Q: My brother and I were appointed as joint executors and beneficiaries of our father’s Will. As I am away in the armed forces, I agreed to my brother assuming responsibility for selling dad’s house, paying his care home fees etc. When dad died, he took care of the funeral arrangements and applying for Probate. Never for one moment did I think he would be dishonest, but how wrong I was.
I knew he had transferred money from dad’s account to his, but believed it was for convenience. Now he is claiming there is virtually nothing left to share out as the bulk of dad’s estate went in care fees and funeral costs. I know this is not true as dad was quite well off. I believe he used the money – OUR money – to pay off his debts. Should I report him to the police?
A: It does sounds as if your brother has abused the position of trust your father placed him in when he appointed him as an executor of his Will. It also sounds as if you could prove this by cataloguing most of the legitimate expenses he would have paid out for, such as care home fees, funeral costs etc. and making him accountable for sums that he transferred from your father’s account.
Whilst you may consider your brother’s dishonesty to be a crime, the police are likely to consider it to be a civil matter. However, you are entitled to sue him to recover your rightful inheritance. Once you have worked out the full value of your father’s estate and deducted known costs, you should write to your brother threatening to sue him. He may of course have no money out of which to pay you, but you could apply for a charging order on his house, if he owns one, or apply for an attachment of earnings order. A solicitor would be able to advise you in more detail.
This question has been answered by James Denton, a Solicitor with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194