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solicitor not releasing money

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  • solicitor not releasing money

    Hi i am the executor of my fathers will. The bank would not release money without probate. i took on the solicitor who drew up the will to sort out probate,(money and house) it seemed like it should be straight forward.
    There was £12,000 in bank plus isa's totalling £15,000. He jointly owned the house debt free with his wife (they were legally seperated but not divorced) my mother, she is the sole beneficiary . No inheritance tax due as house value was £70,000.
    I paid all utilities, paid for the funeral, three months later and the solicitor is still to pass on the money or declare the house is now mums.
    They say that the DWP sent a letter querrying possible overpayment and that means they can't release the inheritance to me to disperse ( or even hold) until they have dealt with it.
    I have become disillusioned with their services as they were told the exact amount in question in my fathers account on day one, yet sent me a filled in executors oath form with the wrong amount. I contacted them and told them it was incorrect, (they had his bank account £11,000 under) they said to get it sworn anyway, with misgivings i did, took it straight to them. A week later another letter arrives with an executor oath form the correct amount is on it and i have to get it re-witnessed and handed it into them.
    I told them that since i paid for the funeral cost (they have the reciept) personally for £3,000 and his insurance (which they are also holding onto) was only £907 i would like this finished as am not wealthy and need reimbursing they promised a check solely for cost of funeral it hasn't arrived (2 weeks later)
    As they are charging me £600 inc vat plus £35 per letter and £10 per phone call i want this finished, please advice.
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  • #2
    Re: solicitor not releasing money

    Have you contacted DWP to confirm what the solicitor stated?

    I quick call to the solicitor regurlatory authority making a complaint about the time its taking this solicitor may be called for - http://www.sra.org.uk/home/home.page
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    • #3
      Re: solicitor not releasing money

      Not yet contacted the DWP, the letter from them to the solicitor stated an overpayment after my father died of a couple of hundred pounds that the solicitor said they would pay, DWP also said that they would check if they had overpaid him due to his savings.
      My uncle works for DWP he says it's just standard practice to send these letters, doesn't necessarily mean anything (other than the overpayment, paid after his death - despite me swiftly informing them of his death - which they will claim back) Have yet to complain to SRA, but might early next week, was hoping to find out if what the solicitor said about not releasing the estate to me (I am the executor) due to DWP letter was true or not.

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      • #4
        Re: solicitor not releasing money

        Is the solicitor named as executor in the will?
        or has he just been instructed to deal with probate?

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        • #5
          Re: solicitor not releasing money

          Originally posted by builder View Post
          Hi i am the executor of my fathers will [...] i took on the solicitor who drew up the will to sort out probate,(money and house) ...
          You alone. The solicitor is merely acting on your instructions.

          The bank would not release money without probate.
          As long as you can show them a copy of the Death Certificate and a valid Will (never give them the original), they must release the money to you, or your authorised representative.

          I paid all utilities, paid for the funeral, three months later and the solicitor is still to pass on the money or declare the house is now mums.
          They need to be sacked, and fast. As Teaboy2 suggests, time to involve the SRA.

          Frankly, it stinks.

          They say that the DWP sent a letter querrying possible overpayment and that means they can't release the inheritance to me to disperse (or even hold) until they have dealt with it.
          Require them to produce this letter. It is true that the DWP routinely sends out wild, speculative claims.

          I told them that since i paid for the funeral cost (they have the reciept) personally for £3,000 and his insurance (which they are also holding onto) ...
          Are they actually in possession of this money?

