ringing and I am feeling sick on your behalf sad this feels so wrong. why would that happen? why would your mum not want you to know about her death until the estate had been dealt with? that is the most bizarre request, without there being a huge and irreparable rift between child/mother, which you would then know about.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Sat 28-Jul-12 21:43:17

..the inheritance he once thought would solely be his

Why did your brother originally think that only he would receive any inheritance?

If you know this to be a fact, it does rather suggest that he has deliberately ensured that this remains the case.

DukeHumfrey Sat 28-Jul-12 21:44:35

I do not understand why you think it would cost so much to challenge. I would be highly surprised if it was sufficiently complex.

Are you afraid to challenge this "will" for some other reason? It looks almost as though you are looking for a reason not to do it.

I agree with everyone else: whole thing as described is very suspicious. You need to investigate to see if it truly is, or whether it's just some massive - if bizarre - misunderstanding.

cakeismysaviour Sat 28-Jul-12 21:45:07

How awful. sad

I think it is very suspicious indeed and I would try the police.

Have you mentioned in any of your messages to your brother that you are suspicious about it all, and are considering contacting police/lawyers?

TheSilverPussycat Sat 28-Jul-12 21:45:46

I don't think your desire for punishment justice is irrational, btw. Anger is good in this case.

maples Sat 28-Jul-12 21:46:38

You can often get a free first interview with a lawyer - see if a probate lawyer near you will do that.

LurkingAndLearningLovesCats Sat 28-Jul-12 21:46:43

It always breaks my heart when money comes between families to such an extent sad

Wishing you the best of luck OP...Though I don't know what solution is more hurtful! Either it's real (and I'd be gutted, feel so unloved) or your own brother treated his mother and sister this way for the almighty dollar.

sad I really feel for you.

nsjuly Sat 28-Jul-12 21:52:42

That is horrendous and definitely appears suspicious. I hope you get good legal advice and challenge it successfully. Horrible situation though.

I'm sorry for your loss.

CelstialNavigation Sat 28-Jul-12 21:56:09

"Neither my brother nor the solicitor would give me a copy, citing a request made in this suspicious codicil, that I was not to be informed of the death of my mother until after the estate had been dealt with."

The codicil says that you were not to be told that your mother had died, until the estate had been dealt with??

That is extremely strange in itself surely??

As you were in regular touch with your mother by phone how could the fact of her death be kept from you until after an estate had been dealt with??

fuckwittery Sat 28-Jul-12 21:58:41

I think that the OP is not misguided about the cost of litigation if it went to trial (lawyer here but not a probate lawyer), but it might be possible to have initial investigations that show a fraud at an early cost and it is worth speaking to a solicitor and getting an estimate for initial work to investigate.

GnomeDePlume Sat 28-Jul-12 22:56:29

Newbizmum, having read your posts a couple of thoughts spring to mind:

1. are you sure the estate is worth £300,000? Is it possible that it is worth more but that you are being given a lower figure?
2. is it possible that your DB has already mortgaged your DM's home and that this inheritance is needed to cover the loan?

When I read your posts the second point above kind of shouts out to me as I guess he would have means and oportunity and multiple marriages would suggest motive.. If that is the case then he has probably burned his way through the money, the cash you are being offered was what was in the bank accounts and therefore available.

If he has mortgaged your DM's house then you will have to decide whether you want to proceed.

DorisIsWaiting Sat 28-Jul-12 23:06:29

It may be worth [posting in legal matters to get recommendations on experts in this area.

It sounds highly suspect and possibly not legal as a codecil in the first place (placing of signatures etc).

Good luck I think you have VERY strong reasons for not giving up on this, If you don't want to feel mercenary for yourself investif=gate further for the sake of your children.... If it's all proved above board hmm then you can not say you did not try.

SofiaAmes Sun 29-Jul-12 00:55:20

Couldn't you make a complaint to the people who oversee solicitors in the uk. Try www.sra.org.uk where there seem to be lots of links.

TellyBug Sun 29-Jul-12 01:10:59

Any hint from your brother he'll just give you the rest so it does end up a 50% split?

fuckwittery Sun 29-Jul-12 07:11:54

Sofia, why would the OP complain to the SRA? I can't see anything in her posts blaming the solicitors. It is her brother who may have defrauded her. She later on explains that the codicil is worded in such a way that the solicitors were not obliged to give her a copy of the will. She also has no proof whatsoever that the solicitors are involved in anything and I very much doubt that they are.
What I would do, at no cost, is write to the solicitors involved, say that you are seriously concerned about the codicil now having seen it from the Probate Registry for reasons X Y Z - and that you will be consulting solicitors. Scare them a bit so they consider delaying the distribution of estate while you have some time to investigate.

fuckwittery Sun 29-Jul-12 07:12:55

Where abouts are you OP - may be able to suggest inheritance dispute lawyers - certainly can in London

maples Sun 29-Jul-12 07:39:50

If you want to check out who owns the house and whether there is a mortgage you can do it on the land registry website/phone line for around £4 iirc

blue2 Sun 29-Jul-12 07:53:29

NewBiz - I def smell a rat. If I read correctly, your brother has something to hide.
Go and see a solicitor and let him know that you are doing so. That might shake him up.
Good Luck

... and sorry about your DM.

SofiaAmes Sun 29-Jul-12 14:37:00

fw, someone has said that a codicil cannot significantly change the terms of a will. If the codicil that the solicitors have drawn up does just that and they are using wording of that same "invalid" codicil to prevent op from seeing codicil and receiving money, when in fact they shoudl know that it's invalid because it exceeds its purview, then they are in fact acting inappropriately and should be reported.

