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Executor won't communicate. What to do?

(48 Posts)
missmartha01 Sun 17-Jan-16 09:40:17

My father died in December 2014 in New Zealand, splitting his estate equally between me and my brother and appointing my brother executor. There is a will and this is very plain. My brother and I are the only beneficiaries, our mother died some years ago.

Since then my brother has made things increasingly difficult.

He seems to have appointed a solicitor who has a holding account for dad's money and the money from his assets as they've been realised.

I received some money directly into my bank account in July, but this was obviously not the whole amount and it was not a 50-50 split either, my brother appears to have awarded my SiL a sizeable amount which he has taken from my share of the estate.

When I questioned this and asked to see a breakdown of the accounts my brother informed me that he never wanted to have anything to do with me again and indeed, although there is definitely more money due to me, he hasn't responded to my letters.
He was last in touch with me in August last year.

I did contact the solicitor, and I was sent a copy of my brother's reply staying that he (my brother), wanted no more to do with me and would refuse to pay any further fees to the solicitor if they became involved.

Sorry for the long post, but where do I stand?

MummyBex1985 Sun 17-Jan-16 13:40:15

Has the will be dealt with under New Zealand or UK law? In the UK the solicitors and your brother would be liable for an incorrect distribution of the estate and I would say speak to a contentious probate specialist, but I'm not sure how it works in NZ...

missmartha01 Sun 17-Jan-16 14:40:28

Thanks for your reply Muumybax. It was dealt with under NZ law, which I was assured was very similar to UK law. Of course 'very similar' means nothing in this context, I realise that, but never he less, it's not totally at odds with it.

My brother also lives in NZ, which makes the whole thing more difficult.

It was only when i noticed that his wife was in receipt of part of the estate, and she is definitely not mentioned in the will , that I asked why I was paying part of my money to her. This was in the las week of July. He has written to me since to say that he'll do as he pleases and never wants anything to do with me again.

I wrote to him again just after Christmas as I know that the estate hasn't been distributed completely, but as I expected, he has not replied. I don't expect him to.

Ah well, I guess I'll either have to let it be or engage a solicitor. Many thanks. Resolving these things can be heart breaking. My dad would have been so upset.

ImperialBlether Sun 17-Jan-16 14:50:35

Don't just leave it! How dare he do that to you? In fact it would be one thing if he was lying about it, but he's blatantly giving his wife your money! Get a lawyer onto it asap, but make sure it's a lawyer with experience in dealing with Wills.

missmartha01 Mon 18-Jan-16 08:52:42

I know you're right Imperial, the whole thing has been very upsetting. I would generally approach these things head on, get myself a lawyer and sort it out, but he has undermined my confidence.

His emails to me have been very full on and hurtful.

That sounds pathetic I know, but it is the way it is.However, pulling myself up by my bootstraps at the mo and will ring a solicitor today.

God what a faff. He did want my father's house, but I was very strict about that. He was set to move in, but I put my foot down as the will was clear that it should be sold.

Anyway, many thanks for your supportive replies.

MissBattleaxe Mon 18-Jan-16 09:00:37

He could have the house, but only if he either biys it, or gives you half the market value. I would definitely get a solicitor. What he's doing is not only illegal but immoral. Good luck and don't give up.

marmaladegranny Mon 18-Jan-16 09:01:20

Do persevere with legal advice. Many years ago I had a similar situation with executor giving part of estate away and not acknowledging my right. Getting my solicitor involved resolved the matter very speedily and, surprisingly, salvaged the family relationship.
This is opinion only - no legal background here!

missmartha01 Mon 18-Jan-16 09:57:38

Thanks all, I'm feeling much cheered here.
Yes MissBattleaxe,I know I could have sold him my share but he only wanted to do it like that if I would agree to selling it for half the market value. What he did was send me a figure that was supposed to have been the value, but checking online I could see this was not the case. For about two months he refused to get a valuation, insisting that I was "day dreamer'. In the end the house sold for more than double the price he had offered initially. No mention was ever made of this.

I have no idea what else he's done. I received some of the money from the house,but when I questioned why I was apparently giving part of my share to his wife he blew up and hasn't spoken to me since.

I have never seen any accounts, nothing.

So, I must get this done. Thanks again.

MissBattleaxe Mon 18-Jan-16 10:42:13

He is so, so SO out of order. This is fraud and robbery. I hope you sort it out. Your Dad's memory is being disrespected by him. He cannot be trusted, Legal action now!

