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Probate - I think my solicitor has fucked up.

(20 Posts)
INeedANameChange Sat 29-Oct-16 13:45:13

At least I think he has.

DM died in December, very simple estate, he was instructed in January and informed me estate would be finalised by April.

Nearly ten months later (with very few updates from him and only when chased) I find a bank statement at my DMs house. All of the direct debits for council tax, utility bills, phone bills, insurance, pretty much everything, has continued leaving my DMs account for the last ten months!!! So her current account has been whittled down from £5k to £1k and it seems that he hasn't taken any action to stop anything! The last payment went out a week ago.

He emailed last week to say the estate accounts were finalised and he would be distributing shortly which I would have though meant he'd dealt with all of that stuff.

Shouldn't he have stopped all this? He's had the paperwork since the first week of January! This can't be normal surely???

Any help would be appreciated, thank you.

GeorgeTheThird Sat 29-Oct-16 13:47:30

Check his first letters to you. Did he tell you to do anything like this?

Blodwengoch Sat 29-Oct-16 13:50:54

Sorry for your loss. I'm not entirely sure telling utility companies would be part of dealing with probate. Check what your agreement with the solicitor said. In any case, if you provide the utility companies with a death certificate, I would think they will refund the estate. They generally have a bereavement section who would deal with this - I would suggest contacting them during office hours.

When you registered the estate, did you have the opportunity to sign up for 'tell us once'? That would have informed authorities like the local authority for council tax etc.

INeedANameChange Sat 29-Oct-16 13:51:07

All he has asked me to do is rearrange the house insurance policy.

I gave him all accounts, bank cards, bank statements etc as well as the remaining bills - surely step one should have been to freeze her bank account?

Blodwengoch Sat 29-Oct-16 13:52:45

Sorry, I meant registered the death, not the estate - that may have given you the 'tell us once' option.

INeedANameChange Sat 29-Oct-16 13:52:48

Thanks for your input guys, maybe I'm irrationally irritated but I handed this over to him to get it off my plate and because I found it too difficult to think about so I'm incredibly disappointed.

I'm also confused as I'm fairly sure my DB has been paying council tax (he now owns the house).

Skatingpenguin Sat 29-Oct-16 13:56:20

I rang all the utility companies after my DM died. As she lived alone but we wanted to keep electric etc in the house until it was sold I just took over the accounts and had bills etc sent to me. Council tax and driving license etc were all stopped by the Tell us once service when DB registered the death. Honestly wouldn't have occurred to me to expect a solicitor to do any of that. I did do my own probate though so not sure where the line is between family tasks and solicitor.

Blodwengoch Sat 29-Oct-16 13:56:50

It may be you assumed he was doing all of that, but it's not necessarily part of probate.

When my dad died, db and I went to the banks with the death certificate and froze everything. The funeral director and registrar had given us leaflets with the info we needed. It sounds as though your brother should have taken over the utility bills and needs to refund the estate.

TheWildRumpyPumpus Sat 29-Oct-16 13:59:55

My condolences.

Somebody would have to keep paying the buildings insurance, utilities (unless disconnected), council tax even though she'd sadly passed away. If your brother moved in or took ownership then he ought to have moved the accounts into his name.

If the house is empty some councils will give a period where you don't need to pay council tax.

ClashCityRocker Sat 29-Oct-16 14:05:09

I'm sorry for your loss.

It's not been my experience that solicitors deal with cancelling accounts etc - IME it's usually the family, however I'm surprised it didn't come to light in the probate process.

Costacoffeeplease Sat 29-Oct-16 14:07:49

If your brother has taken over the house he should have put the utilities into his name?

NerrSnerr Sat 29-Oct-16 14:15:49

If your brother now owns the house he should have sorted all the utilities there- the solicitor couldn't just stop if someone else owns the house. Surely your brother now owes the money that went out of your mum's account since she passed away as they're bills for his property?

WicksEnd Sat 29-Oct-16 14:29:14

Your post is confusing me a little.
Was the solicitor applying for a grant of probate on your behalf so you became the executor or is the solicitor acting as the executor?
Sorry for your loss 💐
I've applied for probate myself in the past, but I was the executor so did the majority of it myself to keep costs down. It was a while ago though and I'm a bit rusty on what happened when.

ExitPursuedBySpartacus Sat 29-Oct-16 14:33:57

My Dad died in April and I applied for probate myself and dealt with all of this. A cannot imagine what your solicitor has actually done to be honest.

MissMargie Sat 29-Oct-16 14:35:16

How did DB get ownership, was solicitor involved?

Floggingmolly Sat 29-Oct-16 14:37:21

It absolutely would not be down to the solicitor to do this confused

ImperialBlether Sat 29-Oct-16 14:40:34

I suppose the solicitor might do this if told to do so (and would charge accordingly) but I would expect to have to do that myself. It's horrible having to do it, but it just has to be done.

galaxygirl45 Sat 29-Oct-16 14:41:23

We recently went through this with my late FIL - DH and solicitor were joint executors of the will, but it was DH who sorted out sending off the death certificates and turning off the utilities/bank account etc? The bank account won't be frozen or closed unless you notify the bank and take the death certificate in. If you were the executor, it was your responsiblity to do all of this.

CotswoldStrife Sat 29-Oct-16 14:49:24

Sorry for your loss, and it must have been a shock to see the bank statement. It may be possible to reclaim some of the money though.

Who was named as the executor in the will? It is not clear from your original post if you are the executor but didn't want to do it and hired the solicitor instead, or if the solicitor was the executor.

Marmitelover55 Sun 06-Nov-16 18:04:54

My dad also died in April and DB and I are the executors. We used a solicitor to help with applying for probate but did all utilities/bank accounts/pensions/other creditors ourselves etc ourselves.

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