LoopyLoopsHasAnAdventure Sun 29-Jul-12 14:55:20

No, advice, just angry on your behalf and wishing you luck and courage. smile

edam Sun 29-Jul-12 15:05:57

All sounds extremely dodgy - why would a firm of solicitors prevent a beneficiary from receiving a copy of the will? That's not in their power, surely? The bit about not being informed of your Mother's death until her estate is distributed rings horribly of fraud - your brother wanted to make away with the money before you had any chance to say, hang on a second here...

DO consult a firm of solicitors who are specialists in probate law (if that's the right phrase, am not an expert) and get an initial opinion. Your brother may well be up to something very dodgy indeed - and your Mother's wishes should not be ignored.

RabidAnchovy Sun 29-Jul-12 15:10:52

It sound very underhand, I hope you get it looked at and dealt with.

Subarashii Sun 29-Jul-12 16:24:40

What a miserable situation sad

Take the whole lot to the police. Today. It sounds incredibly suspect and any delay while you mess about with solicitors could increase the chance of probate being granted and your brother making off with your mums money.

If you wish you could inform your brother that is what you are planning to do to give him a chance to do the right thing but it sounds from your latest post that you would want him to face the consequences anyway.

If the policed don't take it seriously then buy all means look into solicitors but in light of your,latest post I would gp to the police first.

Ponders Mon 30-Jul-12 12:46:38

document on probate fraud from STEP (Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners)

too wordy & techie for me but I hope someone here has the knowledge to dig out the relevant bits

but from the opening paras it sounds like a surprisingly widespread problem hmm

good luck, newbizmum - it's an awful thing to have done to you by your own brother

Ponders Mon 30-Jul-12 12:48:45

"a survey of STEP members in July 2005 showed that nearly half had come across cases of suspected fraud or theft from an estate"

shock angry

Rosa Mon 30-Jul-12 12:50:41

Don't leave it, it all sounds very dodgy , it sounds as if relations with your brother are strained anyway so you can't make thinks worse. I would seek legal advice...

SomethingSuitablyWitty Mon 30-Jul-12 13:04:56

THis is truly shocking. I wish you every success in your efforts to get to the bottom of this awful affair OP.

sad OP I hooe you can get this resolved. I agree with other posters that you must go to the police as it definitely sounds like fraud to me.

GnomeDePlume Mon 30-Jul-12 13:12:28

I had a read through the document linked to by Ponders. There are a number of types of fraud described but there were two which I thought might be particularly relevant to Newbizmum:

- Immediate post-death fraud where wills are suppressed or forged, codicils are forged or assets are removed or hidden
- Lifetime fraud where there is fraud in the preparation or completion of a will or abuse of power during the end of a persons life

Either or both of the above could apply in this case.

If we take Nebizmum's description of her brother and the situation as accurate then it would not have been beyond the wit of her brother to 'persuade' his mother to mortgage her property to his benefit. The will is then changed to ensure that assets go to the brother to pay off the mortgage.

The problem is that this could easily be the situation either with or without fraud having take place. Whether fraudulent or not I could easily imagine that the brother would want to conceal what he had done.

Longdistance Mon 30-Jul-12 13:48:05

Would a caveat put a stop to him doing anything?

Has your brother actually told his solicitor he has a sister. I know this sounds strange, but he could be trying to take over everything, and any money left on your dm bank account, he has given to you to keep you quiet.

Get some good legal representation asap, as I smell a rat on this one. Especially the codicil, especially the signatures on different pieces of paper confused

BobbiFleckman Mon 30-Jul-12 13:58:30

can you get your hands on the original codicil? there are SUPERB paper forensics people who can do an expert report for relatively little money who can tell an enormous amount about how a document has been produced - i have come across them professionally in a similar case where a document was cut & shut (like this one sounds it has been) but you do need the original.

advisemewisely Mon 10-Sep-12 17:59:58

have you had any further development on your situation?

SomethingSuitablyWitty Tue 11-Sep-12 15:07:49

I have been wondering about this too. Hope you have managed to move things forward OP

sashh Wed 12-Sep-12 11:58:32

You need to talk to a solicitor.

Check your house insurance, you might have legal cover that would cover a challange.

If you are sure this is a forgery / underhand / your brother changing things then get the police involved because it is fraud.

cornflowers Tue 30-Oct-12 19:46:16

Was this finally resolved? Sounds like an awful situation to be in.

Newbizmum Sat 01-Dec-12 02:47:42

Many thanks for all the comments and messages of support. I value the heartfelt kindness very much. I am able to give an update now.

I have good legal representation though it is horrendously expensive. However, there is no option else I could not explain to my children why their grandparents left them nothing and more importantly, why I never challenged what I knew to be wrong.

Having reviewed the original documentation at the Probate Office and not just poorly made photocopies, it is clear to me that additions have been made. I won't go into too much detail but suffice to say that the next step is to enlist the services of a forensic document examiner. If anyone knows of a truly good one with gravitas I would love to receive a recommendation. If they are cheap or flexible on terms then even better smile

However, I am minded to involve the police now. If alterations have been made, then that is fraud and fraud is a criminal offence. I know the repercussions of such action or at least I believe I do but someone close to me has stolen the future away from my children and I don't even think a simple financial settlement will suffice.

I want this plastered all over the front page of the newspaper to warn off other would be fraudsters when they see the prison sentence handed out to my brother in this case. If he has spent the money the solicitor has now distributed, then I want his house sold if need be. I don't care any more; he lost the right to be pitied when he sought to steal from my family.

I know this is not a nice feeling to have but I cannot see past retribution as I swallow the financial burden of righting a wrong. This will not defeat me, even if it defeats the guilty.

3bunnies Sat 01-Dec-12 03:23:46

I would speak to the police. We are unfortunately having to involve them (completely unrelated incident - but also defrauding) and they have been great. I would also PM BobbiFleckman who posted on this page, she sounds as if she might have some contacts. I read your post a while ago, so pleased that you are making progress, but so sad that your bro could do that to you.

