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Not allowed access to property

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  • Not allowed access to property

    My mother died recently. She lived with her husband (not my father) and the property is held as tenants in common. In her will, her half of the house goes to her family, but he is allowed to stay in the house until he dies or moves. There are also a number of personal items, eg jewellery which have been bequeathed to the family.

    The husband is not happy with the terms of the will and is not allowing family members into the property either to collect items, or to allow a surveyor to value the property for probate. We also believe he has been giving away items of jewellery to his family without the Executor's consent.

    How do we go about valuing the estate, ie the house part and other personal effects for probate if he will not allow access?
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  • #2
    Hi MariaMaria,
    Sorry to hear of the issues you're having following the death of your mother.
    Have you written officially to your mother's husband? Do you know what jewellery she had, is it documented anywhere? Do you have items that actually belong to you at the property, rather than items bequeathed under the Will? Do you have any proof your mother's husband has been giving away items to his family? Are you in touch with any of his family?
    Sorry more questions to try and understand the issues I'm afraid.
    I am a qualified solicitor and 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
      Hi, thanks for your reply. We are in touch with a member of his family, who is trying to act as a liaison point between the families, but of course, they are 'on his side' as it were. We have been informed that he is not prepared to allow anyone into the property. He has been sent a letter from a solicitor asking him to allow us access, and to allow a valuation. The letter also states that mum's personal belongings now belong to the Trustees and that we have a duty to safeguard them.

      Unfortunately, we do not have a full list of the jewellery, but we do have photographs of some of it. I don't have any items that personally belong to me at the property. We have no evidence that he has been giving stuff away, this is just what he has intimated to another family member on my side.

      My husband and I are executors of the estate, and I am also a beneficiary. We are trying to carry out our duties as Executors, but he is putting obstacles in the way by not co-operating. His default reaction to anything at all to do with the Will is to fly into a rage.

      I am trying to sort this out as amicably as I can with his family member, but he has come back and said we need to give the husband time. The main things we are concerned about is probate, as we are aware the fees are going up imminently. So our priorities are, at this stage, to get the property valued, when we don't need to be there in any event, and to also get the jewellery, as we need to get this valued.

      The rest of mum's stuff doesn't really have much monetary value, so I guess a nominal sum can be put down for probate purposes. I am prepared to let his family member deliver the jewellery to my home and I have given them timescales to do this - I have given 5 days, and also a timescale to let us have a date when we might be able to arrange valuations - I have given 10 days for this. I am also prepared to give him time for us to collect the rest of mum's belongings, I've given 6 weeks for this, I am currently waiting for them to get back to me on this, but I am beginning to think I am being too accommodating?

      However, I have a feeling he will continue to be as awkward as he can and just prolong matters. What can we do if he continues to decline to part with the jewellery and refuses to allow the valuation to take place?

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi MariaMaria,
        Apologies for the delay coming back to you, I have been away. It sounds like you are being reasonable about this and trying to accommodate his feelings at this time. All you can do is make the requests at this stage.
        As far as valuations are concerned is there a significant amount of jewellery? If none of it is valued over £500 then you could give a rough estimate, rather than obtaining valuations of the items. The property may be more of a problem. It would be sensible to point out that the probate fees are increasing, so if there is delay and the higher fee is payable this will of course reduce the sums available for beneficiaries once the estate has been administered and finalised?
        You may have to accept the higher fee and allow your mum's husband some time to come to terms with his loss too. I appreciate it is hard but trying to keep the lines of communication open for the future may be the better option longer term rather than worrying about the fee increase?
        I am a qualified solicitor and 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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