MummyBex1985 Mon 18-Jan-16 10:47:27

It's shocking.

Can you speak to a lawyer in NZ? There's a good chance it would have to be litigated in NZ - and the debt subsequently enforced. Your brother probably thinks you won't pursue it due to the hassle.

I suppose it depends how much money is involved too (commercially speaking - ie is it worth the legal fees involved).

I know it's awful that they've gone against your dads wishes. My mum died at the beginning of December and despite searching everywhere, didn't appear to have a will. So I've had to guess at what she would have wanted (same for the funeral) which makes me feel very guilty.

MissBattleaxe Mon 18-Jan-16 12:10:44

If it's half a house I should think its worth the legal fees. He is using the distance as a barrier, the scumbag.

missmartha01 Mon 18-Jan-16 12:44:17

I really don't know how much money is involved. He's never told be beyond "Oh the old man had some stocks and shares too", he's never given me a figure, even a rough one.

Obviously I knew about dad's house. I also knew about things like dad's car which was a BMW. That hadn't been sold as of July last year and neither had a substantial chunk of Qantas and BA shares. How substantial I don't know btw. I know there were more but I'm not sure what they were and as I keep repeating, my brother won't communicate at all, he just won't tell me.

You're right though, if the money owed isn't that much, it could cost me more in legal fees, the truth is, I don't know and he won't tell me. He won't speak to me at all.

wallywobbles Mon 18-Jan-16 12:48:44

Please don't let it go. Find a decent solicitor and pursue it ASAP. Definitely shifty and shitty behaviour.

ReallyTired Mon 18-Jan-16 12:58:17

It is going to cost him something in legal fees to defend himself. In the uk fraudent behaviour risks jail. The threat of legal action, ie engaging a NZ lawyer and being prepared to go to court may bring him to his senses and he will settle out of court.

MissBattleaxe Mon 18-Jan-16 13:41:24

Yes, you are owed big time and he is stealing.

MiniCooperLover Mon 18-Jan-16 14:03:55

If there's a chance the amount can be substantial I think I'd be finding the funds somehow and flying out and speaking to him in person !!! He's banking on the fact you are halfway around the world and he can avoid you ...

MissBattleaxe Mon 18-Jan-16 14:23:54

No I wouldn't meet him in person. Solicitors only now he's proved himself untrustworthy

missmartha01 Mon 18-Jan-16 14:32:04

No, I don't think so. I'm surety biggest asset was the house and that's been sold and I've received the money, or most of it from the sale.

The solicitor dealing with the money asked me to sign an agreement before they'd release it and I didn't because I wasn't happy with the way to was split. That is I didn't get 50% of the sale and I wanted to know why.

However the solicitor in NZ released it anyway. I've never been asked if I received it.

MissBattleaxe Mon 18-Jan-16 14:35:47

Write to the solicitor again and tell him you have not received half and where is it. Threaten legal action and see what happens.

MiniCooperLover Mon 18-Jan-16 14:59:00

Are you sure the person you are dealing with us def a solicitor?

missmartha01 Mon 18-Jan-16 15:13:56

The company of solicitors claims that they areas of professional expertise are, ' Estate Litigation, Administration of Estates, Commercial and General Litigation.'

When I wrote to them voicing my concerns, they copied my brother in. He told them that they should ignore me as he would not pay then fee for any work that involved me. They agreed and said there would be a conflict of interest in any case.

I sent one further letter in much the same vein as the first and was told not to please not bother them again.
That is, I think exactly what they said verbatim, I was stunned.

MissBattleaxe Mon 18-Jan-16 17:10:42

A conflict of interest?

Get another solicitor and take no shit.

MissBattleaxe Mon 18-Jan-16 17:11:33

What your brother has done is illegal. He needs to be walloped with both barrels. Its theft and fraud.

MiniCooperLover Mon 18-Jan-16 17:16:19

It sounds to me like that firm are negligent too! Good law firms would never talk to you like that (all correspondence is treated with great respect whether you are a client or not). (I've worked for several large firms).

EnriqueTheRingBearingLizard Mon 18-Jan-16 17:36:55

Surely the costs of settling the Estate are taken from the Estate.

In the first instance can you not contact the Law Society of New Zealand enclosing a copy of the Solicitor's response where your concerns were dismissed and you were told not to 'bother them again'

Although you are not their 'client' I imagine the Society should be able to guide you in some way.
Law Society NZ

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