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Need advice on Probate

(13 Posts)
Pleiades45 Mon 17-Oct-11 11:56:20

My cousin and I have been named as executors in my Aunt's will. Because i am not in the vicinity, he is organising the sale of her house and probate. Next week there is a probate meeting and he's sent me a form to sign.

It says, "I understand that I have been named as an executor in the will of the deceased. although I do not wish to act at present I reserve the right to apply for grant of probate in future."

The proceeds of the will have been left to him and my 3 children in equal parts.

By signing this do I give away my rights to receive the money and invest in trust funds for them? I'm already researching suitable funds.


PigletJohn Mon 17-Oct-11 12:04:45

You aren't signing away your rights to the inheritance.

You are signing away your responsibility to do the work.

Your choice.
Do the work yourself, share it with him, or let him do it.

mumblechum1 Mon 17-Oct-11 18:37:09

What Piglet John said.

I would recommend that you still act as Executor, though; presumably you're also going to act as Trustee? There seems no logical reason not to act tbh, it should be easy enough for the conveyancing paperwork just to be posted to you for signature.

PigletJohn Mon 17-Oct-11 19:14:02

though before signing it, you have a duty to satisfy yourself that what you are signing is true and accurate.

Pleiades45 Mon 17-Oct-11 19:51:10

This sounds awful, but I don't mind my cousin doing the probate and selling the house, it will make it easier for us all and he has been consulting me all the way. To be honest I'm not sure what the probate meeting is about, and he said this document needs signing because I won't be there. That's how I assume it has been explained to him. Since some of the inheritance is being left to my children I don't want to lose the right to control how and where it is invested. Perhaps I need clarification on what my role is as executor and as Trustee? Is there anyway of me clarifying what I want and don't want to be involved with? I'm recovering from surgery and can't drive to the meeting next week.

mumblechum1 Mon 17-Oct-11 19:56:18

If the will says something along the lines of "I appoint Pleiades and Pleiades Cousin as my Executors and Trustees (hereinafter referred to as my Executors)" then you will have equal control of the trust with your cousin. Essentially, the Executors' job is to cash in the assets, eg sell the house, shares, close bank accounts etc, and after clearing any debts, funeral expenses and inheritance tax, distributing the estate in accordance with the Will. If all or part of the residuary estate is going into a trust, then the Trustees (usually also the Execs) will look after the trust, eg decide how much goes in bonds, how much in high street savings accounts, how much in ISAs etc.

So even if you're not hands on as an Exec (and as I say I think you should be), you will still hold an active role as a Trustee (unless you resign from that).

I understand you can't drive to the meeting next week, but once you've recovered you should probably act as Executor, partly so that you know what's going on and also to spread the burden a bit.

Hope you make a speedy recovery

PigletJohn Mon 17-Oct-11 19:59:05

The executor has to apply for probate, which gives them access to bank accounts etc, gather in all the assets, pay all the bills and any inheritance or income tax, then distribute what is left according to the will. The executor has to sign the application for probate and is responsible for filling in the (many) forms, such as lists of assets and liabilities, which accompany it, and will have the authority to (e.g.) sell the house.

The trustee might be responsible for assets until, e.g. a legatee reaches the age specified in the will, or a life interest (e.g. a widow's occupation of a house or entitlement to income) comes to an end.

I have been both executor and trustee in the past, but have only been (sole) trustee when I was also (sole) executor, e.g. because the other executor was elderly or had moved abroad.

I am a sensible person, I am not a lawyer.

PigletJohn Mon 17-Oct-11 20:00:58

too slow sad

mumblechum1 Mon 17-Oct-11 20:11:10

Slow but spot on Piglet!

Pleiades45 Wed 19-Oct-11 16:25:46

I'm struggling with this one. I called probate and they said that if I didn't apply for grant of probate, I had no legal right as to how and where money is invested. They suggested interviewing me by phone, interviewing my cousin face to face and sending docs for me to sign in front of solicitor.

For some reason, this isn't washing with my cousin he just wants to sort it out and give me the money, whereas I believe from what I've been told, that he is the only one who will have a legal right to deal with it and any paperwork until my boys inherit.

I can apply for grant of probate in future but why bother when I can do joint application now?

Pleiades45 Wed 19-Oct-11 16:36:37

I've just called probate again and been told I don't need probate to invest the inheritance once my cousin gives it to me.

prh47bridge Wed 19-Oct-11 17:51:40

Probate allows you to get at your Aunt's money. It has absolutely nothing to do with what happens to the money after it has been distributed in accordance with the will. You need probate to act as an executor otherwise you can't get at the money. If you don't want to be an executor you do not need to be on the grant of probate.

I presume from what has been posted that you are named as a trustee for the money left to your sons. You do not need probate to act as a trustee.

If you don't act as an executor you will not be named on the grant of probate. However you will still be a trustee for the money left to your sons and will therefore have the right to decide, together with any other trustees, how the money is invested.

Pleiades45 Wed 19-Oct-11 18:29:23

thanks, I think I'm starting to see through the fog this has created. I am indeed named as trustee.

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