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Ronan
Ronan, Solicitor
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Satisfied Customers: 1941
Experience:  B. Corp Law, Ll.B. Dip Comm Prop. In general practice for more then 6 years
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I am a beneficiary in an estate in the ROI. My late father

Customer Question

I am a beneficiary in an estate in the ROI. My late father left a deed of indenture relating to his property, signed by himself as Grantor and my brother as Grantee. That when my brother takes over the house (originally in joint names) following death,he must pay an amount of money to myself and his sisters. The deed was transferred, subject to the clause. He hasn't paid any money, but has taken over the house. The Solicitor acting as Administrator say's it is a separate matter in Law. Is it so? I believe that since the deed became applicable following death, it should form part of the estate. The executors and administrators have excluded it as not relevant. The matter has been left ignored. Please advice me of my rights within Irish law, and whether I have a claim to this property. Should this property not form part of the residue estate? I have been asked to agree to pay high costs for a drawn out estate administration. Should the fees not have been taken from the value of the property? The fee's are the responsibility of the Executors, and they have allowed them to accumulate. The Grantee, is also an executor, and responsible. Where do I stand in Law?

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Expert:  Ronan replied 1 year ago.
Your solicitors is correct. This property does not form part of the estate as it was in transfered into the joint names of your father and brother. In such a scenario, the property passes fully by survivorship to your brother. The fact he has not paid you means that he is in breach of contract which means that the personal representatives of your father s estate can sue him for breach of contract seeking either specific performance or the return of the property to the estate. In the latter situation, the property falls in to the residue of the estate
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The personal representatives are the Solicitor and executors jointly dealing with this estate. Shouldn't they have considered this option for paying the bill (it being their responsibility) before expecting the beneficiaries to pay the bill out of their inheritances. Was it not the solicitors duty to explain the above point (as you have) when raised, by a beneficiary instead of claiming it was nothing to do with the estate point blank. I am somewhat confused as to why if the survivorship was subject to payment, and the grantee was in breach by not paying, the solicitor ignored that fact and didn't insist the return of the property to the estate for that reason, it then becoming estate residue. Rather, he allowed it to be transferred, unpaid. Please clarify if the solicitor had a duty of responsibility and care to guard this asset before letting it go, rather than expecting the beneficiaries to have to take out a separate case to sue for breach, as well as foot the bill the administration ran up, through bad administration. The bulk of the estate assets are offshore, so am I not right in assuming that they need not have been touched to pay costs, since they are out of jurisdiction, and that the costs should have come from the residue estate, in the form of that property.?


 

Expert:  Ronan replied 1 year ago.
The solicitor is only a personal representative if he is named as an executor in the will otherwise he is simply a solicitor employed by the executors to assist in the administration of the estate.

As advised the house is not part of the estate and the contract between your father and brother has been breached in failure to pay you. The estate of your father can sue your brother for this money and then pay it to you but this debt is not owed by the estate itself per se. I would repeat again the house or payment do not form part of the estate.

The executors of the estate at their discretion can sue for breach of contract and the house maybe returned or damages maybe paid. The transfer to your brother pre dates your father,s death and is an issue of contract. it has nothing to do with the estate

The solicitors has no responsibility here, he simply acts on the instructions of the executors and it is a matter for them to decide to sue or not. The asset wasn,t let go but was transferred before your father,s death.

This wasn,t bad administration but rather bad advise given at the time of the transfer.

I am unsure as to what your last line refers
Ronan, Solicitor
Satisfied Customers: 1941
Experience: B. Corp Law, Ll.B. Dip Comm Prop. In general practice for more then 6 years
Ronan and other Republic of Ireland Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

In this scenario, the executors naively signed a solicitors agreement they never read, the agreement, is unethical. As a result of greed on the part of the solicitor and stupidity on the part of the executors, there is a large bill of costs, mostly wasted in consequence. There are insufficient funds to pay the beneficiaries what they were bequeathed, as the bill comes first. So the beneficiaries have been told they must divide the bill amongst themselves, forfeiting the original amounts they inherited.


 


The bill is the responsibility of the executors, one of which is the Grantee in breach of contract, who is hardly likely to sue himself, since you say the executors can sue for the breach.


 


The main financial assets left to the beneficiaries are offshore, out of Ireland (The property, is within Ireland). Are these financial assets not therefore out of the jurisdiction of Irish law and so protected from being used to pay the solicitors costs? e.g can you find a case law within Irish law which say's foreign assets can be used to discharge Irish debts.


 


I believe the representatives have erred and protected their own interests, rather than the interests of the beneficiaries they swore a duty to protect.


 


My previous question asked, ‘was it not the solicitors duty to explain the above point (as you have) when raised by a beneficiary, instead of claiming the property was nothing to do with the estate point blank’. When in fact it could have been claimed and returned to the estate as residue, to go towards costs accrued. You said ‘The asset wasn’t let go but was transferred before your father’s death. But the deed was transferred after my fathers death through survivorship, on condition of payments, so subject to. If that fact isn’t applicable, then under what circumstance would it apply, as it either should form part of the estate residue or it shouldn’t.


 


What I need to know is what recourse as a beneficiary do I have to protect my own interests within this mess, not of my making. And can a beneficiary have the costs removed on behalf the executors even if the executors gave the solicitor instructions to act ? While the executors have been gullible, they claim they were not informed of the exact costs of actions in advance. This whole matter was never not straightforward. But due to the unnecessary bill, has become complex.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

In this scenario, the executors naively signed a solicitors agreement they never read. The agreement, appears to be unethical. As a result of greed on the part of the solicitor and stupidity on the part of the executors, there is a large bill of costs mostly wasted in consequence, resulting in insufficient funds to pay the beneficiaries what they were bequeathed, as the bill comes first. The beneficiaries have been told they must divide the bill amongst themselves, forfeiting the original amounts they inherited.


