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Can't get an executor to provide esate account information

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  • justanoldun
    started a topic Can't get an executor to provide esate account information

    Can't get an executor to provide esate account information

    Back Ground.

    On 21Nov 2018 my step mother-in-law sadly passed away. On the 6thDec2018 her brother went into Lloyds bank and closed her bank accounts(3 off) and transferred the balances into another account. The total of money transferred was 25k. There had been power of attorney held by his son and daughter but these, of course lapsed when she died. Probate was granted in Feb 2019 with the executors being the same two people as had had LPA,s.


    My wife found out that she and my 2 children were residual beneficiaries after we obtained a copy of the will and probate. The house was sold in Oct 2019. We asked for statement of accounts when we were told what the inheritance would be and realised that the numbers simpy did not add up.It would seem that beneficiaries ( there are 14 equal shares under the will) have been receiving different amounts at different times. Our letter was ignored at first but then we received a single A4 sheet of paper listing costs etc. This shows the following:-


    Some 7000 has simply disappeared since the bank accounts were closed. This is after death but before probate was granted.
    One of the executors paid himself over14k(4.5% of the estate value) for exercising probate for his time not for his expenses; further payment of some 1k were taken for admin etc etc.
    There are large sums deducted for house/roof repairs ( although the property is leasehold on the ground floor in a block).
    No invoices or receipts have been provided.



    We engaged a solicitor who wrote to the executors. They explained that, as a lay executor, they could not charge for their time and asked for copies of invoices. The letter has been ignored. To pursue a civil case against the executors will cost more than the value of the estate. How can it be that someone can effectively take some 21+k from the estate and not be accountable? What can my wife do (as a residual beneficiary) to force the executor to provide invoices/justification for the money that has been taken from the estate?


    I would welcome your advice
    Tags: None

  • silvernet
    replied
    Sorry, I did not know and I have now just started my own thread. Thanks

    Leave a comment:


  • des8
    replied
    silvernet Welcome, but please start your own thread if you want help.
    Hijacking another's only leads to confusion

    Leave a comment:


  • silvernet
    replied
    Hi, JUSTANOLDUN, I have come across your posts with regards to your experience of dealing with an uncooperative executor who refused to send detailed final estate accounts to a Residuary Beneficiary. My wife who is also a residuary beneficiary is now finding herself in exactly the same position as your wife with regards to dealing with a difficult executor. I am hoping that you could be kind enough to reply back to myself, in order to help me with some guidance regarding the process for the application for an inventory and account from the probate registry alongside the affidavit and also for the cost for summary assessment. We are also trying to do as much of the work ourselves in order to keep the cost down, as we know it can be a very expensive process. Many thanks. SILVERNET

    Leave a comment:


  • des8
    replied
    It's a long road to obtain justice sometimes (or often)

    Leave a comment:


  • justanoldun
    replied
    Further update.
    On Friday 9th Oct an HCEO visited the executors and, after protestations and lots of argy bargy, extracted our costs plus enforcement costs. Final words from executor were " I'll take them to court" - I wish!
    The Police are still investigating the possibility of fraud - in their words " rather glaring evidence of wrongdoing"
    Patience is a virtue not given to many!

    Leave a comment:


  • des8
    replied
    Thanks for the update.

    Leave a comment:


  • Kezwhi
    replied
    Each letter you receive is one step closer to answers and closure. At least you have a two week window where you know they have to pay or the escalation process commences. Hope you and your wife are keeping as well as you can be.

    Leave a comment:


  • justanoldun
    replied
    Well we have moved on a bit. The High court writ has been received by the court enforcement services and they have given the executors 14 days to pay before escalation process begins. No surprise that the executors have written to us threatening to sue if we d not pay their expenses (which just happen to be the same as ours} by the same date. Our reply was that we would welcome the opportunity to go to court at their expense.
    As per the registrar's advice we have contacted the police re fraud by the administrators as they have taken money from the estate (on their own admission) to administer the estate. They are investigating but I believe any case goes to triage so maybe nothing will be done. Still persuing an allegation of fraud re the PLC carrying out probate work without relevant certification and charging for this service.

    Leave a comment:


  • Kezwhi
    replied
    Goodness me, really wish you well with getting the executor to court and them finally being accountable for their actions. This is all so wrong! Please keep us updated as I really want to hear that you and the other beneficiaries get justice.

    Leave a comment:


  • des8
    replied
    Well good luck with that

    As a matter of interest a grant of probate is only an official document, sealed by the Probate Registry confirming that the person named on it is entitled to deal with the estate.

