Case study: inheritance dispute after non-executor took money from estate funds
Our inheritance disputes solicitors advised an executor on the terms of his father’s Will and on securing his interest in an unregistered property. As the case developed, our team discovered that our client’s mother had taken sums of money from the estate.
Our client, Mr F, was named as an executor of his father’s Will when he died in August 2018.
His father had a half share of the family property and created a Life Interest Trust in favour of his wife (our client’s mother), giving her the right to live in the property after his death. His mother was not named as an executor in the Will.
Initial concerns non executor would sell the house
The residuary beneficiaries in the Will did not want to receive any inheritance, so our solicitors prepared a Deed of Variation (a legal document allowing amendments to a Will) naming our client’s grandchildren as the residuary beneficiaries instead.
As the property was unregistered, if the mother sold the property, we were concerned that she might keep the whole of the proceeds of the sale. We therefore applied to register the house with HM Land Registry to protect the estate’s half share of the property.
We subsequently obtained a grant of probate for Mr F.
Sums of money missing from estate fund
While gathering financial information for the grant of probate application, it became apparent that our client’s mother had been in contact with several banks and insurance companies who had paid out significant sums of money to her that should have gone into the estate fund.
As the mother was refusing to return the funds to the estate, our solicitors made a money claim against her. She failed to adequately respond, allowing us to apply for default judgment to recover the funds to which the estate was entitled.
Dealing with a loved one’s estate can seem like a daunting task. Our highly experienced lawyers are here to offer the sensitive, practical support you need.