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Solicitor is now the executor of patents estate

(7 Posts)
custardbear Fri 20-Nov-20 21:34:57

Bit of legal advice if you're able. My mum died in 2012, step dad and her (unmarried) had a joint estate that remained joint until the other died. My brother was executor. They're in Australia so all things held in Australia, all kids in UK.
Since stepdad died it's come to light that the solicitor of the wills of my mum and step dad was made executor (by step dad) instead of my brother as was in the original will (seen the codicil ) mainly because of covid and our inability to go to Australia to sort everything.

Slightly paranoid question, but can she cash it all in and keeping for herself? She's been great, but all went very quiet about a month ago. She said she was sorting the death certificate which takes a few weeks and would be in touch. She wasn't. I emailed and asked what was the latest a month later and she emailed back to everyone (I'd copied everyone in to my email so they knew what I'd said) grumpily saying I'd been in touch asking xyz which they knew because I'd copied them all in! Said it was going to take months and we needed to wait. My brother tonight said do I think she's going to run off with the money and I said that was the first thing that went through my head!

No idea where we stand here or what to do?! Do we appoint our own solicitor to make sure she's doing it right?

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prh47bridge Sat 21-Nov-20 00:01:15

She would be committing a criminal offence if she defrauds the estate in the way you suggest. No-one can guarantee that she won't but it is unlikely.

Longdistance Sat 21-Nov-20 00:06:35

It depends where in Oz. Not because she’s going to do a tuner but because some states are in lockdown. Not our poncy lockdowns, a proper one.

roundandaroundagain Sat 21-Nov-20 00:10:29

Solicitors are often executors for late clients. Never heard of them taking the money for themselves! I know that they often consult the family regarding decisions.

MrsFezziwig Sat 21-Nov-20 00:17:53

It’s not out of the ordinary for a solicitor to be an executor and tbh it can be complicated enough to sort out the provisions of a Will in your own country, never mind from thousands of miles away, so that’s not an unreasonable decision.

Why exactly do you think she would “run off with the money”? Seems a weird conclusion to come to.

She will however be able to charge fees for the work she does - this is probably what I would be keeping an eye on rather than thinking she’ll run off with the money, which of course would render her career dead in the water.

Some quick Googling brings up that if you want to replace an executor/solicitor with your own you have to go through the courts, which is likely to be expensive.

MrsFezziwig Sat 21-Nov-20 00:25:07

She's been great, but all went very quiet about a month ago.

If she’s so great, why would you think she was going to steal the money? The death certificate is only the first stage and if there is any complexity in the estate at all it will indeed take months to sort out (particularly as things are at the moment).

custardbear Sat 21-Nov-20 00:53:36

Thank you. She was great because she spent what seemed like a lot of time with SD in hospital before he died. Which was nice because my mum was dead, he had friends but no family there as all UK based.
She said she'd keep in touch regularly and update. Then when asked for an update, got antsy. - to be honest she was pretty abrupt, monthly updates isn't unreasonable IMO, particularly early on when lots is happening.

I hear what you're saying when you say she'd be a criminal, and unless something has happened since I was last aware, they'd only have a 'not unusual ' estate size fir the average couple of that age. I think we're overthinking it perhaps

I didn't realise it was normal to have the will solicitor ac t as executor tbh


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