Okay, way off topic but it IS going to be d-i-y, even if it kills me. A
friend has been quoted the usual solicitor's fees of £150 an hour (and no we
couldn't possibly say how many hours it'll take etc etc) to do the
A will states that there must be 2 trustees before the executor can execute.
One has died and so another (her son) has to be appointed by the surviving
trustee. I gather this involves a deed of appointment, so does anyone know
what this form is called? These legal forms seem to have a CON prefix
Now I know that messing with the occult is dangerous, so please don't warn
me about the dangers, or suggest that solicitors fees represent good value.
I'm just not in the mood for it at the moment :-) However, if anyone has any
experience of this, or can point me in the right direction, I'd appreciate
On Sun, 16 Nov 2003 13:15:13 -0000, "stuart noble"
We have just been going through this issue with respect to my late
I completely agree with you that solicitors are licensed bandits in
regard to the whole process of dealing with the affairs of a deceased
person, followed swiftly by the Inland Revenue.
It sounds from what you are describing, that part or all of the estate
is being handled via a form of trust. You would need to find out
which type of trust it is because there are several types used in the
management of inheritance tax. There should be a separate trust
document somewhere, referenced by the will.
You could try contacting the Inland Revenue, since at least they don't
charge for information. They become intimately involved in the
process anyway as part of the granting of probate. In any case, any
IHT on liquid assets has to be paid before probate is granted and they
have a procedure for getting funds released from the deceased's estate
to do that if tax is due.
You could also try talking to an accountant. Generally they are
knowledgable on trusts and although they charge, as long as you don't
use a large firm will not charge anything like the figure you mention.
Care does need to be taken with trusts because getting things wrong in
terms of the structure can have severe tax implications. Otherwise,
for the most part, the processes are tedious and drawn out rather than
difficult. You do have to use a notary at certain stages for the
trustees and benificiaries to declare who they are. However, this is
a £10 at a solicitor. The worst part about it all is having an
array of insensitive bureaucrats involved and laying bare the private
affairs of the deceased, just when the relatives are least able to
deal with it.
To email, substitute .nospam with .gl
I think the "trustees" bit only applies to the will itself. The executor is
one, the other one died, so we're short of trustees to the tune of one,
that's all. Certainly there is nothing trustish in the IHT area. Straight
down the 40% sink for most of it
The probate dept suggested applying normally and they would decide in what
areas the will was deficient, and presumably advise how to put things right.
I've handled a couple of probates which, despite the grave warnings from
legal eagles, were about as easy as falling off a log.
I think the worst bit is solicitors making straightforward things
complicated. 20 years ago they draft a will that follows the intestacy rules
to the letter (and is therefore pointless), only they insert a clause
specifying 2 trustees. 10 years on, the 2nd trustee dies and, despite
handling the probate, they neglect to appoint a 2nd trustee. So for the last
10 years of your life you have a will that says you must have 2 trustees,
and you only have one. I wouldn't be surprised if probate took the view that
if the deceased wasn't bothered about it nor should they be.
What this episode suggests to me is that you're better dying intestate with
all your real money tied up in pictures, coins, stamps, anything without a
On Sun, 16 Nov 2003 16:55:44 -0000, "stuart noble"
OK, then it sounds like you are simply one executor short. It seems
to be customary to have the deceased's solicitor as an executor, but
it doesn't have to be that way. I am sure that when wills are
drafted, the solicitor does that automatically. I suppose that
there is some sense in having a non-beneficiary as one of the
executors in order to ensure fair play, but this is an expensive way
to do it.
If there is only one beneficiary then this is simplified.
It's also worth reading carefully through some of their IHT
information for the timings on when tax is due on different aspects of
the estate, as well as what is deductable before IHT.
We've found the Inland Revenue reasonably helpful, but it is clear
that they are also out to make sure that the tax gets paid.
Inevitably statements and other documents relating to savings etc.
will turn up for some time, but as long as the main amounts of IHT
that are payable on liquid assets and in due course sale of property,
they are quite reasonable albeit very slow.
Exactly, or by the use of suitable legal investment vehicles
To email, substitute .nospam with .gl
Absolutely do NOT allow this to happen.
