26 Feb 2015

A question about : Beneficiaries' right to see estate accounts

Do non-residuary beneficiaries have a right to see estate accounts so long as they receive their (fixed) bequest?

Best answers:

  • I don't believe it is a requirement to show a non-residuary beneficiary the estate accounts.
    When giving a legatee their fixed bequest, I did give them a copy of the Will to prove that their legacy given was as stated in the Will.
    A residuary beneficiary is entitled to see the estate accounts, and can ask prior to distribution if they so wish.
    You should seek legal advice for the definitive answer if needed.
  • If a solicitor states they are going to give a beneficiary a copy of the estate accounts so the beneficiary can decide on their legal rights ( Scotland) or the provision in the will, do they have to do this by law ?
    If you are a named beneficiary in a will does the executor have to give you a copy of the estate accounts if you ask ?
    What can you do if you ask and they won't pass them on ?
    Can you ask the financial institutions directly ?
    The list of the accounts and how much was in the accounts is public knowledge because it should all be on probate and as public information.
    Are the financial institutions legally obliged to give this information which is supposed to be public, to a named beneficiary ?
    What happens when the financial institutions refuse ?
    How can a beneficiary check an executor has been honest if the executor is refusing to give the beneficiary the estate accounts ?
    Does the law do enough to protect a deceased from a 'fraudulent' executor ?
    Would welcome discussion on these questions ...
    Or clear answers !!!
  • Dear Leslie999,
    I'm not sure where you've got your information from, but it isn't quite correct. For Scottish law you will need to check that specifically as it does vary from English law. But some answers to your questions (with the English/Scottish law caveat):
  • Will post later
  • Without knowing the full ins and outs it is nigh on impossible to answer this definitively. In England the only way I believe an executor can be removed is if they are acting against the law or if they agree to be removed. The costs with this are high and should the executor win they can claim the costs from the estate and as such leave the estate with no monies to disperse.
    I would ask how you know the executor is not acting in the interests of the estate. If the court has ordered that he/she/they produce proof that they are acting in the interests of the estate why as yet they havent and why the court as not imposed sanctions
  • The probate paperwork does give a bald figure of the net value of the estate BUT this might not be the IHT liability figure, as it only includes the asset legally owned by the deceased - ie it excludes being the beneficiary of trusts etc.
    If probate has not yet been granted you can enter a caution against the grant of probate to allow you time to take your case to court.
    If you discover you are dependent on the deceased but been ignored in the will or intestacy then you have 6 months from probate to make your claim.
  • The English Law is a s s , a crooked solicitor is hard to beat, he will wiggle and turn and wiggle and turn, he will respond with ridiculous answers and it justs costs the estate money, do not trust solicitors that are executors, they know what they are doing, also do not let the executor sell properties on the estate, keep an eye on them, they have friends waiting to purchase the property at under the going price then they get a drink for their effort, The legal ombudsman is a waste of time, the people there are laymen, when the solicitor answers back to the complaint you have made they are baffled and pretend they know what they are talking about, the law is complicated enough with out having laymen challenging a solicitor for your complaint, you have no chance, also the SRA cant give advice as they are laymen too so you need to spend money on a solicitor which will work together with the other solicitor
  • In Scotland once confirmation has been granted then the executor has to follow the will and as with English law the only estate accounts that have to be given are to those who are residuary beneficiaries. Yes Confirmation in Scotland does give a lot more information that the English equivalent.
    I do believe in Scotland the will is attached to the confirmation similar to the will that is lodged with the probate office in England. Therefore you should have an idea of what debts were against the estate and what bequests were left. This will allow you to estimate what your mother is likely to receive.
    What other options has the solicitor laid down to you? I agree with him that the costs involved in removing the executor are very high and you have to be able to prove that he is not carrying out the duties to the letter of the law. Not answering your demands for accounts is not sufficient and to be fair until he is ready to pay out the bequests these may not have been prepared yet anyway
  • This is an old thread...
  • Ok I have a few issues I am hoping to be cleared up. My aunt passed away and her sister is the named executor. My father is the brother of the deceased sister (my father is also deceased). My aunt left a will and a trust. I have yet to be shown any of these but I am led to believe that I am in each of these. The trust has my brothers, my aunt, her two sons and my nephew stated in it.
    I contacted the lawyers to voice my concerns that I do not believe my aunt, as executor, is acting in the best interests of all the beneficiaries. I have asked my aunt three times for a copy of the will and trust to no avail, which makes me believe something is going on that she doesn't want to tell us. A new nephew has arrived recently and I'm sure she is trying to hide his inheritance as I'm sure this was stated in a will I had a glance over whilst in a meeting, but cannot be sure. It stated that any new great nieces or nephews shall be entitled to a share also. As a beneficiary, can I demand a copy of these or do I have to make an appointment with the lawyer as advised? This will cost a lot of money and I don't really want my aunt finding out that we have went against her and visited the lawyers.
    Am I legally entitled to see these documents? I am told by my aunt that she is not entitled to release the trust document (I think this is nonsense) as the lawyer has told her not to as it is not customary. Surely as a beneficiary it is reasonable enough to request this or will it be sent to me when the estate has been dealt with? Can anyone shed any light on this please?
    Thank you
  • You are not entitled to see the will until after probate.
    Less sure about the trust but I suspect the same applies - you can't see it until it's up and running.
    Your aunt (primarily) does not have to act in the best interests of all the beneficiaries - she has to act in accordance with the terms of the will - which may not be in the best interests of all the beneficiaries
  • Have a look if it's on www.probatesearch.service.gov.uk
    If it's there you can buy a copy to print out. It takes a few days to appear after you order it.