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My mother may of destroyed my fathers's Will and has lied on probate.

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  • My mother may of destroyed my fathers's Will and has lied on probate.

    Hi all.
    I am posting here as I recently found a letter in my mothers flat from a local solicitor.
    My father passed away in 2010 and my mother has always declared he did not make a will.
    At the time she visited a solicitor who advised her on rules of intestacy.
    She completely ignored her advice which included:
    1.It appears she gave the solicitor a number of papers relating to my father's assets and a list followed,
    Assets in joint names:
    The property they own, and two accounts (a bank and building society).
    However my father had six SOLE accounts possibly more.
    She also has a pension and half my fathers pension also my poor father took out life insurance to make sure she was comfortable.
    2.Solicitor advised to value assets which she started to do and provided some details of banks and building societies accounts in joint and sole names.
    3.The solicitor was going to apply for The Grant of Letters of Administration and that my mother had asked to have it in her sole name and that her two daughters would not also be administrators this all happened without my sister and I knowing.
    3.The rules of intestacy were then stated:
    The spouse to receive personal chattels,a fixed net sum of 250,000,free of inheritance tax and costs plus interest at a specified rate (where appropriate) , a life interest in half the remainder of the estate which will then pass ,on the death of the surviving spouse, to the children.
    The children take the other half of the remainder of the estate on what are known as Statutory Trusts.
    Unfortunately my mother never returned to the solicitor and proceeded to apply for letters of administration herself.
    Two days later she opened an account and deposited a large amount of money into it,she obtained letters of administration in less than five weeks!.
    She was granted this and declared the net worth of probate was 85,000.
    However I have seen three accounts in my mother's name which exceed this amount and since my father's death she has spent a large amount of money.
    I went to see her and asked her various questions which i will simplify here she stated all accounts were in joint names dad did not leave a will and he only left her a nominal amount of money to cover the ground rent on the flat.
    She would show me no bank books of dads and I believe she has destroyed them.
    I was hoping she would be truthful.
    I am very upset as I feel my sister and I and grandchildren have been lied to and do not know how to proceed.
    My father loved us all very much and I do feel he would have left a will as he completed a law degree as a mature student and would have wanted to provide for us.
    She is also now trying to make sure that my sister and I will not be able to sell the flat if we wanted to and can only live there after her death.
    I have also noted that the flat is still in joint names on a joint tenancy and she has left my father's name on it.
    A long post I know and I would welcome any thoughts and advice on this.
    Many Thanks.

    Tags: None

  • #2
    Hi Amber,

    I'm sorry things are not going as you would expect. I am a little confused on the assets situation.
    Any joint assets so property held as joint tenants or joint bank accounts, will automatically pass to the survivor. Although the half share value should be declared on any inheritance tax forms there would be no tax to pay on them and as I say your fathers notional share will move across automatically. The values would also not be included in the distribution following the intestacy rules. The same would go for any life insurance policy or pension paid to your mother, if she was the nominated person to receive these.

    Any other assets in his sole name would need to be declared on any Inheritance tax forms. These would be the figures that you start looking at the initial £250k to your mother before you get to the children. Depending on what remains of the estate after the £250k amount due to your mother in the first instance (excluding joint assets) that is what would be eventually be going to the children. So if the net estate is only £85,000 on the Grant then the children would not inherit anything it would all go to your mother.

    I am confused by your comments about selling the flat. Is this another property from the matrimonial home and was this flat jointly owned with your mother? Why would you be trying to sell a property that she owns or am I missing the point here. (Maybe a 2nd property?) If they owned it jointly there is no panic about getting the property transferred into your mother's sole name. This is done simply by producing the death certificate to HM Land Registry. If they owned as Tenants in common then again your father's share would be dealt with as part of the intestacy so on the limited figures you have provided may well be due to your mother in any event? There would need to be an application to transfer the property to your mother's sole name if that was the case but you need to clarify the situation I think with regard to the flat first and how they owned it.

    There would also be no reason to keep bank books from 8 years ago and in fact the only relevant detail on any accounts is the date of death valuation which would go into the inheritance tax forms when applying for the Grant.

    I have no doubt that your father loved you all very much but ultimately your mother would receive the largest amount from the estate and if there is not sufficient solely owned assets to take the amount over £250k then the children would not be due anything. I suppose the general thought is children would receive money after both parents have passed away if there is any. The surviving parent has the first entitlement.

    Apologies if I have confused us both but a little more information on the asset ball park figures may help get to the bottom of this.
    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.