My mother thought she would keep everything in order, and avoid family
strife, by appointing a reputable firm of solicitors to provide
executors, so the firm would still be there even if something went wrong
with a named executor.
The firm changed hands, and the new subcontinental owners stole an awful
lot of the assets, and let the house deteriorate for 18 months - if I
hadn't drained water etc it could have fallen down.
It was also used as an address by illegal immigrants, who used it to get
The whole thing was neglect and thievery (including wedding rings, etc
that they were supposed to value) and I was not allowed to complain as I
was not a residuary beneficiary.
Other pillars of the legal establishment said she was a silly old woman
to entrust her affairs in this way, and she should have known better; but
solicitors don't have health warnings on their offices.
Never, ever ever trust one. You have to use them, but watch them every
They should be used for scientific tests - there's some things a rat
On Sun, 16 Nov 2003 19:18:24 +0000 (UTC), mike ring
I concur with these comments.
Both my parents died in quick succession early last year. Neither left
a will. I immediately contacted a solicitor local to them for advice,
primarily because when Dad died it left Mum all alone in a nursing
home, and Dad had asked me to make sure that Mum was okay if anything
ever happened to him (I'd been responsible for Mum being placed in a
home when Dad could no longer cope thanks to his own illness).
Within a short time the solicitor had approached the probate office
and had my sister and I assigned as administrators for the estate. The
solicitor was then formally engaged to look after the legal angle.
Nearly 2 years later the solicitor has refused (for nearly 5 months
now) to answer letters, emails or telephone requests. I have delivered
multiple letters by recorded delivery so there's no way he can excuse
himself for not having received them. He's just gone quiet and won't
answer reasonable questions - like "what is the current state of the
finances on the estate?".
The solicitor wrote to me/my sister over 6 months ago to advise that
his office had been broken into and all his records had been trashed.
There'a s flashing red beacon on this situation for me as a result.
The affair is now in the hands of the Law Society because as an
administrator (or executor) of an estate I have powers to report the
solicitor if he is refusing to do his duty, and they can investigate.
I imagine that if the Law Society find the solicitor isn't providing
the level of professional service he's expected to then they will hit
him hard. I'm awaiting that process completing (can take several
Meanwhile my sister (the other administrator) has left the country and
refused to give out her new address. The stupid bitch has acted
moronically from the outset, refusing to carry out the requests made
by the solicitor, stealing goods from my late fathers home, etc. That
may well have something to do with the solicitors attitude - however
in my book he should have stamped his authority on the arrangement
early on and if she wasn't cooperating she should have been carpeted
via the probate office - they have the authority of the high court so
can't be ignored.
Thanks entirely to the actions of my sister our family has fallen out
big time even though a solicitor was engaged. That's because my sister
wanted to be in sole control of everything and found my presence
annoying to her own devious plans. She even went so far as to tell the
solicitor that my father had told her that I wasn't to be part of his
legacy, which I don't believe for one minute. I have some awful family
members in close proximity.
I'm really sorry to hear of youe experiences, too, pop, but don't expect
the Law Society to help.
While they were still talking to me before they found out I wasn't a
residuary beneficiary, they were not convinced that the solicitors
perfomance was on the face of it, all that bad!
The fight passed to the grandchildren, busy young parents who came in to
the thing a year later, after thinking it was down to me, so were not up
on things anyhow.
Unfortunately lawyers all seem to be self selected and highly trained
scum, perhaps thats why so many go into parliament, the one I used to
settle my bit of the estate I'd used before and was pretty straight, but
not so straight he would break into a sweat for a client at 125 quid an
All the others I've come across were out and out villains, the Law
Society is not interested in changing that
Best wishes with your problems
I fully concur, never, ever think that these people are there to represent
you or will do their best by you. They are there to extract money from you,
and, unlike most jobs, whether they come up trumps or screw up big time
they still get your money. As far as possible DYOR and bone up on the
subject - get independent advice ( the net is useful in this respect ), so
can ask pertinent questions and quiz them about progress.
