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Hassle over mum's estate

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  • Hassle over mum's estate

    My mum died over 3years ago. In her will she left her estate to be shared equally between myself and my 3 siblings. One of my siblings is the executor of the will. They have refused to let me into mum's house, have sold off her furniture, art work, antiques etc., and until the last few weeks have not inform me about what is happening. Now they have informed me that apparently 3 valuations have been done on mum's house all of which seem very low. How can I check it the executor is being genuine?
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  • #2
    Hi Sue07,
    Sorry to hear of your issues with the mother's estate. It can be really tough and never easy when you aren't involved in the administration of the estate. Unfortunately it is the executor's responsibility to deal with the whole of the estate and distribute it once it has been collected in.

    It can be difficult when maybe you would have liked a memento from the house for example which you can no longer have but it is the executors decision. It is of course always best to try and discuss these things and arrangements can be made if necessary but you can't demand it I'm afraid.

    As far as the house is concerned it is usual to obtain 3 probate valuations from estate agents, if a chartered surveyor is not being used. The probate valuation is the likely value the house would have sold for had it happened the day your Mum died. It isn't necessarily the amount to market it at now if there is some time between death and putting the property on the market. Having said that it appears that house prices have stagnated and even dropped slightly in many areas in the last year or so. Have you checked zoopla or rightmove for similar property prices that have sold in the area and are of a similar condition?

    If you remain concerned you are able to make an application to the Court for an inventory and account of the estate to be given although it is unlikely this would be provided until all the assets have been gathered in. Has the Grant been obtained yet?

    It is always advisable to try and keep communication open between you although I appreciate it can be really difficult when emotions are running high. Maybe write to the executor if you find there is a big discrepancy in the prices of similar houses in the area that have sold and ask whether they think another estate agent should be considered. It is ultimately the executor's decision although they do have a duty to gather in the assets at their correct values so if there were any serious doubt about their conduct for example if they were selling the property to a friend at an undervalue then they can find themselves personally liable for any shortfall as well as potential tax ramifications.
    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.


    • #3
      Thank you so much for replying.
      I took your advice and got in touch with my sibling.
      It is possible to make two separate houses from my mum's house(just by closing 1 door). My sibling informed me that they,and another of my siblings, want to keep one section of the house for themselves. The valuations have been done on the building as two separate houses. The older section, which is a grade two listed building, they want to keep. The valuations for this section, which is also bigger, are all much lower than the other section. My sibling says it's because when the dividing door is closed, the listed section does not have its own bathroom.
      I'm really not bothered about it but my husband and adult children keep telling me that I am letting my sibling ' walk all over me.'
      Should I question my siblings motives of trust them to be honest?


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