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Thread: Estate sign off and distribution

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  1. #1
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    Default Estate sign off and distribution

    Hi, I'm sure to most on here this would be easy to answer but id just like some clarification on a couple of things if possible. The probate on my dads estate is finally coming to a conclusion. The executrix has sent myself and my brother (we are both the residuary beneficiaries) the estate accounts to sign off. its a relatively small one, just under £50,000. Anyhow, I'm happy to sign off the accounts but my brother is still very emotive about issues with the executrix and is likely to refuse to sign off

    My issue is, that even though the executrix has collected all monies and put them in an executor account, she wont distribute anything until we have signed off the accounts. that includes monies left to six charities and small amounts left to 3 grandchildren.
    question 1- can she distribute to the charities and grandchildren before estate account sign off or does everything have to wait
    question 2- can she distribute to me as residual beneficiary if I sign off the accounts and not my brother

    Many thanks in advance
    Last edited by crustypants; 5th September 2016 at 21:42:PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Estate sign off and distribution

    @des8 ..when you have time. Hello Crusty, sorry to hear of these problems.

    I have requested that des8 who is excellent at this sort of thing, assist you when he has time. He is a very busy man helping people on here, besides having his own life away.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Estate sign off and distribution

    thank you so much

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Estate sign off and distribution

    Hi and welcome.
    Deaths, wills and beneficiaries must be responsible for more family disputes than any other cause!
    As I see it the executrix has three options:
    1) to distribute any way without your brother's approval of the accounts
    2)refer the accounts to court for examination and directions
    3) make application to court for an order under Trustee Act 1925 to pay the estate into court

    The potential problem with option 1 is that your brother could (not necessarily will) bring an action against the estate.
    Do his reasons for not agreeing the accounts have any validity and is he likely to start contentious litigation?

    Options 2) and 3) also have cost implications

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    Default Re: Estate sign off and distribution

    Hi des8, thanks for replying.
    there is nothing contentious with regards to what money goes where and to who, it is basically to six charities, 3 grandchildren and the rest split between me and my brother as residual beneficiarys. the will was clear on that. no issues what so ever.
    my father died in 8 years ago and probate only got passed about February. the reason it took so long was because the will was worded so badly (written by my dads then partner, the Executrix) with regards to who the Executors should be. The probate office granted it to my dads partner first, then after we remonstrated with them, they said it could be myself and my brother. finally we all received a letter stating it was to be all 3 of us or fight it out in court basically. Anyway, Caveat after Caveat, my brothers one lapsed and she applied, the probate office granted it to her and she collected all the monies from my dads accounts. so the reason my brother possibly wont sign the accounts off is because he is pissed at her getting to be executrix.
    For me, I am gutted that she has got it, but I just want the whole thing sorted and finished as it is 8 long years. The people in the wrong to me are the probate office for granting it to her. we still have the letter from them stating it had to be all 3 of us or go to court. When we contacted them to complain they just said they granted it to her because they hadn't taken the other communications into account.
    But I wondered if she was supposed to pay the other beneficiaries, i.e charities and grandchildren before presenting us with the final account to sign off.
    Last edited by crustypants; 5th September 2016 at 21:44:PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Estate sign off and distribution

    Having the beneficiaries "sign off" is only to give the executrix a little peace of mind, as it releases the executrix from further liability to the beneficiaries in the absence of fraud or failure to disclose assets
    The monies payable to the charities and grandchildren will be due interest on the amounts (4% I think) until paid. That interest comes out of the residuary beneficiaries share so perhaps your brother should be told his stupidity is reducing the amount of his legacy.





    I must admit i don't understand why anyone would want to be executor.
    The responsibilities and potential liabilities of the position if you get it wrong can be frightening.
    However, with a small estate there really shouldn't be a problem, and being pissed off is not a reason recognized by the courts for challenging an executors actions.

    If she continues to refuse to distribute the assets, you could make application for a court to order the distribution.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Estate sign off and distribution

    Thanks again for you're reply and help. I understand what you mean about being executor but the reason it meant so much to us was that before my dad passed away we weren't getting along to well and it was sort of my dads dying wish for us two to work together on it as a way trying to reconcile us. Unfortunately the way his partner worded it was such that if we both continued our differences then she would assume control and have the final say. Unfortunately she has used that as her way to grab control even though my brother and myself have reconciled. Funnily enough it was really over challenging her. But 8 years is too much and I just want it sorted now whereas my brother is far more emotive.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Estate sign off and distribution

    So your father's attempt to reconciliation has worked in one sense, but caused problems elsewhere.
    I always find disputes around wills etc so disheartening, but not unusual
    Well, there is no point in raking over the coals now, you are where you are.
    I can only recommend your brother bites his tongue and accepts the status quo as any other course is going to cost, and make any reconciliation with your late father's partner more remote.
    Not an outcome your father would have wanted.

  9. #9
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    Default Estate final accounts sign off

    Hi, me again I'm afraid,
    The Executrix is badgering me and my brother to sign off the accounts for my late fathers estate. I'm keen to get it all signed off to get things moving but as it stands it looks like the executrix is still taking legal advice and therefore there will be more legal costs added to the estate, in which case the accounts she has presented me with will be wrong. Am I right in thinking that I shouldn't be signing the accounts unless they are actually FINAL and no more solicitors bills to be accounted for after the event.