3bunnies Sat 01-Dec-12 03:25:38

Maybe ask for your post to be moved to legal where there will be more relevant passing traffic.

SavoyCabbage Sat 01-Dec-12 05:32:22

I'm glad you are pursuing this Newbiz, it must be very difficult for you.

Newbizmum Sat 15-Dec-12 02:28:46

Not sure how to ask for something to be moved, if it should be. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable could help me on this one.

Each time we take a turn it looks more and more as though something is wrong with the documentation. I am more certain than ever that my kids should be lawyers what with the massive fees being racked up.

Slainte Sat 15-Dec-12 03:47:25

Click on the Report button and you can explain to MNHQ why you want the post deleted. Good luck.

LoopsInHoops Sat 15-Dec-12 04:07:30

Still keeping my fingers crossed for you smile

stella1w Sat 15-Dec-12 04:49:59

If you go to the police perhaps they will have expoerts to examine the documetns?

Valdeeves Sat 29-Dec-12 10:04:51

I've seen similar and the truth was an aunt put pressure on an elderley mother to ensure one child was written out of the will. Your brother has done this in my opinion - I agree with the debts theory etc - you must act in some way if only into scaring him into giving him your share.

HecateQueenofWitches Sat 29-Dec-12 10:10:10

If you are challenging this, doesn't the estate get frozen until it's sorted?

So you can stop him taking any money if you act quickly. Otherwise, he's got it and you've got less chance of doing anything.

So if you haven't already made it official with probate then do so asap.

I am not a solicitor, so don't know the legal ins and outs but I am fairly sure that the whole lot can be frozen while things like this are sorted out.

Keep going newbiz, your brother will not have expected you to challenge. I know it's expensive but it's worth it - he can't screw you over like this.

BettySuarez Sat 29-Dec-12 10:21:21

Thanks for posting, I had read the thread when you posted earlier in the year and wondered whether things had been resolved. Good luck to you OP smile

insanityscratching Sat 29-Dec-12 10:53:50

Dh's dsis challenged her father's will because she was unhappy that he had left an equal share to dh and our dc as well as to her and her dc. Her reasoning being that dh and his father had had a rocky relationship in his teens (before we met) and she believed that dh had coerced his father to changing this. Dh was early forties by the time his father passed and he had a close and loving relationship with dh and his dgc at the time of his death but dsil couldn't see past her knowledge of ds as a teen (typical teenage shenanigans nothing unlawful) Of course it was all lawful and dfil had had a new will made on dmil's death (who incidentally would have left nothing to dsil) but she couldn't help feeling she had been done out of money. I wonder whether OP's db felt similarly deluded and decided to take matters into his own hands as I suspect dsil might have done had she been aware of the will's contents prior to dfil's death.

aufaniae Sat 29-Dec-12 11:43:00

I think you're absolutely right to go to the police.

Why should you fork out £££££ to investigate something, when it looks very likely a crime has been committed?

I agree you should act quickly, before he spends / hides the money.

ChristmasIsForPlutocrats Wed 02-Jan-13 10:38:24

I read this when you first posted, and am glad that you now have enough to support your suspicions, not because I am glad that you have been defrauded, but because you are no longer frustrated and doubting yourself. I hope the New Year brings some resolution for you.

Great idea from Hecate, about applying to have the estate frozen while this is investigated.

whatatwat Thu 03-Jan-13 15:46:47

any new development?

Newbizmum Thu 03-Jan-13 18:32:56

Thanks again for all the great wishes and support, it is really comforting.

I can't stop the estate being distributed as it already has been. However, the suspicious additions to the codicil actually include a clause to not inform me, which is completely self serving. However, we have asked them to put all distributions into an account to be administered by the court and have given them 14 days to comply.

I want to develop an argument against his solicitor as well. Apparently they had paperwork from my mother where she asked for me to be contacted and where she clarified her original will was valid and that she had no intention to change it ! Their actions now look at best incompetent and at worst downright suspicious. Perhaps time for their insurers to be put on notice.

As to the police, I agree with others that fraud is a crime and as such, investigation is a job for the police. However, there are complications using this route. Firstly, the police seem to like to follow civil proceedings rather than be pro active. Of course, that makes their life easy but I am trying to find someone in the police who might be on my side so to speak. The other thing is that once you give it over to the police, you lose control. Any evidence they obtain may not be made available to you and if their investigation or prosecution fails, you are in OJ Simpson land, knowing they are guilty but having to overturn a criminal acquittal in a civil court. You also lose the threat of involving the police, which is where I think we go next.

I tend to think that shortly we'll have enough to hang them but whether we can afford to proceed I do not know. We will find enough eventually but it will be hard. I just hope that even if he has been terribly stupid, the prospect of an exit route will bring him to his senses, though I feel he may dig his heels in and see the whole estate squandered rather than split fairly. I am trying to find a legal argument to stop that happening but ....

As ever, all comments welcome. I did message someone but if people can help with external resources, such as forensic specialists then do just post up or send me a message.

Thanks

poshfrock Thu 03-Jan-13 18:43:00

You need a solicitor specialising in contentious probate. It sounds very likely that the codicil is not valid on any one of a number of grounds - undue influence, lack of testamentary capacity or improper execution to name but three.
If you are in the Lincs/Notts/South Yorks area I can put you in touch with at least 3 solicitors who deal in this type of work.

poshfrock Thu 03-Jan-13 18:47:21

By the way the executors cannot distribute the estate until 6 months after the grant of probate to allow time for any claims to be made against the estate. F they do distribute and your claim is successful then the executors are liable to reimburse you personally.

StrawberryMojito Thu 03-Jan-13 18:53:23

You make good points about the disadvantages of using the police, particularly as you have already instigated civil proceedings. However, I would recommend ringing you local police force non emergency number during office hours and asking to be put through to their economic crime unit (or equivalent) and sounding them out about it. If the will has been changed without your mothers consent it is obviously fraud but they should be able to guide you about how their investigation would run alongside your current proceedings.

