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Who is BU regarding uncles estate?

(25 Posts)

This is a complex one in a sense.

My uncle passed away in April,as the Will we believed him to have has not been found he died intestate and due to having no spouse or children of his own his estate is due to be shared between his siblings,some of whom have decided to distribute their money between children and grandchildren (myself included) as they believe it is the proper thing to do,especially where there is no personal need.

All fine and dandy.However...

My aunt (brothers sister) lived with my uncle her entire life.After his death she had to move out and has been staying with another brother.She has never in her life worked and relied on benefits and my uncle,there were no health or disability reasons for her not working.

The latest letters from the solicitor have stunned my aunts and uncles,not only due to the expenses the aunt has allegedly incurred in getting the house empty/allegedly needing to recoup money she claims she paid in furnishing it (over £7000 on furniture,then thousands in building materials,nearing two grand in visiting and clearing the house since his death- a total of nearly £20000 for someone on state pension,never having worked and not having any savings??) which would be recouped from his estate BUT she has asked all siblings to agree to let her have the entire estate,house and money from cars and everything else,and has stated that if they do not agree she will be making a claim against the estate.

Now they are all angry about this for many reasons.One of those reasons is that the house was the family house and left to my uncle,him alone,by my grandmother,as he was still living at home,with the intention it should be split in the future.On top of that my aunt had the previous family home put into her name for tax purposes and upon my grandfathers death sold it and gave the money away to her favourite nephew,keeping only a little for herself which didn't last very long at all-this was a long time ago as I never met my grandfather and I'm 32,my dad is 85 and not the oldest sibling!!

She continued to live in the second family home that was moved to in the 50's and all siblings in one way or another contributed to both homes in the running,maintenance and financial aspect including the then family business that funded it.All except her (second youngest)

I understand their anger,especially as she has already had a good amount that she threw away and because she has never contributed a thing and has lazily bummed off others her entire life.I also know that it was never the intention for it all to go one way and that my grandmother was a very old style traditional woman who liked to prepare her children for life as best she could and encouraged hard work and family helping each other and treating each other as equals even with differing roles.

On the other hand,I understand my aunt wanting the house as she has lived their since she was 10 and has always been supported and had everything handed to her on a plate.Although,if I'm honest,I have always questioned the odd relationship her and my uncle appear to have had,living together their entire lives,with neither even ever so much as dating people!blush Shh!!

What would you do if you were in the position of my other aunts and uncles? Only one so far seems not bothered and is happy for her to have everything (the one she is staying with-the father of her favourite nephew) the others are insistent she shouldn't and have uttered a few unsavoury words.

Is she being unreasonable for being such a free loader or are they unreasonable because it was her home and support for so long?

I tend to agree with them and obviously would like the money I have been offered,BUT at the same time I do feel for her knowing it was her home and support.But then I also know how horrible she is and how often she has upset the rest of the family.

Waiting to see what happens currently,particularly as obviously the house has not gone up for sale yet!

Alieight Tue 09-Dec-14 11:52:58

I can understand your aunt wanting to have everything - who wouldn't. But I think she is being incredibly unreasonable.

With regard to the expenses your aunt has incurred (disclaimer: I am not a lawyer):

Furniture: She should have receipts / evidence to prove how much she has paid. However, it's kind of a moot point, as surely if she bought the furniture, it is hers, and not part of your uncles estate? Unless it's particularly valuable furniture, is it not worth saying, well, as you paid for it, its yours?

Building materials: was there a lot of building work done to the house? Again, she should be able to prove that she actually paid for this. You can get invoices / bank statements going back 6 years (statute of limitations applies for time before this). The onus is on her to prove that she did make these payments.

Expenses relating to clearing the house: I'm not sure about this, and hopefully someone with more knowledge will be along to help. The executor can claim reasonable expenses against the estate (costs of clearing the house, postage, probate costs etc) - is your aunt an executor? Were any of the costs agreed with the other beneficiaries in advance? Regardless, she would have to prove that she did actually pay these costs (and also declare any income from selling anything - eg if she removed furniture and sold it, the income would be part of the estate). It's really hard to see how she could rack up £2k in clearing the house tbh.

I think the fair thing to do would be to divide the estate in line with your uncle's will, although I can appreciate (it sounds like your aunt is fairly old?) that it would be a big wrench for her to have to leave.

