Blog

Case study: The estate of Mrs J

Mrs J was widowed and lived in Birmingham. Mrs J left behind her two children (Jackie and Jim) and four grandchildren. At the time of her death, she was a renting tenant, had small cash assets and had accounts with various institutions. Kings Court Trust were instructed to complete the estate administration one month after Mrs J’s death. Her estate appeared to be straightforward, except for one thing. A few years before Mrs J passed, her brother died. Mrs J inherited her late brother’s property in the Republic of Ireland.

The sale of this property was being managed by a firm of solicitors in Ireland. The property sale had been going on for 18 months prior to us commencing the estate administration. The solicitors were holding funds for the sale of the property on behalf of Mrs J. However, no actual value of the property was given and confirmation of the property sale had never been received. Our Personal Estate Manager liaised with Mrs J’s family and the Irish solicitors to find out the very important details relating to this property to ensure a correct submission of the Inheritance Tax return was made to the Inland Revenue. As it turns out, Mrs J was aware of the property's value and made specific arrangements for her beneficiaries.

Mrs J’s Will very clearly highlighted how she wanted her estate to be distributed and unfortunately, her wishes opened up the doors to a potential claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act (IPFDA)1975. Mrs J left 50% of the property share to her daughter, Jackie. One could assume that the remaining 50% of the property share would be left to Jim, however, this was not the case. Mrs J had left only £20,000 to her other child, Jim. The remaining 50% of the property share was to be divided between Jim’s two children (after the £20K deduction from their father’s inheritance). As the residuary beneficiaries, Jackie’s two children also inherited £5K each, held in Trust.

Our Personal Estate Manager was put in the difficult position of informing the beneficiaries of Mrs J’s instructions in her Will. Fortunately for Mrs J’s family, Jim did not proceed with a claim under IPFDA 1975 and accepted her wishes. We closed Mrs J’s accounts, repatriated the Irish property funds to the United Kingdom and distributed the estate out to the beneficiaries.

This case highlights the importance of working with a professional estate administrator. Disputes between beneficiaries and family members can cause an enormous amount of unwanted stress for Executor(s). By working with a professional third party, the estate administration is completed thoroughly and all personal matters can be resolved in a calm and empathetic manner.