Solicitor holding my inheritance back for 6 months: why?
Hopefully you can help with the following….
My father died in last year and we have been granted probate but the solicitor who is the co executor along with my sister will not release any monies to us until 6 months have passed to make sure no one comes out of the woodwork to claim against the estate. What happens to the money the solicitor is holding for those 6 months? Will it accrue interest and if so at what rate? Is there any way we can get the money released to us sooner?
Please help as our solicitor dealing with this is from a small town and seems to be moving at a snails pace and I live abroad so cannot easily get in touch with them to speed things along!
Answer to the 6 month delaying in paying out.
The solicitor is protecting himself against any potential claims under the Family and Dependents Act 1975 – dependents or so called dependents might come out of the woodwork and claim that they had some sort of right to maintenance from your fathers estate. However unlikely, there could be (for example) a mistress with a child by your father, who would be perfectly entitled to claim – as would the child.
If one did, and the solicitor, as executor, had paid everything out, he could be personally liable for any shortfall. You can see why he is being cautious!
The other thing he has to wait for is a two month period from the time notices have been published in the local paper and the London Gazette, asking any creditors to make their demands known – once again, the executor could be personally liable for any shortfall if he pays everything out and cannot recover it.
The only crumb of comfort is that the solicitor is under a duty to use the funds profitably, so they should be in a deposit account, accruing modest additional benefits for the residuary beneficiary.
Any attempt on your part to speed things along is likely to result in additional costs for every contact!
Some solicitors would take a view and pay out part of the estate, but the result of doing that and then a new and contradictory Will being found (or the discovery of hitherto unknown minor children) could result in the executor paying out the inheritances from his own pocket!
Incidentally, we find that email and Skype work pretty well dealing with clients based overseas! Our quill pens were put in a museum long ago!
Solicitor holding inheritance back for 6 months.