StrawberryMojito Thu 03-Jan-13 18:55:13

The point that I'm not sure I made was if you spoke to them in this way, you may be able to receive advice from the police without having to officially report it. You can then decide how you want to play it.

Pancakeflipper Thu 03-Jan-13 18:55:39

I cannot help but I remember you posting this and wondered if anything had happened.
Good luck and keep on pushing this as it's so wrong.

FarrahFawcettsFlick Sat 05-Jan-13 22:34:41

www.lawsociety.org.uk/

If you give them a call, they will be able to give you your nearest specialist. Scotland has their own society if you google.

FarrahFawcettsFlick Sun 06-Jan-13 10:06:24

Another thought, apologies if you've already done this. If you write to the Law Society explaining the main points of the case and that you think the solicitor is either inept or in collusion with your brother. The Law Society may themselves investigate.

All solicitors have to pay a fee (Eng & Wales) to be a member. If a member is found guilty of a criminal act ie fraud then the Law Society will compensate you.

raisah Sat 23-Feb-13 04:46:20

Yes I would agree with Imperial & get the police involved. Lots of facts don't add up & now your brothet isn't responding to your calls. Very suspicious. You mentioned that he is multi divorced so should have a high ex spouse & child maintenance bill. That would be a reason for him to alter the will in his favour, take legal advice & speak to the police.

noclue2000 Fri 05-Apr-13 15:55:03

Any news op?

nicki1978 Mon 06-May-13 19:19:45

Hi op, just seen your thread and read it all. I am absolutely devistated for you. Just wondering how you got on? Xx

SybilRamkin Thu 06-Jun-13 11:10:46

Yes, I was wondering too, I hope you managed to get the will declared invalid?

NatashaBee Thu 06-Jun-13 11:15:43

Wow OP, I was thinking about this thread the other day and wondering what happened. I hope you get it resolved.

sparetickets Wed 03-Jul-13 18:35:13

Hope there is resolution for you now OP? Best wishes

stuart1956 Thu 07-Nov-13 16:51:40

Same thing has happened to me, my brother has managed to persuade my late Mother to change her Will so he got the lot, he did not even contact me to tell me she had died or invited me to her funeral!!! He is married to moderately wealthy woman and they have a very nice house on the Isle of Wight another in France, three very expensive cars and holiday in Morocco for a month every year. Now he is £325,000 richer he can do more of what he wants, mean while I will to continue to live on my State Benefit of £106:32 per week as for the last 11 years I have devoted my life to being a full-time Live-in Carer to a disabled young man who suffers from Epilepsy, learning difficulties, behaviour problems and is Autistic. I believe in 'Karma' & I hope it comes very soon & bites my brother on the bum.

Newbizmum Sat 09-Nov-13 10:57:19

I thought it was about time I gave an update.

It hasn't been easy. I have a great solicitor who is an acknowledged expert in the field of contentious litigation and who has specialised in probate fraud, with a history of success in that discipline. However, such expertise doesn't come cheap.

We now have expert forensic analysis of the original will and codicils underway and this should drive out future actions. If, as I suspect, analysis comes back supporting a case of fraud, I will be forced to make a very difficult decision.

Counsel's opinion is a good few thousand pounds, then issuing summons and preparing for court, even without thinking about the horrific costs at court, will run way past £10k and likely double that. Court itself would add perhaps £50k.

Of course we also have to consider the police. Lock him up and throw away the key springs to mind but even as he showed no compassion, I feel I must, though I am often challenged as to why. Yet as the days pass, I harden to the thought of simply throwing the book at him.

I hope to have reports this side of Christmas and then if they are positive, I will feel though at least there might be something to look forward to in 2014.

Many thanks for all the kind thoughts.

nbee84 Sun 10-Nov-13 21:47:27

So glad you came back with a update Newbiz - I've had this thread in my 'threads I'm watching' list all this time.

How are you funding things? Have they 'frozen' your mother's assets or does your brother have his fraudulently obtained share?

I do hope that it all works out for you and your family.

amistillsexy Sun 10-Nov-13 22:00:25

Thanks for coming back and updating Newbiz. I remember reading your OP when you started t last year. I can't believe this is taking so long! You poor thing. I just hope it all goes well for you . (sorry, no advice to offer, except to advise anyone who is able, to study Law and rake it in grin)

thenicknameiwantedisgone Sun 10-Nov-13 22:04:11

Wow, I have just seen all of this thread. I do hope you get justice.

My parents once asked me to take full inheritance and distribute half to my (elder but financially rubbish) sister when I saw fit. I said no way due to the family rift that would cause, even though I genuinely would have given her half. Defrauding your siblings is just unthinkable

Good luck.

MoldieOldNaiceHam Sun 10-Nov-13 22:05:50

I've been following this. I think from what you've posted getting truth and justice is more important than the money now isn't it?

Even if there was not a penny left after the court costs I suspect it would be worth it.

ashtrayheart Sun 29-Dec-13 20:02:02

Just found this in my watched threads, did you get an outcome op?

tribpot Sun 29-Dec-13 20:15:27

A friend of my mum's is going through something similar. I say 'is' - the case has been running for 19 years shock. This was a sizeable estate but I don't think there can be anything left in it now.

Hope you will soon be in possession of enough information and evidence to make a decision about your next step, OP.

ijustwantnicehair Fri 03-Jan-14 19:16:00

I've had direct experience of this in my family - it's a major kick in the teeth even when very small sums are involve and especially as obviously the person who knows the answer isn't alive to provide answers!!

walksandra Sun 05-Jan-14 23:27:24

I was widowed when I was 28 and got married again.
My first husband was an only child and we had a daughter from that marriage.
I married again and the in laws left their estate for the benefit of my daughter ( their granddaughter ).
Their relatives tried to obtain the money from the estate by saying blood relatives take priority.
They would not take an answer their granddaughter was a blood relative.
Also myself and my second husband did most of the caring in their later years and in all fairness their granddaughter did a lot for them.
The other blood relatives did not even visit them.