    • #3
      Hi Peridot,
      Thankyou for your response.

      First of all I would like to clarify that I am not just after money.

      Over the last three months I have been searching for my dads will as I was very upset that his probable wishes were not being followed.
      I will continue to do so, however if no will is found I do not believe my mother has followed the intestacy rules.

      My mother has effectively cut my sister and I off.

      Unfortunately my father had terminal cancer and died in hospital very quickly.

      All my mother ever said to us was dad did not leave a will and that was it no discussion.
      As I thought she was grieving I did not mention anything.
      She made no effort to locate a will unlike myself as I have been ringing around solicitors.
      She did not open an account with dad's estate to value it as I have read should have been done.

      She came back from the solicitors declaring she would do it herself as it was too expensive at the solicitors!.

      The solicitor indicated in her letter that 'in similar cases she would hope to conclude the work in 12 months'.
      My mother took less than six weeks.
      She also informed my mother that she could not confirm if any inheritance tax would be payable until the estate was valued.
      Sadly the day after the date on the solicitors letter she opened an account with a large amount of money.
      I also noticed,on the solicitors letter that one of my fathers bank accounts had been frozen I rang the bank and discovered that there had been no activity in a year either paying money in or out, the account holder had been written to,my dad,who was by then deceased.
      She also told me that someone had tried to access the account but in her terminology 'authorization did not occur'.
      She advised me to seek legal advice.

      I understand that my mother would have automatically received joint assets and the property as it is a joint tenancy.
      However the 85,000 figure is incorrect.
      I have recently seen bank books totaling 110,000 that she has transferred at various times probably from my fathers sole accounts.
      I believe she has spent money that she has hidden and has not declared it.
      The flat which was bought outright for 210,000 was apparently going to be left to my sister and I however now my mother has said we can live in it when she dies but we will not own it if we decide to sell it the money will go to the grandchildren ?.
      I hope this helps.
      Many Thanks.
      Just to add my dad was a very intelligent man who had a very well paid position in a local health authority and he was not a big spender.
      He decided to do a law degree as a mature student age 47 and was one mark off a first from a good university and became a lecturer in law.
      I do find it hard to believe that he did not leave a will or perhaps even plan to die intestate himself with his knowledge of how inheritance tax would work.


      • #4
        Just to add I did have a key for the flat !.


        • #5
          Hi Amber,

          Please don't think I was suggesting this was about the money, that wasn't my intention. It is a really tough situation, as I mentioned in the previous post any life insurance or pension pay out could well have gone to your mother directly and would not factor in the net figures for the estate valuation.

          I'm not sure what to suggest with regard to your suspicions. Unfortunately your father's anticipated wishes have no effect I'm afraid and in order to do anything about any issues surrounding problems with the distribution under the Intestacy Rules you would need some evidence of this. Speculation wouldn't be sufficient. If your father had prepared a Will would he maybe have decided to leave everything to your mother in any event? If the value of the flat bears any relation to the likely value of his sole assets then it maybe the estate value would not be over the amount due to the spouse under the Intestacy Rules in any event. As far as post grad law students and wills I wouldn't assume having the law degree encourages wills to be made. Lawyers are the worst for never getting round to doing what they know they should! Wills are one of those things that you always intend to sort out but often never get around to.

          As far as dealing with the estate, timescales vary considerably. Solicitors will invariably take considerably longer as they will insist on notices being placed and also wait the necessary time limits following obtaining the grant for any potential claim to come forward as well as obtaining HMRC clearance. These steps do take time and add up. Dealing with a simple estate (which it sounds like your father's was) does not need a lawyer and provided you have some knowledge of the estate, which I suspect your mother would have done, it is perfectly reasonable for someone to deal with this themselves and in a fraction of the time.

          To investigate this further could be costly, as well as stressful and I suspect the most likely outcome would be that you lose all hope of building bridges with your mother. Are you able to talk sensibly about your concerns of have relations deteriorated beyond that now? Would it be worth considering mediation between you all to try and reach an agreement?

          It is some years since your father passed away and from a personal point of view it is important that you find a way to move on too. Have you talked to anyone about the loss of your father or sought any legal advice on possible options available to 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.


          • #6
            This sort of query must happen, if not exactly all the time, at least from time to time. A will gets proven and the estate split up accordingly, then perhaps many years later it turns out that the original will had been revoked and a new will written. Surely, at some point point, it becomes too late to straighten matters out?


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