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Intestacy

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  • Intestacy

    Hello to anyone reading this, would like some advice please .....

    My estranged Mother passed away in January 2018, leaving no will (intestacy)

    I am the eldest and only child from her first marriage, she then went on to marry again and had a daughter (we know of each others existence, but have never spoken to each other).
    As my Mothers husband died a few years back, by law I am entitled to a share of the estate.

    I got hold of the letter of administration (dated March 2018) and there is a reasonable sum mentioned, but no property.
    I wrote to the administrator of the estate (the daughter) stating that I am entitled to a share and if she needed any proof of my existence etc, then please contact me.
    I got no response from that letter, so sent a registered post letter to the administrator 2 months later asking when could I see the account and inventory. Again, no response, but the letter was signed for by the administrator (the daughter).

    As I got no response, I got my solicitor to write to the administrator. Again no response.

    I fully understand the situation of losing a loved one, but an administrator does have an important job to do, but I have been told the daughter is not trust worthy.

    I have spoken to my solicitor and they want a large amount upfront, which I don't have. So any ideas what to do next?

    I have looked online, and I am thinking that I should request to see the account and inventory in the probate court. Is this something worth doing? and when is the right time to request the account and inventory?

    Many thanks


  • #2
    Hi Charlesb,

    Estranged or not it is still a loss which can be tough to deal with.

    It seems that you have a handle on what should happen under the intestacy rules so as the only surviving children and no spouse alive then the estate should be divided equally between you and any siblings.

    Unfortunately any issues can be expensive and can potentially significantly reduce the size of any amounts available to be distributed once the estate is finalised. You mention the solicitor you saw wrote to your half sister. Did they say they would be taking any further action should they not hear from her? That may be the next step just to see if that causes a reaction from her.

    I'm not sure of what use an application to the Court would be for disclosure of the accounts, particularly as the administrator may not have completed them as yet and until they are completed she can't be made to provide copies. It may rattle her a bit to make her take her duties as administrator more seriously. There are other options such as applying to have her removed as administrator but to do that you would need some 'proof' of her alleged inability to meet her obligations. Without any contact this will of course be difficult.

    I wonder whether one more solicitors letter stating what action will be taken if she doesn't engage with them (even if you eventually decide not to take that action), may be the best way forward at this point. Once you have your options clear in your mind you can then take a value judgement which would be the best option for you, bearing in mind the value of the estate and the potential cost in time, money and stress to you.

    It is always encouraged that parties try and mediate a settlement but of course where one side won't even respond this can be impossible which would leave you little option but to make a Court application. Her non engagement would not do her any favours in the Court process, if it happened and may assist you in obtaining an order either for the accounts to be disclosed or having her removed as administrator.

    I would suggest obtaining another solicitors opinion on the options available to you and potentially sending a further slightly more threatening letter but also offering the option of mediation. Then you can decide which way to go as far as any application is concerned. Depending on the value of the estate I would suggest having a good disputed probate lawyer on your side may be money well spent, much as it seems a large amount at this point. You need to know how likely you are to succeed in any application you were to make. Do a bit of shopping around before you decide.

    Here if you need any other pointers and there may well be others who post who have been through similar situations and have some pearls of wisdom for you.

    I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

    Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

    If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you for your response Peridot.

      The solicitors letter was straight to the point (reminding the administrator of their duties) etc. My solicitor wants £1,000 up front to pursue further for me (... and thats money I don't have).
      Another thing is, I could hand over a £1,000 and then find out the estate money has gone on bills, loans etc.

      I understand an administrator has 6 months before any distribution of estate (in case someone else comes forward to stake a claim) but I am worried I will miss out on submitting something (i.e. requesting account and inventory at the Probate Court) in a timely fashion.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi again,
        thats good the solicitor laid down chapter and verse.
        The 6 months runs from the date of the grant and is in relation to creditors or possible claims against the estate. By making contact within the 6 mths you have effectively put the administrator on notice, so there would be little wiggle room should things have to go to Court in the future.

        Of course if there are significant debts against the estate there may be a considerably reduced sum to distribute to the residuary beneficiaries in the end and you are right to be concerned about throwing something that may not bring any return. The other issue you have is if the money has disappeared does your half sister have the finances to settle any claim against her personally in the event an order were made against her.

        On the grant there should be a gross and a net figure. Did your half sister have any dealings with your mother to make her aware of the sorts of debts she may have? Would she have had this sort of information when she applied for the Grant?

        You can make the application by summons to the Probate Registrar or District Judge. The application is made under section 25 of the Administration of Estates Act 1925. An order will then be made for the inventory and accounts to be provided. for the accounts yourself. You will need to complete the summons form and also prepare an affidavit that should be sworn (at the Court or a solicitors for a nominal charge) There will also be a court fee for the summons.

        This procedure is generally dealt with very quickly and has the added bonus of providing committal possibilities if disobeyed.

