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My mother died without a Will and my brother is dealing with the estate and refusing to give me information. What rights do I have? 

For this Q&A, we have assumed that:

  • the child of the deceased is not a minor
  • a grant of letters of administration has been made to the siblings

It is assumed that the deceased died without a Will, in which case, a grant of letters of administration will need to be applied for. The Q&A does not specify whether the deceased left a surviving spouse or just surviving children. The order of priority for a grant of letters of administration is the surviving spouse first and the children second.  As the children have a beneficial interest in the estate, then the spouse would apply for a grant with another person, ie one of the children.

If there is no surviving spouse, the child in the question, A, would have an equal right to apply for a grant as their siblings, assuming he is an adult and does not suffer under any other disability. The question does not specify whether a grant has been obtained. Not all the children have to apply for the grant, however a maximum of four can apply. It appears in this case that if a grant has been obtained or applied for, the other siblings have excluded A.

If a grant has been obtained by the other siblings and they are refusing to give information to A in relation to the extent and makeup of the estate and the progress of administration, then A has the right to make an application to the court to seek an order that such information is provided.

If a grant has not been obtained, then A could make a standing search which would entitle them receive a copy of any grant when it is issued.

An administrator/personal representative acts on behalf of all the beneficiaries and is under a duty to account to the beneficiaries during the course of the administration. The duty is to keep the beneficiary informed and to render accounts The extent of the duty to disclose and account depends on what the beneficiary needs in the circumstances for the beneficiary to appreciate, verify and, if needed, vindicate their own rights against the trustees/personal representatives in respect of the administration of the estate.

Before making an application to the court, A should make a formal request for information setting out precisely what they require and why they need it. They will be entitled to details about the assets and liabilities of the estate, including inheritance tax and other taxes which may be payable or have been paid, the progress of the administration and details of all or any distributions made

If you would like a chat to discuss further, please feel free to contact me for a free 30-minute consultation.

Sophie Campbell

01637 800 306

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