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          • #6
            Re: solicitor not releasing money

            I am the sole executor, the building society (Halifax) said despite the will and death certificate being produced i needed probate, as money was more than £25,000.
            I found out 0n the 14th of April by going into the Halifax that they had released the money to the solicitor 2 weeks previous, t this point i contacted the solicitor and got an appointment for 5 days later, this is when i was shown the DWP letter and i complained about the length of time and about not being informed about them having recieved the money.
            I told them that i had paid the bills as they were aware, that i was currently repairing the house, (was in real bad disrepair) and that had cost £3,500 plus so far and that the funeral cost £3,000 i could ill afford, the solicitor said she would send a check for the funeral costs, it's now May 3rd and no cheque and just recieved a letter yesterday stating "We write to confirm that we will advise you as soon as we hear from the DWP Recovery from estates Department as to whether or not there is to be a claim made against the estate."(thats another£35 letter)
            As i said i told them to release the money and hand back the deeds and was told that they legally could not due to DWP situation.

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            • #7
              Re: solicitor not releasing money

              They should be dealing with you as executor and not the solicitor who has been instructed to deal with the probate issue only. Once that is granted it's all down to you again, unless you have signed something giving the solicitor permission to deal with everything.

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              • #8
                Re: solicitor not releasing money

                They should be dealing with you as executor and not the solicitor
                Thats what i thought, but the solicitor has a different opinion, she had me sign an indemnity form when i was there, thought that was to allow me to get the inheritance to give to my mum. Recieved a letter from solicitor on 17th April that says the following:
                "We will not be in a posistion to distribute the estate until we have recieved confirmation from the DWP that no claim is to be made."
                That is exactly what the solicitor states in the letter.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: solicitor not releasing money

                  It seems that the grant of probate has named the solicitors as administrators and was not a grant of representation for the executor,
                  hence Halifax releasing funds to solicitor.

                  However as funerary expenses are priority debt the solicitors should reimburse the op immediately.
                  There was no need for the solicitor to write a further expensive letter confirming what was already known about DWP claim, and the cost of that letter should be deducted from their final bill. They should just have sent the cheque.

                  Complaining to SRA will get no where..... a formal complaint has to be made through the solicitors own complaints procedure (details of this should be given to clients when engaging a solicitor) and if no satisfaction is forth coming the next step is the Legal Ombudsman Service,

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                  • #10
                    Re: solicitor not releasing money

                    It seems that the grant of probate has named the solicitors as administrators and was not a grant of representation for the executor
                    I think you are right, my contract with them makes no mention of this however. In fact it is vague, when i asked for their help i said i wanted a letter of probate to take the bank to get my mum the money and for them to have the houses title of ownership updated from mum and dads name (joint ownership) to just mums and that's all. At no point did i ask them to administrate.
                    What irritated me first was they took my copy of the will, (and didn't return it) despite them already having a copy themselves which meant when i filled in his life insurance claim form i had to go to them with the form to send it off, hence they then got the life insurance money as they put it in their name, despite me filling it in with my details. i took the form to their office with a letter saying " could you put my copy of the will in this envelope and send it off with the form i've already filled in so i can get the insurance.
                    They have already payed the £301.06 pension refund the DWP paid out after his death and yet here we are in may exactly 13 weeks after i retained their services with no resolution because they are waiting on the DWP to make a decision about whether his savings meant he was paid too much or not (i think?)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: solicitor not releasing money

                      Hi Builder

                      I'm sorry for your loss and for this extra hassle at a time when you need it least.

                      I agree with the above analyses that this is very dodgy indeed. It's not unknown (but not lawful) for solicitors to use clients money to ameliorate personal cash-flow.

                      In your position I would:

                      - write to the Managing Partner of your solicitor's practice

                      - head the letter "Formal Complaint"

                      - say that you hereby invoke their formal complaints procedure and that you require them to investigate at no cost to you

                      - list your complaints (and your requirements in remedy)

                      - if this doesn't produce satisfaction within 8 weeks then the SRA/LOS will have a duty to investigate at your request.

                      HTH
                      “Find a place inside where there's joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” Joseph Campbell

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: solicitor not releasing money

                        Thanks MissFM and everyone else for your replies, it's a bank holiday on Monday so will phone DWP on Tuesday see what they have to say, then probably be putting in the complaint.

                        Comment

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