Probate and Will, Trust & Estate Disputes

Dispute between siblings regarding worldwide estate of property-owing father

We were consulted by Ms X, one of several siblings, in relation to her late father’s estate. One of Ms X’s brothers, Mr Y, was the sole administrator of the estate. The estate comprised of a number of properties in England, together with properties in Asia and in Europe. Ms X was concerned that this brother, Mr Y, had sold some of the UK properties and not accounted to her or her other siblings for any part of the net sale proceeds by way of interim distribution, but instead had transferred significant funds to Asia to fund litigation in relation to the family home there. It was also felt likely that further funds would be transferred to Asia from England.

We advised Ms X that a request ought to be made in writing for an interim distribution which still allowed a sufficient sum of money to be retained in the estate’s UK bank account to fund the ongoing costs of administering the UK estate, and that the solicitors acting for Mr Y in his capacity as administrator of the UK estate ought to be put on notice of Ms X’s claim against them for breach of trust in connection with the previous transfer of funds to Asia. These funds ought to have been distributed in accordance with the intestacy rules here, rather than having been transferred for use in litigation abroad without the informed consent of those entitled to inherit the UK estate. We also advised that if an injunction should be necessary to restrain the transfer of further funds, then the UK solicitors ought also to be put on notice that Ms X reserved the right to look to them as well as to Mr Y for such costs. Furthermore, we suggested that thought should be given to removing Mr Y as administrator of the UK estate under Section 50 Administration of Justice Act 1985..

This case involved careful consideration of what the Deceased’s worldwide estate comprised of, what would pass under the intestacy rules of England and Wales as opposed to passing according to the law of other countries, and how best to represent Ms X’s interests in relation to the UK properties and their proceeds of sale, bearing in mind the worldwide situation and how she was likely to benefit from the overseas properties. It was also of assistance that we have good connections with overseas lawyers in many jurisdictions, built up over many years.

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