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Requests for IHT information?

Re: Requests for IHT information?

Postby dls » Thu Sep 17, 2015 8:34 am

but it's still strange, because as a law professional he must know who and who is not entitled to an estate account?


Sorry but it is not strange.

It is perfectly proper to ask. It can be perfectly proper to refuse.

The request for the IHT figures is just trying to be helpful. Whatever you say, 98% of executors could provide a copy of the IHT figures in two minutes - copy the form submitted. A request for accounts would indeed possible be a substantial burden.

Again there are procedures when an executor _should_ provide some information even though there is no strict obligation.
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Re: Requests for IHT information?

Postby dls » Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:09 am

My mistake.
I was thinking of the Larke v Negus procedure - but having looked it up it is restricted to challenges to the validity of a will.

Perhaps however that comes from an era in which standard litigation practice would have been not to co-operate. In modern times there is a general expectation, perhaps, that the principles of larke v negus would apply generally to attempts to recommendations of steps which can be taken to reduce the chances of expensive litigation.

I am not clear that the claim described has yet reached the point where any obligation arises.
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Re: Requests for IHT information?

Postby dls » Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:09 am

Re Moss, Larke -v- Nugus; CA 1979
References: [2000] WTLR 1033, (1979) CA p337
Coram: Brandon LJ
(Decided in approximately 1979) The signature of the testatrix, an elderly woman, was distinctly wobbly, the will contained a gift, as it was put by the trial judge, 'in favour of persons on whom the testatrix is dependent', and the executor, who was a solicitor who had been responsible for drawing up the will, had taken the bizarre view that the defendants were not entitled to a copy of it or to any explanation of the circumstances in which it had been drawn up.
Held: The costs of a defendant who had unsuccessfully put in issue the question of knowledge and approval by the testator of a will were nevertheless left to come out of the estate.
Brandon LJ said: 'Nevertheless, it is necessary to consider, not only the recommendation itself, but the principle upon which the recommendation is based, and the duty of a solicitor when faced with matters of this kind. The recommendation is no doubt of importance, but even if it had not been made certain principles would apply to the matter, and in my judgement the principle which applied is that, when there was litigation about a will, every effort should be made by the executors to avoid costly litigation if that can be avoided and, when there are circumstances of suspicion attending the execution and making a will, one of the measures which can be taken is to give full and frank information to those who might have an interest in attacking the will, as to how the will came to be made.'
This case is cited by:
Last Update: 17-Sep-15 Ref: 266581
17-Sep-15
Wills and Probate
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Re: Requests for IHT information?

Postby Owen » Thu Sep 17, 2015 8:08 pm

Many thanks,

The papers are now with my solicitor's office. I did raise the estate account matter and they said it would be wise to co-operate, which of course I will. They will inform me of the next step. Yes, the will is now being questioned - every aspect - in fact the other side's solicitor's letter was so full of questions that the mind boggled, some of the questions looked basically confused to me, as if the content of the will hadn't been completely assimilated, and so I passed all onto the solicitor. My mother was in 'fine fettle' when she made her will and it was witnessed by solicitors, the illness which claimed her was a sudden thing, she passed over in little more than a week, some two years after making her will. The week she was admitted into hospital she had been compiling grocery orders, driving her car and cooking in her kitchen. She had her hair done the afternoon before the evening the paramedics were called, so there are plenty of witnesses as to how on the ball she was before sudden illness tragically struck. The hairdresser called round a fortnight later and was incredulous that mum wasn't at home to receive her, shocked; same again for a lady who used to massage mum's feet, they just couldn't believe that she was so sprightly one moment then gone the next. Same here, it has been - and continues to be - an awful shock.

Currently, in addition to the persistent request for figures, I get the impression the other side are now throwing everything they can lay their hands on at the will, including the kitchen sink - by way of their solicitor - I imagine their reasoning is that they have nothing to lose and everything to gain by so doing. But I can only be guided by my solicitor now, and of course receive helpful comments on this forum.
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Re: Requests for IHT information?

Postby Owen » Thu Oct 29, 2015 6:23 pm

Solicitor is now suggesting the estate account be forwarded since there is nothing to hide. The solicitor may assist in preparing this account. Solicitor is also asking me to consider varying the will. I did not think this was an option, apparently it is. Not quite sure what to make of this - there is nothing wrong with the will but I suppose if the in-laws insist on going to court the expenses incurred might be greater than a variation figure if agreed? Not happy about this, but am giving it careful consideration none the less.

Are there precedents for such post-will variations please?

Many thanks.
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Re: Requests for IHT information?

Postby atticus » Thu Oct 29, 2015 6:35 pm

Yes. The Miliband boys have been in the news for having entered into a deed of variation of their father's will.
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Re: Requests for IHT information?

Postby Owen » Thu Oct 29, 2015 7:16 pm

Thanks, a 'deed of variation' then, it is helpful to have the terminology. Like most lay people I should think, i thought wills were 'written in stone', but it seems there are variations on this theme.
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