MaidOfStars Tue 09-Dec-14 11:56:25

Firstly, it is fairly common for siblings of that generation to live together. I have several elderly (great)aunts/uncles who shared houses until their deaths.

So, if she contributed to the house in a financial sense, and wishes to recoup her investment, it seems reasonable that she claim against the estate, no? So let her do so. Similarly, if other siblings have contributed in a financial sense to this home, they are free to make similar claims. I suspect solicitors will require proof for all contributions, and be able to sift out the reasonable from the unreasonable.

I can't see any reason why you would hand over the entire estate though.

Did your grandmother specify in a will that the house was eventually to be shared among siblings? Or was it a "gentleman's agreement" with your uncle?

MaidOfStars Tue 09-Dec-14 11:57:35

I think the fair thing to do would be to divide the estate in line with your uncle's will

He died intestate.

OP, do you have any inkling of what the missing will might have contained?

Fallingovercliffs Tue 09-Dec-14 12:01:33

I think your aunt should be allowed to live in the house for her lifetime and after that it should be divided equally between surviving siblings. Cars etc should be sold and the proceeds divided among the heirs (who can then distribute their share amongst children, nieces and nephews as they wish).

HappyAgainOneDay Tue 09-Dec-14 12:03:21

If you think there was a Will, why not contact all the local solicitors to see if one holds it?

If successful, see who the Executors were and if the solicitor is named as one, give the job to the other because I think that solicitors will take a percentage of the estate not just a fee.

We're a little confused on the furniture as it appears she has cleared the house and sold everything,some of the stuff she gave away.She 'helpfully' visited my dad for the first time in years and offered him a microwave and slow cooker!!! One of my brothers lives opposite the house and has only seen her visit the property on two occasions. Her costs are down as mileage (45p per mile),van usage and bridge tolls (£1.50 per return over the bridge) and show her as travelling from another area of our county and back and also to Cornwall and back.So no idea if she's actually put it in storage or something but there are no storage charges included either so it's a bit puzzling.As is how she could have paid for any of it,especially the furniture,and proven so,unless anything was done on credit in her name but with the funds actually going through my uncle?It's hard to know really but it has everyone puzzled!! The brother she is staying with though would have driven her (she doesn't have a car) and has his own vans (business) which were probably used.

It's all confusing,right?!

WorriedMutha Tue 09-Dec-14 12:06:43

If it is believed he executed a will, can't you contact his solicitor? Is it not slightly suspicious that the will is conveniently missing.

Alieight Tue 09-Dec-14 12:06:47

MaidOfStars good point, sorry OP I got distracted.

In terms of your grandmother's original wishes - were these included in her will (not that this would be legally binding), or did your uncle at any point indicate what would happen after his death?

They have tried to locate the Will but nobody has had any luck.Knowing my uncle it was a shop bought job that he hid somewhere!

As far as everyone is aware,she has never contributed to the house and never has had the means to do so.Which is part of their anger as they all have both financially and physically over the years (even after leaving home,for example my dad provided and fitted the full central heating system,completely rewired the house,others fitted new windows etc as it was seen as the family thing to do for their beloved mum)

Not sure if it was included in my grans Will,given her way of doing things I would assume so but no idea tbh

loveareadingthanks Tue 09-Dec-14 12:11:58

Who is the executor?

This isn't right at all.

My aunt instructed the solicitor within days of my uncles death (claiming he was interstate) with the solicitor acting on behalf of them all.My aunt has been dealing with it all with no contact or discussion with family aside to offer my dad the microwave and slow cooker and asking him to allow her to have everything and to agree to my uncles ashes to be placed in my grans plot

Alieight Tue 09-Dec-14 12:17:55

You can obtain a copy of your grandmother's will here for £10. Might help to see if your grandmother's wishes were included in her will (in terms of dealing with your aunt, rather than because it legally makes a difference).

In terms of the furniture - it seems a bit confusing. If she's claiming she paid for it (£7k), I don't understand why this would be part of your uncle's estate. She also appears to be claiming for disposing of it. It can't be both - it's either hers (and hence not part of the estate, and she can't reclaim the costs or the cost of disposal), or it is not hers (and the £7k is therefore irrelevant), its part of the estate, and while she could potentially claim the cost of disposal, any sale income would also have to be included.