    Thanks in advance

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Estate sign off and distribution

    tagging @des8 xx
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Estate sign off and distribution

    If the executrix presents you (as a main residual beneficiary) with "final" accounts for signing, and the accounts as presented balance, there is no reason why you should not sign them.
    You say "it looks like" so I assume there is no certainty about her seeking further advice, and even if she is, the consultations could already have been accounted for.

    If you sign off the accounts, and you then receive your legacy, the executrix could be personally liable if any further creditors of the estate make a claim.
    Solicitor's costs would be so classed.
    If she was wise she would have effected Executors Liability Insurance.
    If having signed off the accounts, but prior to distribution being made, an omission was discovered, amended accounts could be submitted

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Estate sign off and distribution

    Thanks for replying, and you're help. I may have worded my post slightly wrong. In email correspondence during this past week with the executrix, she said that due to the further delays she has taken more legal advice from her solicitor and wants to sort it sooner rather than later to keep the legal costs as low as possible. Therefore one would naturally assume that she is being charged for the advice and therefore she will add it on to the bill. Surely I can't sign them if she's going to keep adding to them? They are either final or not final accounts
    Thanks.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Estate sign off and distribution

    I would sign them.
    The advice she sought may have been via a quick telephone call which solicitor is not charging for.
    I think you have to take things at face value, especially there is little you can do except refuse to sign .
    You appear not to have any concrete evidence that these are not the final accounts, solely an assumption there might be further costs.
    There appears to be no reason to challenge the figures, and in any event they are not to your detriment.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Estate sign off and distribution

    Ok, so to put it another way, if I sign them send them back and when distributing the estate myself and my brothers residual amount are down say £500 each to which she claims is due to extra solicitors costs since she issued us with the final accounts. Can she just do that?

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Estate sign off and distribution

    Not if they have been agreed
    But to recover the shortage won't be as easy as saying she can't with hold it!

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Estate sign off and distribution

    Ok, I have received an email from the executrix today regarding my question to her whether there are likely to be more fees added and are these actually the final accounts. Her response is that actually these are only draft accounts, so they are not FINAL and there is currently one more solicitors bill to add since the accounts were sent to me.
    Should I actually be signing them or not? I really don't want to sign something that is liable to change.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Estate sign off and distribution

    Can't really see why she would want you to sign final accounts that aren't as it could only cause her problems!
    No reason why you shouldn't sign them but only sign do so if you annonate that you understand they are not final but only provisional draft accounts.
    When you return them be ever so polite and thank her for keeping you informed!!

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Estate sign off and distribution

    Cheers again, Des8. you're certainly worth you're wait in salt. Im assuming adding the annonate means as such that my signature is releasing her from her legalities duty as such, so she cant say " well they signed them"

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Estate sign off and distribution

    I just don't understand why she would want you to sign "final" accounts when she knows there will be more costs to be charged.
    It could mean her having to meet the costs herself and not the estate.
    Mark them as suggested, just in case she has something up her sleeve.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Estate sign off and distribution

    I am right in thinking though Des8, that I am not legally bound to sign the accounts off for the estate to be distributed? it is purely just something that's asked of the residual beneficiary's by the exector/trix to give them no comebacks. Im still intending too but its nice to know

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Estate sign off and distribution

    Basically you are right, in that you do not have to agree the accounts
    However approval of the accounts the accounts releases the Executor from further liability to the beneficiaries in the absence of fraud or failure to disclose assets.
    If you were to refuse the executor could reasonably ask why and so delay distribution, as they would not want the threat of action being taken against themselves.
    This is more relevant when IHT and HMRC are involved.
    Before signing off the accounts you, as a residual beneficiary, are entitled to see all source documents etc to check those accounts
    Distribution of the estate assets can take place without your approval, your signature is not mandatory
    Last edited by des8; 6th September 2016 at 07:40:AM.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Estate sign off and distribution

    should the Executor supply me with a copy of the will proven at probate? since I first received these so called draft accounts I asked if she could also send me a copy of the will that she had proven at probate. I ask this because at the point of my father passing away she gave me and my brother a will signed by my dad. then during a meeting with a solicitor with all 3 of us, she popped out another one that was different to ours. the probate office have both copies. But since she became executor obviously only one of them would have been proven for probate purposes. I thought it odd that we never received a copy with the accounts, and at every turn when asked, she has either the question, said she hasn't got one and the last email I received even told me to go to her solicitor myself and ask for one. By then I was fuming. Any how, today I received an email saying, "I have today posted a photocopy of the copy Will Mr Rogers sent me, as requested. My files show only the first page was sent to me."
    Something's not right here and I'm getting more concerned with every email.
    I don't believe I should have to apply to probate to get a copy myself, being a residual beneficiary.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Estate sign off and distribution

    If you are genuinely concerned, would you trust her to send a copy of the will which has been proved?
    If I was in your shoes I would pay to ensure I obtained the correct copy.

    As a residuary beneficiary you are entitled to see the will

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Estate sign off and distribution

    I agree entirely but over the course of about 8 or 9 emails she has pretty much done everything possible to not send me one. that cant be right surely? that's why I want her to go to the effort to send me one. I will of course get my own one from probate and if it proves to be different then obviously we go from there, but I just wanted confirmation that I was in my right asking her to send me one.
    Thanks again Des8

  25. #25
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    Default Estate paid into court for distribution

    Hi, does anyone know if there is a standard fee to apply to a probate court for an estate to be paid into them for distribution. Is it something that can escalate into thousands?
    many thanks

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