    Any party aggrieved by the actions of the personal representative can initiate action through the courts, although I was hoping that the registrar would have acted more forcibly as per sec 61 of the Non-Contentious Probate Rules and ordered attendance for examination by himself or a judge.
    Just the thought that the accounts were to be examined by a judge in court can bring an executor to their senses, but it looks as if you will have to do it the hard way

    Leave a comment:


  • justanoldun
    replied
    Our response to the registrar for which I expect I shall be rebuked

    Thank you for your email of 16th September 2020.

    You suggest that I ask the executors questions that have already been asked, to which I have had nothing but obfuscation. I have not seen a true and honest inventory and account as per your summons with penal notice. I have not seen one receipt or invoice to justify or explain their expenditure. The summons with penal notice said they must swear an Affidavit to a true and honest account and inventory. You see the Affidavit is not sworn and yet this doesn’t seem to matter either. I wonder just what more they could do to show their contempt for your summons. They have not complied with the summons as you suggest. They have provided another A4 sheet only increasing the charges to the estate, which are not valid and with no accompanying evidence. In fact the executors have treated your summons with derision.

    You also state that only a legal professional can charge for probate unless specifically stated in the will. It is not stated in the will and yet you suggest that no further action is possible from the Family Division and I must start the whole process again with the Chancery Division. I have pointed out to the executors time and time again that they are not qualified to charge for probate, again to no avail, and yet they have taken £17000 from the estate. You strongly suggest that residual beneficiaries get legal representation and consider referring the matter to the police to investigate as possible fraud. I have sought advice from several places regarding this and they have assured me the Registrar would take action.

    xxxxxxxxr wanted 14 EQUAL shares to go to her loved ones, this has NOT been the case. Indeed I have no evidence without any proper accounts that they have paid anything at all to some of the beneficiaries. I understood that probate was there to protect against such wrongdoings.

    I will take further legal advice as you suggested. The executors are demanding £1000 for me to see the full accounts. They have also invoiced me for the supposed over payment of my inheritance, on my share only incidentally. I forwarded this to you; I understand you may not yet have had sight of this. Again I would have thought this would prompt your attention?

    Needless to say I am disappointed in your response and your reluctance to persue the matter in view of the evidence supplied to you.

    Yours Faithfully

    Leave a comment:


  • des8
    replied
    I think you were lucky to get those pointers from the court.
    Generally they stick very closely to the directive that they don't give advice.

    Anyway, I wish you luck and would appreciate it if you could occasionally keep us updated as it may help others in a similar situation

    Leave a comment:


  • justanoldun
    replied
    Received 2 emails from the registrar today. The first gives us the case No which was a requirement of the enforcement services.
    The second is shown below:-
    Your email and attachments have now been considered by the District Probate Registrar who suggests that:-

    you ask the supplementary questions that have arisen as a result of seeing the estate accounts direct to Mr Hobbs and Julia Newell ie the change of figures from the previous account, why there was a need for indebtedness, why freeholders legal fees were paid by the estate and why the estate does not appear to have been split into 14 equal shares.

    A personal applicant is not entitled to costs of administering the estate save for routine out of pocket expenses. Only a legal professional is entitled to charge to act and this is only where the will contains a charging clause.

    As the Respondents have complied with the order, albeit the Inventory and Account is not sworn, there is no further action possible in the Family Division and if you do not receive satisfactory responses to the supplementary issues then an action in the Chancery Division (Business and Property Courts) will be necessary.

    The Registrar would strongly suggest that the beneficiaries seek legal advice and in relation to any possible mishandling of the estate assets, consider referring the matter to the police to investigate as potential fraud.

    As to costs, as this is now a judgement debt it can be pursued through the small claims court.

    Details of the other courts procedure should be available on the Gov.uk website.

    Winchester District Probate Registry
    The Law Courts
    Southside Offices
    WINCHESTER
    SO23 9EL

    To say we are disappointed with the response is an understatement but am heartened by the comments re fraud. We had already made the queries to the executor as suggested which drew the response I mentioned in my last post and was copied to the registrar. Of course that was not considered by the registrar in the email shown above - there is a 2 to 3 week delay with any correspondence so it may be that there is a further email to come.
    I cannot see however how the executors can not be considered to be in contempt? It would seem that no-one is interested in whatever an executor does. Intend to take your advice re free consultation with a contentious probate solicitor.
    Regards

    Leave a comment:


  • des8
    replied
    I don't think they are entitled to charge for the account (but will have to check)
    Bear in mind he should be keeping the accounts up to date, so how much does it cost to photocopy half a dozen sheets, pop them in an envelope and stick a stamp on!

    Leave a comment:

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