The mileage claims would have to be verified that they were to do with the cost of clearing the house - what was the trip to Cornwall for?

Also, if the furniture was part of the estate, then your aunt had no right to dispose of it without the other people's agreement anyway.

intestate not interstate!!Stupid phone

I used to work in probate myself but the info given from my dad can be a bit hit and miss (he finds it confusing) and I'm having a bit of guilt over her potentially losing everything,in a way

I agree Aliete I'm trying to find out what on earth has happened there with the furniture.My eldest aunt has been in touch with the solicitor and has her son in law helping and we're waiting to hear from her.I've told my dad to contact them numerous times but he won't (he'd get confused)!

Aunt has been in touch with nobody.We only knew the house was being cleared when my brother spotted her getting a van loaded up!

No idea what the trips to Cornwall are either.

They have all now been told to seek desperate legal advice before deciding on whether to sign the form agreeing to give her everything!

I think she's been quite sly in reality.First letters went out at the beginning of May stating they had been instructed as as he was intestate they were effectively acting on behalf of all,no mention of aunts intentions.It was only yesterday they were informed and sent forms to sign to either agree or decline to let her have everything,once the current estimated estate had been done along with the costs which are on going,including the aunts being ongoing!!!

MissPenelopeLumawoo2 Tue 09-Dec-14 12:27:34

Can your dad not get independent legal advice? It seems strange that a solicitor that has been engaged by your Aunt for the purpose of dealing with the estate on behalf of all the siblings, seems to be actually representing your Aunt's interests only. Is that legal? Surely a solicitor dealing with the estate should be neutral and splitting up the estate in terms of the law. If she wishes to make a claim on the estate then should she not use a different solicitor? Conflict of interest?

I am also confused by the furniture. She is claiming she owned it, and then sold it so fair enough. But why does she then want the estate to reimburse her?

I think you need legal advice from a solicitor representing your interests, not your Aunts.

Just called dad and again tried to tell him he needs to get legal advice but he's concerned about costs.He is on state pension and has no savings left after my mother cleared him out,so understand his worry! Bless him.

My eldest aunt (who is an awesome little old lady btw!) has been to see her own solicitor today though,apparently,and he's waiting for her to phone him

Quitelikely Tue 09-Dec-14 13:04:59

The thing is if this uncle wanted her to have the house wouldn't he have drawn up a will to that effect? Because he didn't then surely he and she both realised that it would be split equally??

And yes the relative she lives with now is happy to sign over the house probably because she has promised it to his son after she dies!

I wouldn't sign the form. Obviously I'm a right old witch!

Quitelikely Tue 09-Dec-14 13:05:57

The thing is, if she has no money who is paying her legal fees?

The fees will be paid out of the estate

Alieight Tue 09-Dec-14 13:19:33

Well, if the solicitor is acting on behalf of the estate (ie dealing with the intestacy), then yes, the fees should be paid out of the estate as a whole.

However, it sounds as though the solicitor is representing your aunt only, in which case the fees would be paid out of her share of the estate - do you think your aunt would be aware of that?

Or, as pointed out above, the solicitor is doing both (sorting out the intestacy and representing your aunt), which is a massive conflict of interest.

DayLillie Tue 09-Dec-14 13:21:29

I think all the beneficiaries (under intestacy rules) need get together to get proactive and contact the solicitor who is suppposed to be dealing with the estate. He is acting for the estate, not just her and should have kept the other beneficiaries informed.

They need to clarify what is going on quickly (there will probably be a lot of stalling. You might need to put a caveat on the estate to stop it being distributed.

There should be an administrator appointed in the absense of a Will and Executor and the beneficiaries should have agreed this.

As far as expenses are concerned, they should be reasonable, and accounted for and there should be quotes for anything done.

At this rate, there will be no money left for anyone.

BarbarianMum Tue 09-Dec-14 13:28:03

Your aunt was supported by your uncle for many years. That means she does have a claim on the estate. The worth of that claim will need to be agreed either in court or privately. So now your dad and his siblings need either to lawyer up or make her an offer.

The reality is that a lot of solicitors are likely to be the real winners here.

CheeseBuster Tue 09-Dec-14 13:35:06

I would fight her for every penny! She might be a relative but she sounds like a parasite out for all she can get.

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