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VIC Mother's Will Not Being Honoured - What to Do?

Discussion in 'Wills and Estate Planning Law Forum' started by Jane.A., 28 September 2016.

  1. Jane.A.

    Jane.A. Member

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    Hi.

    I need help as I feel the solicitors that did my mum's & dad's wills are not doing their job properly.

    Sorry, but this is going to be a long one!

    Late 2014, my mum & dad re-wrote their wills (again!), making my sister and I joint Power of Attorney / Executors of will. In her will, my mum stated that her jewellery was to go to myself. My sister questioned it and my dad made her change it so that we were to share her jewellery (and my mum was scared to upset my dad and so it was changed).

    My mum passed away Feb 2015. I notified the solicitors of her death and nothing was done with her will. While trying to organise my Mother's funeral, my sister and I could not agree on the arrangements (my mother wanted a catholic funeral at the local church and no wake, while my sister claimed she did not (she is a Jehovahs Witness), using my father as the reason, and as a result we no longer have a relationship!

    Talks with the lawyer ensued and even though they had discussed it with my mother only months before - they sided with my sister and I was not permitted to arrange the Catholic funeral that she wanted. The lawyers said that as my dad was still alive he was the one to make the decision (89-yrs-old and grieving for his wife) and that anything mum had went to him.

    My sister then made sure that I didn't see my dad until the funeral by taking him out of the nursing home. Now, what about the jewellery my mum said in her will was to be shared between my sister and I? Well, it was gone - removed from the house by my sister.

    I asked my dad about it and he just said I don't know. My father passed 1 Jan 2016. I again notified the solicitor of his death. I asked the solicitor about the jewellery - all he said was that it would be a civil case between my sister and I and basically my word against hers!

    We are supposed to be joint Executors, however, the solicitor seems to do whatever my sister says. I had mentioned that the headstone was to be organised and paid for out of the deceased estate. It was but I was not asked to for my input / approve it before it was installed.

    When the solicitors showed me the "quote", there were spelling mistakes with mine and another siblings names. When I asked for these to be corrected before it was put in place, I was told it had already been done and that if I wanted the corrections made, I would have to pay for them myself - $2000!

    Again, the solicitors seemed to favour my sister and said if I wanted to take it further, it would be a civil case between my sister and me, as there was nothing they could do.

    As joint executors, I thought we had to agree on things before they were done?

    Please help - what do I do now? Should I get another lawyer to follow things up? Or should I just sign the papers and get it over and done with?

    I don't really care about the money - I just want to have my mum's will honoured. I would like to get some of of her jewellery back, but I'm very confused and upset.

    I haven't heard anything more from the solicitors since I told them I would not sign anything to release any monies to anyone as I was not happy with the way they were dealing with my parents' estate. That was back in June and it's now nearly October!

    Hoping someone can shed some light here for me please.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Victoria S

    Victoria S Well-Known Member

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    Hi Jane.A.,

    In answer to your query about your sister acting independently of you in making decisions, at law co-executors can act jointly and severally with regards to estate property. The actions of one can bind them all.

    I can imagine your sister, like you, simply wants to get the estate finalised as quickly as possible and is doing the best that she can to get things going. This likely makes you feel as if you have little control over the whole matter.

    If you feel strongly enough about the issues you have raised, i.e. getting the jewellery back and changing the headstone, and you feel you would have sufficient evidence to prove your case in court then I would take the solicitor up on their advice and institute legal proceedings. However, if you would prefer not to deepen the rift between you and your sister and save yourself a lot of time, money and stress, i would simply put it behind you and move on.
     
  3. Matthew Karakoulakis

    Joined:
    27 October 2016
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    Hi Jane,

    It seems that you have become the subject of an unlawful situation.

    I can provide you with the legal advice and representation that you need most in this situation, as you have a number of legal avenues through which you can enforce this will and ensure the estate is distributed in the correct manner.

    Please feel free to contact me through the link Matthew Karakoulakis, Lawyer, AMK Law - Melbourne, VIC - LawTap - Find a Lawyer & Book Online Instantly to arrange a time to make an appointment and speak with me. I can assist in analysing the will, determining the exact rights and obligations that arise and ensuring that you mother and father’s wishes are honoured.

    If valid, a will must be distributed in accordance with its provisions. It seems that your sister is not fulfilling her obligations as an executor, whilst the solicitors are acting in an improper manner.

    I look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Yours faithfully,
     

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