Sandra

gosh. this is on my watch list and cant believe the saga continues. goodluck. hope you get your justice

Viviennemary Sat 25-Jan-14 14:14:59

The only way forward is to consult a solicitor and tell him of your worries that the codicil is not genuine. I think the fact that everything changed a couple of months ago is very suspicious sounding. I think the time for niceties with your brother is over.

VivaLeBeaver Sat 25-Jan-14 14:22:25

Newbiz, just seen your update and can't believe this is still ongoing. Well done for challenging it though.

You say it could easily cost 50k, can I ask what happens if you're not successful? Do you have to find 50k?

The saddest thing is finding out your brother isn't who you thought he was.

PortofinoRevisited Sat 25-Jan-14 14:35:23

Why would you spend all this money without going to the Police, OP? This reminds me of another thread where relatives tried to steal someone's inheritance? It was well dodgy. I shall try to find a link.....

StillNoFuckingEyeDeer Sun 09-Feb-14 18:50:39

Any further update?

Newbizmum Fri 21-Feb-14 21:58:43

Hello again, thanks for the well wishes and supportive comments. I'll update as I can and try to answer the questions posed.

We finally have preliminary reports in. Though all reports suggest alternative hypothesis, the strong belief of the forensic team is that there are inconsistencies with the suspect codicil in a number of areas, most of which support what I suspected had been done to doctor it after the event. The final reports should be in around the end of this month. I must then reassess.

Q&A

Funding - self funded unfortunately - no assets frozen - potential collusion from the sibling's solicitor (a whole new can of worms) - yes, if it cost £50k and I lost, I would have to pay that plus potentially a percentage of the other party's costs.

Police - what a joke ! Do you know how you report fraud in 2014 ? You have to do it online. No going down to the police station with your evidence, nope, online and some "pleb" decides if and potentially what action to take.

In cases where there is a civil case outstanding, plod are reluctant to move as the civil case covers most of the legwork they would have to do in any case and no, you can't piggy back on their efforts - tried that one !

Essentially, win your civil case or achieve settlement and then they might intervene but unlikely if you settle. There is another way but I won't publicise it just yet - something of a nuclear option.

The way ahead is more of the same I'm afraid. Decisions on next steps are down to finances but I am looking at insurance, given the potentially damning experts reports. Barrister's opinion around £5k, setting down for trial perhaps another £5k, evidence gathering, interviews, all requiring lawyers to travel and overnight, perhaps another £10/20k and then at trial another £10k plus per day.

Lots of potential opportunity to mitigate and reach agreement which is heavily pushed by the court (and quite rightly given the huge expense otherwise), but when one party has committed fraud, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years but which would likely be 24 months or less, any movement to settle is difficult because it is tantamount to an admission that they did indeed commit fraud.

So all in all, positive news. No response to recent communication from the other side. When reports in, we'll push ahead with one option or another. What is certain is that I will not give up, whatever it takes.

Thanks again for the fabulous support.

I haven't seen your thread before Newbizmum. I really admire your determination in the face of such a horrible situation. The codicil you describe reminded me so much of the fraud awareness training I did a few years ago.

Good luck Newbizmum, what a horrendous thing to have to go through but well done for not letting him get away with it.

MerryBuddha Sat 22-Feb-14 08:29:39

OMG NewBizMum, well done you, your determination is inspiring. Wishing you luck.

Slainte Sat 22-Feb-14 08:39:17

Delurking to show support to you OP. I remember this thread from when it was initially posted and think of your case from time to time, hoping for the right outcome for you.

Stropzilla Sat 22-Feb-14 08:43:54

How awful for you. Good luck.

incogKNEEto Sat 22-Feb-14 10:01:21

I remember your thread from when you initially posted too op, good luck. It sounds like the preliminary reports back up what you think has happened, I really hope that you can reach some resolution with it. Still can't get over what your brother has done, awful thing to do to your family sadangry

RandomMess Sat 22-Feb-14 10:04:19

I found out recently that anyone can appeal a will (even one without suspected fraud) and most of the time the courts will modify it!!!

Longdistance Sat 22-Feb-14 10:11:28

I remember your thread.

Have you gone down the fraud route? Have you reported it as such, so maybe your db ends up in the clink gets in trouble.

Quinteszilla Sat 22-Feb-14 10:17:57

Goodness.

If the new will was real, any reasonable sibling would look at it and think "hey, mum was not of sound mind, this is not fair, it should be equal" and make it so.

Good luck!

BakerStreetSaxRift Sat 01-Mar-14 11:56:51

I remember your thread too OP, probably posted under a different name.

Pleased to see you are getting somewhere with it now. Even if it costs you as much as you would get, it's almost worth it on principle, not to let him away with it.

Does your brother know what is happening?

riskit4abiskit Sun 02-Mar-14 14:58:54

Have just read the whole thread. Your brother sounds despicable. I admire your determination and wish you luck

Laymizzrarb Fri 14-Mar-14 16:45:01

I have just read your story. I wish you all the luck, and hope justice prevails, for you and your Mum.

SybilRamkin Fri 28-Mar-14 19:03:24

How's it going OP? Any news?

Newbizmum Sun 13-Apr-14 00:16:28

Hi again,

Well, after a hiatus of sorts with lots of going back and forth, we have the final report.

Without going into too much detail, it should put the fear of god into those reading it but to close out this part of the evidence, we are going to take another expert's advice. Why ? well, there are only so many top level experts in this field and two reports are far better than one. It also means the experts we have engaged would not be able to act for the defence. A bit like a football team buying a player not necessarily because they need him but because they don't want anyone else to have him. Sort of like that in any case.

