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Submit for inventory and account or go straight to solictor?

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  • Submit for inventory and account or go straight to solictor?


    Wondering if anyone can please help with my questions.

    3 years ago my father passed away without a valid will, leaving his estate intestate to my mother in law.

    My father was only married to her for 18 months, she was living in my fatherís property.

    After he passed, during the period that I took on expensive legal advice and eventually mother-in-law agreed to a 75% (to her) / 25% split with her as executor.

    Since the agreement, I have recently discovered that she rented out the accommodation for at least two years after dadís passing. I am now in contact with one of the former tenants during that time, who indicated that he paid more than 1000 a month in rental costs, which is a far cry from the 100 a month that I can see listed in the draft accounts.

    Also in the draft accounts, my mother in law has claimed that my father in lawís bank accounts had nothing remaining in them, but I have found some bank statements that suggest otherwise.

    These are the first red flags, but I can see the property was sold well under market value and as far as I can tell she was in no rush to sell whilst renting out my fatherís home.

    I decided to phase out my solicitor several months ago due to growing legal costs but now with the above information coming to light I think I may have a different case to go forward with

    1. what is the situation with regards to fraud, and if yes what options should I look into? what inexpensive options do I have?
    2. I am yet to receive the inheritance based upon the 75/25 split. should I accept the draft accounts prepared, receive payment from the estate, wait for her to submit to HMRC and then go forward or should I do something before she submits accounts?
    3. how would a court approach this after an agreement has already been made?
    4. should we apply to remove her as executor so we can gain access to manage the estate properly and if so could we do this ourselves? Or is it too late?

    Thank you I appreciate the advice.

    Tags: None

  • #2
    IHT forms should be submitted to HMRC within 1 year of the deceased's date of death, otherwise there may be a penalty to pay. Are you sure the executor didn't submit IHT forms, obtain probate, and is now about to let HMRC know that the property that was valued at the time of death did not achieve the valuation figure when it was sold?
    Do you know the value of your father's estate? Was his property jointly owned with your stepmother (not mother-in-law)? Depending on the value of the estate (excluding jointly owned assets) you may be legally entitled to a share of his estate. If the remainder of his estate is below £322K you are not entitled to anything and your stepmother has agreed to give you 25% which she didn't have to.
    Your stepmother was permitted to rent out accommodation after your father's death. For IHT HMRC will not be interested in the amount of rent received, only in the value of the estate at the time of death
    If your stepmother, as executor, provides incorrect information to HMRC about amounts in your father's bank accounts at the time of his death, then, as HMRC has the authority to access bank accounts, she may find herself in trouble with HMRC.
    Another possible penalty to pay that should, unless there is a very good reason, come from the executor's own funds. .


    • #3
      When I wrote "the executor" I should have said "your stepmother" and "obtain probate" I should have said "obtain letters of administration" as there was no will.


      • #4
        Thank you for the reply. My father had a will with myself as the only beneficiary but it was not witnessed.
        I am since aware that the first 322k would go to my mother-in-law, and the previously mentioned legal back and forth resulted in an eventual deed of variation to give me 25% with the remaining 75% to her.

        All IHT was submitted but accounts are still draft, and haven't been submitted to probate yet.

        I'm currently wondering about misappropriation of estate assets, as the full rent hasn't been declared in draft accounts (among other things I've since discovered with regards to management of the estate), including possible withdrawals of money from my father's bank account before deed of variation was agreed.

        During the time that my stepmother rented the property for the supposed £100 a month, mortgage was not paid and large debts accrued over time.
        Last edited by FrankMcLroy; 20th November 2023, 13:55:PM.


        • #5
          You sound a bit confused.
          When you say "mother-in-law" do you mean "stepmother"?
          When you say "him" do you mean "her"?
          IHT forms are not submitted to Probate, only to HMRC
          There is no requirement to include rental income on IHT forms, income received after the date of death


          • #6
            I see that you have edited your last post but you have still left in "mother-in-law" in your first paragraph.
            Your stepmother and yourself, with the help of a solicitor, both signed a deed of variation, reducing the amount your stepmother would receive under the rules of intestacy so you could inherit a share of the estate.
            Your stepmother didn't have to do this, so you should think carefully about accusing her of misappropriation of estate funds and applying to court to remove her as administrator.


            • #7
              Why should they think carefully? If there's misappropriation of estate assets, does the law not apply?
              Last edited by Jane74; 20th November 2023, 15:19:PM.


              • #8
                Jane74 Please read all previous posts on this thread. The only "evidence" that Frank has is that he has found his father's bank accounts that have some money in them, and are not empty as his stepmother claimed.
                A deceased persons bank accounts are personal documents and should only be viewed by the executor/administrator and HMRC
                Stepmother's solicitor is likely to defend a claim on this basis.


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