Will try to give a bit of background, but I can't give too much info so will keep it vague! Mum is one of 5 sisters. One of her sisters (the eldest) was asked to have power of attorney and be executor of my grandmothers will when my grandfather died. Lots happened in the run up to my GM death which I can't go into here as it involves treatment and decisions made, but my mum and her sisters don't trust the elder sister as far as they can throw her. Anyway, elder sister insisting on dealing with all things financial through her own solicitor and my GM estate has all been wound up now and my mum and her sisters received a cheque in the post yesterday, however it was less than anticipated and today another of mums sisters had a phone call with elder sister where she refused to give details of some payments out of my GM account. She then called her own solicitor who said a solicitor couldn't give out details without elder sisters permission. Is it really true that information on your own mother's estate can be witheld because your elder sister is blocking it? What if you've reason to think she has done something underhand? My poor mum and other sisters are all so worried that there is something dodgy about the older sister!
A solicitor cannot give you information relating to a client without the client's permission. However, the beneficiaries can request the estate accounts from the executor (i.e. the older sister). If they are not forthcoming or reveal issues they will have to consult a solicitor who specialises in contentious probate.
If they had to apply for probate (i think if the Estate is 5K plus) you can go to gov.uk & buy the Grant of Probate £10 (which will tell you the value of thr entire Estate) it's the "not less than" figure at the bottom for. If there was a will that will also be included.
To be honest I reckon even with the grant of probate you can never be sure if anything dodgy has been done or not. I know a family where an executor is widely suspected of hiding some bank accounts/shares from the other beneficiaries. If those accounts weren't declared part of the estate for probate what can you do?
That's my worry Possum. She is already refusing to give details to anyone, completely shuts down and refuses. She also cleared my grandmothers house the day she died and threw valuable (and sentimental) items away and gave expensive items to her daughters without any consultation with the other sisters. So their trust in her is very very shaken understandably. I think logically it's all too little too late and perhaps they should have raised concerns earlier on in the process. I'm passing on your info to her though so thank you!
Yes i agree, it's very likely that, as she had PoA &is now being so cagey, that she has "disposed of assets" before your grandmother died. I work in an area that involves reclaiming liabilities from people's Estates and I see this daily.
But how can you even find out if it's been distributed correctly?
In my friends case she suspects there were shares. The executor who is also a joint beneficiary says that there's no shares. She can't ring up the company and ask because she's not an executor and they won't talk to her. The executor on the other hand would be able to provide death certificate, copy of probate and get any shares put in their name or sold and a cheque for the value.
When an executor signs for probate, they have to swear an oath that all information provided to probate office is correct. If it is subsequently found not to be, the executor will be guilty of fraud.
I think that the Probate office can audit an estate, why dont you call the Probate office, I am sure they will tell you if there is a formal way to advise them if you feel assets haven't been declared.