So roll on summer and with it perhaps a proposition. With two expert reports, masses of incriminating evidence and the flimsiest of a potential defence, we should be in a position to enter the final chapters, if not quite the final chapter.

At the moment, I am trying to get every bank in the country to open up their books or state categorically that they never held an account in my mother's name. After this, we will consider whether to sue not only the brother but also the solicitor who acted for him. It is likely at this point that we will also involve the police and formally register a fraud.

Costs continue to accrue. At this time, we are past the point of no return in many respects. Having put so much into it, at such great financial and emotional cost, I cannot let it go without a conclusion.

Thanks again for the continued support and best wishes. You don't know how much I value that some nights when feeling blue.

EverythingCounts Sun 13-Apr-14 00:30:13

Good grief. Put your head down and keep going and hopefully it will all be put to rights in the summer. No decent brother would act this way, sadly, and his actions have caused it all. Sad but I think you are doing the right thing.

piscivorous Sun 13-Apr-14 00:37:34

Just wanted to send you some support Newbiz This must be so hard for you but you have right on your side. Keep going. I hope you get things sorted properly and your brother gets his just desserts

Pancakeflipper Sun 13-Apr-14 00:40:35

Keep on going. I wish you all the best.

Doristhecamel Sun 13-Apr-14 00:42:54

Just wanted to add my support to you.
This must have been a horrendous ordeal for you and I admire your strength and perseverence.
I wish you the very best of luck and really hope you get the conclusion that you want and deserve.

trixymalixy Sun 13-Apr-14 00:51:17

Good luck. Sorry you're having to go through all of this sad

BillyBanter Sun 13-Apr-14 01:12:38

Just seen this thread for the first time.

Does your brother know you are investigating?

Good luck.

Cerisier Sun 13-Apr-14 04:09:26

I have just read your story Newbizmum- what a nightmare. Thinking of you and wishing you luck.

Pennies Tue 15-Apr-14 15:09:40

Blimey Newbizmum - well done for going for it. What a terrible thing to happen. Shame on your brother.

tribpot Tue 15-Apr-14 17:45:19

Keep going, Newbiz. I'm assuming at some point soon there will be nothing left but at least you will have the truth.

riskit4abiskit Mon 21-Apr-14 17:35:38

Keep going the truth is out there!

Good luck Newbiz
often think of you

Toohonourable Wed 07-May-14 22:26:01

Sorry about nickname. It is in rage on behalf of Newbizmum who is obviously a decent honourable person.

I have also been, decent ,honest and getting on with life and as a result never saw this coming -my brother and his wife has managed to prevent me and my other brother from visiting her care home on protection grounds! The reason is that because despite every attempt to distress her and defame us she still has enough capacity to be overjoyed when she sees us. So that is now prevented. We cannot clear our names as Social Services seems to support anyone with POA without any evidence for their accusations! I am haunted by not being allowed to see her as we were always such close friends.

He deceived her into giving Power of Attorney some time ago without us realising but now seems therefore to have total control. I have worked out some of how they managed to create this situation but it is so long term, devious and heinous that it cannot be published on here as there is nothing in place to prevent the unscrupulous from copying it.

I am also really struggling in the middle of an injustice and your very sensitive account Newbizmum has enraged and saddened me. More than that though, I am encouraged that because of you and your supporters I am reassured that there are still other decent people out there. The psychological damage does the most harm. Such behaviour is deeply shocking, literally.

You are obviously an honest person and may have thought that the truth will triumph. It seems the authorities are not interested in anything short of a clearly proveable crime. Every success we may make reveals failings on someone's part which then gives them a personal interest in preventing our success. eg your brother's solicitor and my local social services.

Anyway Newbizmum you are a star and, however this turns out, your children are very lucky because they live with someone of courage and principal. Look after your health and let us all know how you are getting on.

mrsbrownsgirls Wed 07-May-14 22:32:44

OP why are the legal costs so high?

UncleT Thu 15-May-14 03:09:29

Very best of luck to you - I hope that the truth wins out.

Toohonourable Thu 15-May-14 12:13:38

Sorry.......My post does not make sense because I forgot to mention that it is my 93 year old mother who has fallen under abusive control. She was a very honourable, well educated woman however her failing memory has enabled my elder brother and his wife to disregard her personality. POA is meant to support the donor's needs when they become vulnerable. It is far too easy to become the reverse and in the wrong hands becomes a terrible and tyrannical abuse.

The reason I relate this to Newbizmum's case, is that I deduce that her will must have been altered; yet my mother still has a remarkable awareness despite her failing memory. I am deeply ashamed of my elder brother for being so utterly callous and preventing visits from two of her three children when it makes her so happy. It is ironic that a few years ago that he tried to leave his wife and are now bonded by avarice.

My mother, other brother, myself and other family members are deeply distressed. The betrayal of a close family couple who have had lifelong kindness and support from all three of us is like a living nightmare. I wish I could wake up and find that it is not real.

docket Thu 15-May-14 12:15:58

Best wishes to you OP, what a horrible situation you are in. I hope it ends as well as it possibly can for you.

fukkigucci Wed 18-Jun-14 03:02:25

Hi Newbizmum,

I'm just wondering how you're doing.
Well done for pursuing this.
Similar has happened in my family, and it still makes me furious.

Wishing you luck

Cosima3 Sat 02-Aug-14 14:19:21

Hi newbiz, I wonder if you got all this sorted out in the end.
I'm going through a similar saga. I can now see that my siblings had acted rather too interested in my dad's 'welfare' once they knew he had a terminal illness.

I suspect large amounts of cash and bank account money has been taken and not declared for probate.

I lived with my dad during 2007-09 and saw him regularly until 2011. He had talked to me about what he wanted to do with his estate, and mentioned he had a number of bank accounts. He always had large amounts of cash at home too.