I lost far more money by going to a solicitor when my Mum was plunged
into financial trouble than I ever would have by just putting my
hand deep in my pocket in the first place. The law is equally useless; it is
not a system for dispensing natural justice, it is a system for producing a
result that satisfies itself. The only person in this world that really
represents you is....you.
Sorry, rant over...
You are more likely to get a reply if you post to the uk.legal NG. Whatever
you may think of solicitors or their charges make damn sure you do the job
correctly because if you don't you could well end up with a much larger bill
later on to sort the mess out. It is well worth shopping around.
Peter Crosland email@example.com
On Sun, 16 Nov 2003 13:15:13 -0000, "stuart noble"
That is circular, if that clause about two trustees is binding then the
surviving person named as an executor has no power to appoint anyone.
Do not DIY that one bit, at least get legal advice on who may administer
the estate and whether they may do it alone.
the will. Presumably they can always give the next of kin letters of
administration instead. I can't believe a deceased executor is any more
unusual than a deceased beneficiary, and there's a system in place to deal
solicitor who doesn't seem to charge 'too' much and having used him for a
number of years has always been pretty fair. (I know many will wonder if he
is actually a solicitor if that is the case!).
You might want to give him a try if all else fails. He is Philip Crowe,
based in York (but that shouldn't matter) and his number is 01904 691000.
Also, many of the charities rely so heavily on donations made in wills that
they have their own solicitors who may be able to give advice, perhaps if
you offered them a fixed amount for their help.
I've been through a similar experience too. Your post isn't totally clear
about the detail, but you need to be clear about the definitions of executor
and trustee - they're very different in law and reality.
The executors are the administrators and will execute the will, deal with
probate oversee distribution etc. They're usually named in the will, and
there are usually at least two so that if something happens to one, the
other one can take it all on. It is common, but not necessary for one of the
executors to be a professional (ie a solicitor). The administration is the
bit that you can do yourself if you want to take on the work, and deal with
the IR forms etc, you're confident that the Will is likely to be
Trusteeship is totally different. The first point is that if you need to
appoint a new trustee then it requires more than a form - you will need a
Deed of Appointment, and while this may approach a standard document, IME it
would need to be pepared by a solicitor. As someone else said there are
different types of trust and also different reasons for introducing them.
It's an extremely specialist area, and if the will passes the estate into a
trust then you need to have a good idea on why its happening - if you're not
careful you can unravel all kinds of problems associated with mutual benefit
between spouses, inheritance tax, long term care etc etc... That doesn't
mean that a solicitor needs to be a trustee, but IMHO if there are
significant amounts of money involved, unless you're absolutely clear what's
happening and why, at least seek some advice.
I'll preface this by saying that I'm not a solicitor and have no
professional interest in the way the law operates, but my last point is
about your dealings with solicitors. They are there to work for you, and
most of them do that satisfactorily - in my experience dealings with lawyers
are no better or worse than dealings with other professions (builders...
estate agents... accountants?!), the problem is that most of the work where
their expertise is important isn't always visible. Believe it or not, most
reputable solicitors do take their dealings with clients seriously, and that
includes issuing a letter of engagement that outlines the scope of the work,
the fees they charge, and most importantly, an estimate of the cost of the
work specified. You should always receive an LoE - the requirements are laid
out in the Law Society's "Practice Rule 15", which is incorporated in the
the Law Soc's Guide to Professional Conduct (available on the web, and the
reason I know about thsi rule is because I've used it!). My final point is
that like everything else you get what you pay for... you obviously need to
be happy with your representatitive, and that may or not mean the cheapest
is the best.
Anyhow, whatever you decide to do, I hope it works out, and I hope I don't
I do wish people wouldn't roll out this old aphorism all the time.
Nowadays especially it's even more untrue than it used to be. Goods
are no longer priced by their value (i.e. according to the raw
materials plus cost of labour), they are priced by market forces.
So you most definitely do *not*, as a general rule, get what you pay
In particular, for this group, I'm very unconvinced that 'premium' or
'professional' tools are really worth the extra one pays for them in
comparison to 'diy' tools.
As regards solicitors, hmmm, I'm not sure! :-)
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