British Will & Probate -- Uncooperative Solicitor

Discussion in 'Tax' started by vandluce, Jun 1, 2005.

  1. vandluce

    vandluce Guest

    I am in the US, but I inherited a moderate amount in the UK which has
    been held up for 9 years. The executor/solicitor "lost" about 38% of it
    due to the "bad investment environment" after Sept 11, 2001 and other
    expenses (never received details). Now he is sending me an
    "acknowledgement" to sign and will send the final amount. He doesn't
    answer re how much is left in the estate. Question- anyone know if this
    paperwork is likely to include a waiver of recourse (against him or
    anyone) of any kind? I'm betting it does one way or the other, but I
    need the money (who doesn't).

    Here in the US I don't believe executors are allowed to invest estates
    in speculative ventures, i.e., the stock market per se, are they
    (beyond safe bets like bonds)? I believe additional pounds will go to
    one of the lawyers involved as yet unpaid, so I am looking at a
    decrease of 45% in the amount received, nevermind 38%!! (#@!!#) I
    should like to take the amount but have recourse if it is outrageously
    eroded. I never realized how easy it was to shed pounds...
    vandluce, Jun 1, 2005
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  2. I am in the US, but I inherited a moderate amount in the UK which has
    I believe they are certainly allowed to KEEP an investment in a
    speculative venture, if that's where the money was at the time of
    death. For example, they don't have to sell off the controlling
    interest in the family business (which may now be very speculative
    considering the founder is now dead), or they don't have to sell
    off the stock portfolio. It is quite possible the stock portfolio
    is never sold but is divided up and delivered to the heirs in the
    form of stock. They can sell individually if they want.

    I also wouldn't classify all stocks as "speculative ventures",
    either. Most penny stocks are. There are stocks that are quite
    stable and suitable for investment by the "widows and orphans fund".

    It is quite possibly just bad timing. The executor of the estate
    may not have had time to shift the investments out of the stock
    market even if he had been psychic enough to predict the 9/11
    disaster (well, if the death was 9 years ago, then he had plenty
    of time, but probably not the psychic abilities).

    Gordon L. Burditt
    Gordon Burditt, Jun 2, 2005
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  3. vandluce

    Gary Goodman Guest

    The rules in the US vary by state. Some states use the "Prudent Man"
    rule which is more restrictive as to the investments allowed. A newer
    (and I think more sensible) rule is the "Prudent Investor" rule which
    means that the investment portfolio as a whole is judged.

    You say that the executor lost a lot of the money. If the money was
    already invested, then you shouldn't blame the executor. Many estates
    sell the stock portfolios slowly or distribute the stocks to the heirs.

    Bonds are not really safe bets. Try investing in 30 year bonds when
    interest rates are falling.

    Gary Goodman, Jun 2, 2005
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