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Need advice re wills

(8 Posts)
Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Fri 06-Sep-13 23:42:30

Family member died several years ago. Someone has just happened upon a copy of the will and discovered that not only should they have been left certain items but a small amount of money as well. Also discovered that other family members made themselves executors of the will several years previously and have probably had the aforementioned items and certainly never paid any monies out.

Is this illegal, and can we do anything about it now? The someone is not me but they have asked my advice and I don't know.

prh47bridge Sat 07-Sep-13 11:42:39

The executors must follow the provisions of the will unless it is impossible to do so. If, for example, the will leaves £5,000 to someone but after settling taxes and any legal claims on the estate there is no money left the executors clearly cannot give that beneficiary their legacy. They can be held personally liable if they have failed to follow the provisions of the will. Consult a solicitor.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Sat 07-Sep-13 23:37:25

Thanks, that's kind of what I thought. I don't know how they'll go about proving that they never had the items or that they existed when the person died. Bit tricky really.

poshfrock Mon 09-Sep-13 14:13:50

If the items existed at date of death then they should have been included in the application for the grant of probate on form IHT205 or IHT400 ( if probate was applied for).
As has already been said the executors are personally liable for any unpaid legacies/bequests unless the estate is insolvent and cannot pay them.
You need to request a copy of the estate accounts from the executors and then see a solicitor.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Mon 09-Sep-13 22:53:41

That's the trouble. The executors are the people who we suspect took the missing items in the first place.

They gave themselves power of attorney many years before the person even died. Then they were executors of the will. Stuff went missing. Stuff that had been promised went off to auction. My friend had to go to auction and buy back things that were promised to him. I don't know if they were specified in the will but they were old family heirlooms so they might have been mentioned.

I do know that the person that died had Premium Bonds that were cashed in after her death. The will definitely specified that any monies were to be split equally.

My friend fell out with his family members, the aforementioned executors, and I don't know if there was any mention of estate accounts or probate.

I just don't know how it's worth chasing. It would cost more than he would benefit by.

ItsDecisionTime Tue 10-Sep-13 12:09:10

It's really difficult not to let your emotions take over in this situation but believe me when I say that the financial cost of pursuing this to a different outcome will be vast.

Solicitors fees may amount to tens of thousands and whilst it's tempting to go for the moral victory, morals are very expensive things.

My advice would be to let it rest and move on with your life. x

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Tue 10-Sep-13 13:39:30

That's kind of what I told him. It's tricky.

ItsDecisionTime Tue 10-Sep-13 17:14:36

If it helps, I have just spent £30k taking family members to task who stole assets belonging to my late father the day after he passed away. These were people my DF hated and he knew they would do anything to get at his money. Whilst I did get the moral victory (after 2 years), the court ruled that the cost of pursuing it was out of proportion to the value of assets stolen and therefore awarded me £10k. It was actually a relief when it was all over. If there was one positive outcome it is that they are now being prosecuted by the police for fraud. What goes around comes around.

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