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Consequences of not dealing with a will

(8 Posts)
nothernexposure Fri 21-Apr-17 18:24:10

3rd attempt at posting! Can anyone help with what happens (particularly if you're an executor) if a will isn't dealt with and distributed? Mum died 3 years ago and named dad, siblings and me as executors in her will. As it was fairly straightforward we agreed to sort it ourselves and not use a solicitor. Dad had more time and access to all the relevant paperwork so said he'd do it. Only he hasn't. I've checked the probate register and probate hasn't been granted. They're pretty private about their finances so we've no idea whether her estate doesn't reach the threshold, or whether probate hasn't been applied for. I realise the sensible grown up thing to do would be to have a conversation with dad, but you can't. He's coping by burying his head in the sand and I fear will hear a money grab, not an offer of help. Are there any legal implications for the family here? And what happens if nothing gets done about the will? Thanks for any insights and fingers x it posts this time!

DavidBowieMime Fri 21-Apr-17 18:26:22

I am sure someone will come along who is knowledgeable but usually a spouse leaves everything to their surviving one...therefore you wouldnt necessarily get anything yet...did you see the Will was there anything to distribute> like jewllwey etc.

nothernexposure Fri 21-Apr-17 21:09:09

Thanks David, most stuff was left to dad, with some being shared between the children and grandchildren. Tbh it's not really about the stuff, it's more about whether there's going to be an unholy mess to sort out at some point and what the consequences of this are.

whataboutbob Fri 21-Apr-17 22:41:56

If your Dad fears a money grab, maybe you should instruct a solicitor. be sure to check they charge upfront fees, not a percentage of the estate. It can't be that healthy emotionally for your Dad to be sitting on this. Maybe he doesn't feel up to it but can't admit it?
If it isn't dealt with now, eventually it will leave a more complex situation after your father has died and his estate has to be sorted.

DancingLedge Fri 21-Apr-17 23:08:03

Could you print off the forms, go round and offer to help start filling them in, saying what you've said here, and that you realise it's a lot of work, and want to pull your weight?

If there could be any inheritance tax due, then delay matters. (If second spouse dies, delay of 2 years can be very expensive-also IHT related). If no IHT, I'm not aware of any legal consequences- but I'm not a lawyer. But IHT doesn't usually apply to a spouse inheriting.

Paperwork getting lost in the mists of time perhaps more of a problem.

Do you have any sense of why he hasn't done anything? Generally a procrastinator? Not his role to deal with paperwork? Or not dealing well with life on his own?

As executor, you do have a legal duty to carry out what the will says, so a beneficiary not happy with not getting what's left to them in the will could get narked about that, but I assume from what you've posted that the main concern is going to be for your DF, as you haven't mentioned upset family.

Sorry, wills families and deaths can be so emotionality complicated.

nothernexposure Sat 22-Apr-17 16:07:05

Thanks, I think the reason he hadn't acted is mixed. Partly it's because he's struggling with mums death (but old school so can't/won't acknowledge it) and partly because he's not sure what to do (but again can't/won't admit it, bit of a pattern here....).
I'm pretty sure if we go round with the forms and offer to help he'll see this as interfering and shut down communication about it. Equally he'll respond pretty badly if we suggest a solicitor takes over because we're implying he's incompetent. He's lovely but incredibly stubborn.
I'm sure there will be IHT to pay eventually, unless he needs a care home or needs a significant amount of care for some time.
Other than a horrible mess to sort out if we have to deal with both wills at the same time, are there any other consequences?

whataboutbob Sat 22-Apr-17 17:20:08

I can;t actually answer your last question. However, I will say that
my Dad was also very proud and believed he could manage everything, but increasingly he couldn't as sadly he had dementia for the last 5 years of his life.
I had to reassure him at all times he was competent, then subtly guide him towards the most appropriate course of action. If I had told him he was incapable at any point the reaction would have been severe (as it was when I tried to tell him he couldn' t drive anymore, but that's another story). It stuck in my craw somewhat as I am a feminist, but it was the only practical course of action.

DancingLedge Sat 22-Apr-17 17:46:12

Really don't have any helpful answer.
Fwiw, our family procrastination on a will was different, siblings who chose to endlessly put their energy into fighting with each other, rather than getting on with it.
They took 3 yrs to get a grant of probate. This caused two issues-IHT, and upset beneficiaries.But, apart from the IHT, there didn't seem to be any reaction from HMRC, or anyone else official.
That's not to say there can't be any other problem, but not an obvious one.

It's such a tricky matter, to help a stubborn elderly man ,in such a way that they don't have to admit that they need help. It seems to be necessary to not imply criticism. Eg, if I asked my Dad if he wanted some help cleaning, he'd have said no, so I used to visit with my dog, and then say,"oh, no, she's left hairs everywhere,no, I insist, I'll just run round with hoover".

Sorry, off topic, but an example of going round the houses so he didn't lose face.

Would it be worth inventing, eg a neighbour who's found the forms and paperwork difficult, to bring the topic up in a neutral way, giving him a chance to say/or you to ask/ how he's finding it?

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