        You need to complete an N20 form and the affidavit You can find the N20 here https://www.gov.uk/government/public...itness-summons You also need to complete an affidavit explaining why you are requesting the documents here https://www.gov.uk/government/public...m-of-affidavit

        Contact the Probate Registry to confirm fees and swear fees.
        https://courttribunalfinder.service....ate-department

        It May be that even with a summons to produce the information she still doesnít comply in which case it will be necessary to return to Court.

        You need to write to her to to let her know you are taking this step (if your solicitor didnít confirm this) also I would suggest offering mediation.

        The affidavit needs to be factual rather than passionate so explain the circumstances, mothers name and address, date of death, date of grant etc and that you are a residuary beneficiary of her estate which is intestate. Your half sibling has applied for the Grant which has been issued on xxx and despite repeated requests for accounts they havenít been forthcoming. In fact there has been no acknowledgment to recorded delivery letters so youíre now having to request a summons be issued to produce the inventory and account.

        Hopefully it will produce a response. Keep us posted.
        I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

        Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

        If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi Peridot, I have sent out a letter stating that if I don't hear from the administrator within a week, I will then have to file it with the Probate Court. Doubt I will get a response, but I am just going through the motions.

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Peridot, I have the summons forms to fill out and have a few questions. I've put them in red on the form attached.

            Also, when going to the solicitor to sign the affidavit, get 3 copies signed? (one for myself, one for the administrator and one for the court)
            Last edited by CharlesB; 16th October 2018, 13:55:PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi CharlesB,
              The 'Let' should then have the executors names inserted following it
              'On the part of' is your details xxxx as lawful son of xxx and one of the persons entitled to a lawful share of her estate
              'for'
              a true and perfect inventory of the estate of the deceased and to render a just and true account of their administration of the estate of the deceased and to file it in the xxxx District Probate Registry within xx days from the date of service of the order upon them.

              You will also need to swear the affidavit in support of your summons.

              I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

              Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

              If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi again,
                Once you have prepared your forms it would be a good idea to get a probate specialist to check it before sending it to the Court. Just to make sure you've included all you need to.
                I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

                Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

                If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi Peridot, thanks for coming back to me. The solicitor is going to charge me £30 for signing the affidavit. If I want them to check my paperwork, they want to charge me a full hour of £250.00. I am pretty sure I can get this right. I could even go to the probate court and get them to sign it. Works out a bit more as I will have to include travel expenses as well as the court fee (signing of Affidavit £11)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Peridot View Post
                    Hi CharlesB,
                    The 'Let' should then have the executors names inserted following it
                    'On the part of' is your details xxxx as lawful son of xxx and one of the persons entitled to a lawful share of her estate
                    'for'
                    a true and perfect inventory of the estate of the deceased and to render a just and true account of their administration of the estate of the deceased and to file it in the xxxx District Probate Registry within xx days from the date of service of the order upon them.

                    You will also need to swear the affidavit in support of your summons.
                    Sorry, to bother you again, the sentence where it says " ....within xx days from the date of service of the order upon them."
                    The 'xx days' how long should I state? say 7 days?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      No worries, I'd suggest 14 or 21 days. You're basically drafting what you hope the Judge will approve to send this to the executor/administrator. I would suggest being reasonable with the time to produce the accounts so 14 days at the mean end, 21 days probably more reasonable. If the judge doesn't agree they will amend it I suspect.
                      Have you done your affidavit in support yet?
                      I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

                      Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

                      If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I am just finishing off the Affidavit. The bit where I have to get it sworn, attached is a screen grab of what the court sent me. Looking online at other affidavits, should I amend mine to this?

                        For example:

                        Witness my signature ........ (date)

                        ........................................... Mr Charles B

                        Sworn at ..................................................
                        In the county of .......................................
                        On ........................................... (date)

                        Before me,
                        .................................................. ..............
                        Solicitor, Officer of the court or other person entitled to administration Oaths.

                        Also, when I go to get the Affidavit signed, do I need to get say all 3 copies signed? then send all 3 copies to the court for to be sealed / stamped?







                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi again,
                          The one the Court has sent is fine if you are having the document sworn at the Probate Registry/County Court. The other wording would be for when you are swearing in front of a Solicitor for example.
                          I would only prepare the one, then get that photocopied so you have the original with the Court, a copy to the other party(s), every Administrator if more than one and one for your records. The Court should seal each copy (or at least give it a number and date) and the original.
                          Each 'swear is a set fee so if you swear 3 documents there will potentially be 3 fees to pay. I believe the Court fee for a swear is about £13. You may also need to book an appointment for the swear to be done.
                          I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

                          Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

                          If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thank you, I will get it sworn at the local solicitors, otherwise, its a trip to London (will take all day)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Is it London where the Probate was granted?
                              In which case you do need the swear wording that you posted not the Court one you received.
                              Solicitors swear fees are cheaper than the Court too. Should be £5 I believe.
                              I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

                              Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

                              If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

                              Comment

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