My siblings behaviour, from forcing dad into a care home under threat and being so very busy busy busy fussing over him and visiting everyday and being there everytime I visited struck me as odd, seeing as they had declared how much they hated him, and he even knew this himself.

When he died in 2013 they were aggressive towards me, I suspect with the intention of scaring me off making any enquiries.

Nonetheless I AM making enquiries and seeking advice on how to find out about dad's accounts in the months leading up to his death.

Not because I'm money-grabbing.....rather I want to just let them know that I'm aware of their shenanigans and am no longer the 'stupid' sister they bullied in childhood.

hellymelly Sat 02-Aug-14 14:49:09

Maybe someone will buy the film rights of your story! I felt from the off that your brother had acted fraudulently, nothing added up about the codicil, and it seemed extremely suspicious. I am so glad for you that you are on the way to resolution, I wish you the best of luck, as it must have been a horrendous shock to look at the will and think that your brother would defraud you. However, I do think that is a less painful option than that your DM would have treated you so shabbily, so I hope there is some small comfort in that. So sorry you are going through this.

WhatsGoingOnEh Mon 04-Aug-14 20:03:11

I realise these things take time to pursue, but two years? Surely all the money is long gone by now?

OP I do wish you luck but would beg you to get a move on!

Viviennemary Mon 04-Aug-14 20:09:17

I think you should challenge it by getting your own solicitor. It sounds as if it could very well be dodgy. Very odd the solicitor being reluctant to let you see a copy of the will. Is your brother in lots of debt.

RustyParker Mon 04-Aug-14 21:23:48

I'm shocked at the statistic quoted up thread about the amount of proven fraud in relation to wills. Horrible what money does to some people and what they are prepared to do to family members to increase their share.

I think you are right op, it's the principle of your mother's memory and wishes being followed through which is most important. I have suffered a close bereavement at the end of last year and the money isn't important to me, I just want what my DSis wanted to happen with her money, for her memory. Whatever happens, you can hold your head up high and did the right thing for your Mum and your DC.

The expert reports sound promising and I hope it puts the shits up your brother.

riskit4abiskit Wed 06-Aug-14 11:52:35

I was wondering about you op, any news?

ChaffinchOfDoom Wed 06-Aug-14 12:07:19

read thread with horror. hope you're ok OP

Newbizmum Sat 06-Sep-14 12:36:50

Back again and humbled by the masses of supporting comments. Thank you all so much.

To cover a little ground for those asking questions.

I do have a solicitor, barrister, experts, investigators etc. which is why the bills are so high. I have however managed to mitigate these wherever possible with my taking on work, doing my own investigations, letter writing, pushing for documents etc. Without that mitigation, we would never have been able to come so far.

Why has it taken so long ? Well, to reduce costs somewhat really.

Is it too late / will all the money have gone ? The fraud and deceit from the outset meant that we'd be fighting an uphill battle but he is not going to just squander it, so even if it has been consumed by the family home, we'll simply have to take that at the end of the day.

We have suggested mediation, which has been rejected. At least the judge will see we tried.

So off to court we go. I'm wholly confident but I suspect the end result could be financially devastating for my brother. The costs once you hit court can run £50,000 plus per day.

One point upon which I have become absolutely resolute, where my feelings have previously swayed one way and then another, is that at the end of all this, I am not prepared to forget, in now way will I ever forgive and if it takes to my last breath, I will have him locked up for this. I want him prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, to have him publicly shamed and to hell with the consequences because he certainly never considered me or my children.

TypicaLibra Sat 06-Sep-14 12:42:57

Wow Newbizmum, thanks for updating. This is the only thread in my 'threads I'm watching' list ... and for some reason I thought about it yesterday and checked it. Then by coincidence you updated today! I wish you lots of strength and the best of luck going forward. You are absolutely doing the right thing. I really admire your resoluteness.

Brilliant!
I think about you often. Stay strong!

plumnc Sat 06-Sep-14 15:32:37

Delurking, to say good luck and hang in there flowers

ScarlettSahara Sun 07-Sep-14 22:19:11

Hi New Biz,
I don't have anything useful to add really. Just been watching and hoping you could reach resolution. Similar happened to me but not as bad. Will not forged. Money shared equally but chattels were supposed to be shared but 1 sibling (of 3) had emptied all valuable items and claimed they had been gifted and were no longer part of estate.
Anyway wondered if you can cover any of your court costs through house insurance? A friend managed to cover employment dispute costs this way.
Please persevere and do not settle for shabby treatment. I think it is the betrayal that feels worse. Do not lose heart.thanks

tribpot Sun 07-Sep-14 22:32:23

Keep going, newbizmum. What a truly dreadful situation.

tobiasfunke Mon 08-Sep-14 11:54:22

Ye gods I remember this thread when you first started it. It struck a chord with me as my uncle attempted to trick my GM into signing a POA (he was a solicitor). Luckily she realised something was up and got her solictor to cancel it and drew up another one in favour of 2 of her other children. He cotinued to hector her for years after. This could well have been us.
I hope it all works out for you in the end- it sounds very promising. Your brother is a piece of work.

brainfidget Thu 11-Sep-14 13:00:19

Just read this entire thread, and shocked and saddened that you have had to go through this. I have considerable empathy as someone attempted to defraud my (relatively young, and single) brother's estate when he died nearly 10 years ago. They also used forged documents, (though not a codicil); and a tissue of lies and fabrications, with collusion from neighbours. While our situation was quite different (intestate), it was also similar in some ways.

Legal work is not cheap, and like you, we also relied on our own abilities to reduce costs and case-build where possible.

The costs hurt, but the pain of not being able to grieve in a simple manner for someone you loved without all the stress of the legal mess always taking over your thoughts, is terrible. You get used to it being there all the time, it's so pervasive.

