Relative's Claim on Inheritance(12 Posts)
Firstly - apologies if this is the wrong place for this. Secondly there are legal issues here and I quite understand if people can't commit - what I'd appreciate is any input to the ethical side of it.
A relative (a) died recently and I inherited some money. That relative had, themselves, another relative (b), who died a couple of months before them, leaving a sum of money which has not yet cleared probate but which will eventually come to me. Another party (c) has approached me saying that (b) stole money due to them and that relative (a), aware of the situation, had promised to make redress - unfortunately (a) died before that could happen and made no mention to anyone.
What do I do? Effectively (c) has approached me saying a portion (not defined) of the money I'm to inherit was effectively stolen (although the backstory indicates (c) has no legal redress). The detail given suggests this story is at least believable - but I have no proof either way. (a) was always keen to do the right thing - and I'd like to honour his memory by doing the same. However (c) has come to me with no proof asking for an undefined amount - that makes me uncomfortable. I'm also worried that making over any sum to (c) would make me legally liable for future demands?..
Has anyone got any thoughts / experiences to share?
Tricky. I don't think you can make any decision until you know the amount in question, and have some sort of evidence.
Perhaps suggest that C has a conversation with whoever is executing A's will? That would then force them to say the amount and declare what evidence they have.
Having said that, if it was a reasonably low amount compared to the overall sum you will be inheriting from A, I'd be tempted to pay something just for the sake of good relationship and to stop it playing on my mind.
I second what TeaPleaseLouise says.
If you have some doubts about the honesty of the person making the claim you could say that your legal advisor in probate has asked for some evidence of the money/amount that was stolen. This should help you work out if they are being genuine, and give you a get out rather than confronting them as being dishonest if they cannot make good their claim.
I'd want to see a paper trail.
How likely is it that A wouldn't have mentioned it to you?
Did A mention it to their own lawyers or to B's lawyers? Or to anyone?
I wouldn't do anything without proof.
Also, you are not liable. A wasn't liable and if they wanted to do something, that was nice of them but that doesn't obligate you to give money.
a) you have no evidence this happened
b) you have no evidence that A wanted to give money
c) you have no legal obligation to give your inheritance because someone tells you A wanted to give money that they weren't obliged to give because someone else allegedly stole money.
I would tell them no. no proof and more importantly no liability.
If you then, once they understood that, wanted to give them a gift as an unrelated matter, then that would be nice of you.
If they feel they have a claim on the estate, then they are of course free to proceed with that.
I think my reaction would depend on 4 things:
•how much money is C claiming
•how much you'll get overall
•the relative flakiness of B and C
•the soundness of mind of A between B'a death and her's
I know you don't know all the facts yet, but if the sum claimed was £500 out of 10,000+ C was historically reliable and A no fool, I'd pay the money.
If the amount claimed is significant and/ or a large proportion of any eventual money, C has a history of chaotic or sharp behaviour and A was constantly falling prey to phone scammers and cold callers I'd tell A to jog on.
As it's all unknown you can safely say can we wait until the pictures clearer.
Another thing to consider is whether you'd like to maintain a relationship with C- even if you can't be certain of the truth you might pay her off if the sum is small. Any way, you're not being unreasonable to tell her to wait until everything is clearer.
I'd speak to a probate solicitor first of all.
I would talk to a solicitor. Basically I guess they don't have a legal claim do it would depend on if you wanted to pay them.
Depending on how much it was, I have to say i'd need convincing with some sort of proof.
Talking to a solicitor costs money! I've seen a 100,000 bequest shrink to 4 figures being held in trust (admittedly over 10 years)
If C is not a friend or relative, I'd say I can't make any commitment until probate has been granted and then maybe contact a solicitor to make a ex gratia payment (depending on the amount being claimed)
Thank you very much for your responses - these are most helpful.
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