This might help?
My Dad died a few weeks ago. Very suddenly and unexpectedly. He had a will but it had been written 25 years ago and never updated (I know, lesson for us all). Basically, on taking out a joint endowment mortgage with my Mum they made simple wills which essentially said that in the event of his death everything went to my Mum. So far, so basic. As was common at the time, the bank asked whether my parents would like them to act as executor and my parents agreed as they had no family lawyer as such at the time.
Fast forward 25 years, dad had died, their circumstances have changed, they now live in the borders (not in central scotland where the bank is based) and Mum does have a family lawyer. Not only that but in the intervening years it has become clear that high street banks have used (or abused) their position as will executors to generally write their own cheques and are the worst possible choice of executor. Unlike solicitors who are regulated in what they can charge, the banks are not so tend to take the most expensive route to executing wills as they possibly can, increasing their fees as they go. There is no right of appeal. In addition, and most importantly, the Clydesdale Bank no longer carry out the service themselves but have outsourced to a large firm of accountants and lawyers in Glasgow.
My mum and our family solicitor wrote to them asking if they would release their executorship of the will and (to add insult to injury at is what a very difficult time for our family) have now sent a letter saying how seriously they take their duties (yeah so seriously they sold them to the highest bidder) and asking her to fill in a very detailed questionnaire asking all kinds of questions about how much dad was worth (house/cars/ISAs etc) in other words - how much is it worth to us before we give it up? It makes me sick.
Has anyone been through similar? - or are there any lawyers here that know where we stand? It seems to me that if my dad named Clydesdale Bank as the executor and they no longer even perform the service themselves, (but outsource it) then surely that means they are not in accordance with his wishes anyway? And why should he/we have to accept a random other firm doing it?
Other than our family threatening to withdraw all mortgages and all accounts from the bank if they don't comply with our wishes is there anything we can do?
Very difficult IMHO. The joint executors of my Mums estate were my sister and my Mum's lawyer. My sister is dragging it all out as she's nothing better to do in her life and it makes her feel important. The solicitor charged us 3 times too much, took the piss with charges, got told to reduce it by the law society but hasn't refunded us any money...
basically - don't let any theiving barstewards get their hands on any of your money.
I had this happen to me about 10yrs ago.
If all the beneficiaries agree* , then a will can be rewritten and the arrangements changed, it's called a "deed of arrangement". But I am not sure if this includes changing the executors. Pretty sure the Law Society will be able to advise.
However, remember that you can apply to have the costs of execution "taxed", which means fully audited as to the executors charges being fair and reasonable. I got £17k back of a "major high street bank" by complaining to the legal ombudsman
*(unless there are mnors or charities as beneficiaries ..in which case "no chance")
you have to prove deliberate negligence with duties... even then its still difficult
I can only talk about UK law, but you can easily change the executor. In the UK the beneficiaries would simply write a letter to the executor stating their services were no longer required.
I had this with a client who's mother died. The estate was basically cash in a few building society accounts, totaling £100k, the executors were a bank and wanted £5k to deal with probate. We wrote to them telling them there services were not required and I helped her sort the paperwork out.
Not sure how the system works in Scotland though. However there is no need to change the will, just to change the executor.
As a rank amatuer, surely if the original executor is not around (has died perhaps) when the will is "activated" you must be able to get another.
If *everything* goes to your mum I don't see why you even need an executor??
sorry to hear your sad news about your Dad.
I can't offer any advice but hope it all gets sorted out with as few difficulties as possible. Good luck with the Bank.
Scotland does require that an inventory of the estate be completed, even though no inheritance tax is payable where the estate passes to a spouse. I imagine that is the reason for the distressing questionnaire. It might be better to download HMRC form C1 and fill that in, and send it to HMRC, copy to the executor. They'll have less reason to charge you for it, then.
Oh, and HMRC will be quite happy with share or ISA valuation based on publicly available share information. Don't let the bank get involved in "valuing" any assets, for which they'll charge a percentage. Ditto if a house needs to be valued - chat up a friendly estate agent. It's all a formality anyhow, since it's an excepted estate (ie no IHT payable).
Last edited by Nippy; 25-06-08 at 18:15.
They can simply dismiss the other party and appoint someone else as executor. As long as there is someone acting in that capacity that is all that is required.
The banks and solicitors make a killing out of probate as they usually charge a % of the estate value + fees on top.
This was taken from here. I've highlighted the important bit.
You might find this site useful too http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publicati...08/17011/21439A potential executor of a will is not under a duty to accept his appointment (and is not responsible for any losses incurred in failing to do so) and indeed may be unaware of the appointment until some time after the testator has died. In the case of delay in accepting the appointment an application can be made to the Probate Registry for an issue of a citation for an executor to accept or refuse a grant within a reasonable period of time failing which their appointment in the will may be forfeited or alternatively it is possible for an interested party to make an application under s116 Supreme Court Act 1981 for that person to be passed over as an executor.
Last edited by MAC; 25-06-08 at 23:17.