I wish you good lawyers, continued strength, and a successful outcome, so that you can move on with your life when the time comes.

Best, best of luck. And yeah, agreed, the police are useless in these types of scenarios.

ColdCottage Mon 15-Sep-14 20:54:52

Half way through reading but have to go for now. Just want to wish you luck in gaining justice.

nettehere Thu 02-Oct-14 12:06:12

Hi I am new to this site, but my brother has also forged my moms will, how di you get the original will released from probate, i am struggling to get it as he has made himself the executor of the new will,help

Beastofburden Thu 02-Oct-14 12:14:31

wow. so strange that there isnt a national registration system for wills, where any changes get doublechecked.

nettehere Thu 02-Oct-14 12:18:16

whats worse it that the police say we both have witnesses we have to discredit witnesses as well

nettehere Thu 02-Oct-14 12:20:03

newbizmum i wonder how did you get hold of the original will, my brother wont sign a consent form to release it, i am not sure what the next step is, i would like to get the nurses to confirm they didnt go on the ward during their shifts

ChaffinchOfMegalolz Thu 02-Oct-14 20:40:42

think you need a solicitor? or advice from CAB?

god these rotten thieving siblings, unbelievable.

nettehere Fri 03-Oct-14 09:01:57

Hi I have a solicitor, police wont get original documents as they havent got funding and frightened of getting into trouble, i need to go to court to get the original documents released to sent them to a hand writing expert just to prove to police (and do their job for them ) before they will take the crime seriously, makes you feel like giving up but why should i it is fraud

AndIFeedEmGunpowder Fri 03-Oct-14 09:22:34

Goodness. Really hope you gain some resolution OP. What a horrible situation to be in.

nettehere Fri 03-Oct-14 09:36:33

yes and its not the first time he has done it, but he plans so far ahead, they think he is such a lovely man who has cared for my mom for 10 years or more, when in fact he convinced her that we-me and my other brother didnt want her in our lives and then moved her up north we didnt see her again until she was ill, he had poisoned her mind, she was dependent on him and very vunerable, he should pay for what he has done.

tribpot Wed 15-Oct-14 12:11:44

You probably need your own thread to discuss this, nettehere. If you post in Legal Matters someone should be able to advise.

Newbizmum, sorry to hear that your long battle goes on. Still hoping you will get a resolution at some point.

KrevlornswathoftheDeathwokClan Tue 28-Oct-14 20:07:51

Hope court goes well for you.

workalot55 Sun 02-Nov-14 19:00:40

Hi Newbizmum,

I have read your posts about the inheritance situation. I hope all goes well for you in court.

workalot55 Sun 02-Nov-14 19:05:53

Hi Newbizmum,

I have read your posts about the inheritance situation. I hope all goes well for you in court. Wish there was a cheaper and less stressful way to sort all this sort of thing out. If the law was changed so that estates were shared out equally amongst siblings, it would help.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 02-Nov-14 19:20:44

You just wouldn't think your own sibling would do such a thing to you. How awful.

Sadly dh had similar where an aunt did him and his sister out of 20k from a will. She happily did that to her brothers children. We'd have struggled to prove that she took the money before the estate was split so we never took it any further. We obviously have nothing to do with her now.

rubyflipper Sun 02-Nov-14 19:23:44

I wish you all the luck in the world and that justice prevails.

You can't believe how wicked people can be when it comes to inheritances.

workalot55 Sun 02-Nov-14 23:46:35

Its so bad, going through it myself at the moment and really for last two years. Its like a living nightmare just now. Don't know how siblings can do this. Cant wait for the day I feel normal again. Lost a stone in weight through stress-just couldn't eat. Wake in the night with the most horrific feeling. Feel obsessed about it when I'm not at work but don't want to upset my children by talking about it too much. Just spotted mumsnet and thought this might help. Any advice from anyone who has been through it and got over it and now happy again?

holeinmyheart Mon 03-Nov-14 11:38:47

What a bugger having money can be. My sister and her husband removed £20000 from my Dads account about three months before he died. My brother managed to get the accounts from his bank as we were all executors. He discovered what they had done and asked them for an explanation but there was non forthcoming.
Now my brother and I are non contact with her. It is extremely sad when siblings put money before a relationship.
I hope the OP in this case gets justice!

vdbfamily Mon 03-Nov-14 12:03:56

Unless I have missed it,you do not say what your relationship with your mum was like. My husband has been informed that he has been written out of his parents will so we have no expectations,but it is not unknown for parents to adjust their wills to 'punish' a child that they perceive has upset them in some way. Were you and your mum always close and had there been any breakdown in that relationship in recent years? However,whatever your reply to that,it still all sounds very suspicious!

vdbfamily Mon 03-Nov-14 12:08:20

sorry...had missed some of the thread and now understand that she had been moved to be closer to brother and you had less contact.

How awful, well done you for taking it all the way - you are so brave. smile

If court costs run into 50k a day you won't have to pay them out the house sale will you? Will you get all your costs back?

I think what is so important here isn't just the money but also that your mum didn't favour him - I really hope you feel good about that as well as obviousky very sad that your brother is such an awful human being.

Now that he's been proven to be a liar there can't be anyone on his side now can there?
I really hope everyone in the family is supporting you and I really wish justice to be done for.

casperchico2 Tue 18-Nov-14 15:49:18

My brother will not tell me who my mother's solicitor is - does anyone know how I can find this out in Scotland. She is still alive. As I moved abroad many years ago he managed to get financial Guardianship for my mother and refuses to discuss anything about my mother with any family members.He has virtually convinced social work and other authorities that I do not care about my mother in fact I do not know if any of them know that I actually exist.
Terrible situation - any advice on how to find out who my mum's solicitor is would be very helpful.
Thank you.

sykadelic Wed 19-Nov-14 01:20:07

Would he have to register the guardianship with the court or anything?

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