British Will & Probate -- Uncooperative Solicitor


V

vandluce

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...
 
G

Gordon Burditt

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 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".

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...
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
 
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G

Gary Goodman

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...
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
 

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