 


The bill is the responsibility of the executors, one of which is the Grantee in breach of contract, who is hardly likely to sue himself, since you say the executors can sue for the breach.


 


The main financial assets left to the beneficiaries are offshore, out of Ireland (The property, is within Ireland). Are these financial assets not therefore out of the jurisdiction of Irish law and so protected from being used to pay the solicitors costs, e.g can you find a case law within Irish law which say's foreign assets can be used to discharge Irish debts.


 


I believe the representatives have erred and protected their own interests, rather than the interests of the beneficiaries they swore a duty to protect.


 


My previous question asked, ‘was it not the solicitors duty to explain the above point (as you have) when raised by a beneficiary, instead of claiming the property was nothing to do with the estate point blank’. When in fact it could have been claimed and returned to the estate as residue, to go towards costs accrued. You said ‘The asset wasn’t let go but was transferred before your father’s death. But it was transferred after my fathers death through survivorship, on condition of payments, so subject to. If that fact isn’t applicable, then under what circumstance would it apply, as it either should form part of the estate residue or it shouldn’t.


 


I need to know what recourse as a beneficiary I have to protect my own interests within this mess. Can a beneficiary have the costs removed on behalf the executors even if the executors gave the solicitor instructions to act As while the executors have been gullible, they claim they were not informed of the exact costs of actions in advance. This whole matter was never, not straightforward. But due to the unnecessary bill, has become complex.

Expert:  Ronan replied 1 year ago.
The legal bill of the estate is the responsibility of the estate and not the executor in any personal capacity. Once the executor acts bona fides and didn't act fraudulently/dishonestly in relation to the engaging a solicitor in relation to legal fees then he is not responsible for it

The asset either off shore or herein Ireland are dictated by the terms of the will and the legislation in the jurisdiction which the grant is extract. ie Ireland. There is no law to suggest Irish debts should not be discharged by foreign assets. It would allow for all sort of debt avoidance scheme

If you believe the executors failed to comply with their obligation to distribute assets in accordance with the will, they can be sued in their personal capacity. However nothing you have stated so far would indicate that they did

The property wasn't transferred after your father's death. It was transferred into the joint names of your father and brother during his life. It then automatically passes by survivorship in full to your brother on the death of your father as a matter of statute. The condition of payment to you is a matter of contract and is not relevant to this operation of law
Expert:  Ronan replied 1 year ago.
If the executor has a difficulty with the solicitor bill of cost. He should ask the solicitor to send it to a legal cost accountant to have the bill assessed. Be warn however, that the solicitor may seek agreement that the bill be applied as be the legal cost accountants assessment. This may well be higher then his original bill
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

you said:


 


"If the executor has a difficulty with the solicitor bill of cost. He should ask the solicitor to send it to a legal cost accountant to have the bill assessed. Be warn however, that the solicitor may seek agreement that the bill be applied as be the legal cost accountants assessment. This may well be higher then his original bill"


 


Are you referring to the taxing master here, when you say a legal costs accountant, and in suggesting that the bill could become higher, is this your experience then of such an assessment?

Expert:  Ronan replied 1 year ago.
No, not the taxing master, simply a legal cost accountant. Yes in general, when all work is assessed it often transpires that the solicitor has not billed for all matters and undercharged
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Can you offer more information about my initial question:


 


Can you find any case law on whether foreign assets can be used to discharge Irish debts?



The legal bill of the estate may be the responsibility of the estate. But between the solicitor and the executors dealing with this estate, there are vastly wasted costs. I need to know what recourse as a beneficiary I have, to having these costs reduced?


 

Expert:  Ronan replied 1 year ago.
There is no case law to support this contention because what you are saying is not correct.

"The asset either off shore or herein Ireland are dictated by the terms of the will and the legislation in the jurisdiction which the grant is extract. ie Ireland. There is no law to suggest Irish debts should not be discharged by foreign assets. It would allow for all sort of debt avoidance scheme"

As advised unless the executor acted fraudulently or dishonestly there is no recourse
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

if a solicitor does not furnish a decent estimation of costs he will accrue. can a beneficiary have the costs removed on behalf the executors even if the executors gave the solicitor instructions to act ?

Expert:  Ronan replied 1 year ago.
No you can t have it removed entirely, you can have it taxed if a proper section 68 letter outlining costs. As a matter of interest what is the solicitor charging the estate for the probate?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

No you can t have it removed entirely, you can have it taxed if a proper section 68 letter outlining costs....what?...Sorry didn't get what point you were making there.


 


The solicitor is charging €300 per hour plus vat. However, my father had paid a considerable amount to the same solicitor prior to his death, as well as an accountant, to ensure matters were all in place in the event of his death. The estate was a straightforward matter, which has been unnecessarily dragged out, taken round the houses, and the personal representatives, through a clause in the section 68 letter, have utilised agents to carry out work that they were tasked to do themselves and were easily capable of doing, as well as expected to do when my father entrusted them to. As a result, that situation has gone on for 18 months, still un-concluded. It appears to me that the solicitor has deliberately taken advantage of this case to line his own pocket, and behaved unprofessionally. I was even asked to sign a waiver to relinquish my rights to any recourse, when asked to sign an agreement to pay a large percentage of the costs, under duress. I refused to sign it, but probate has not yet been granted and due to accounts offshore, there is more than one grant to obtain.The period involved has been caused by the solicitor, whom I believe has done so, so it appears that when the bill finally goes through it looks feasible on paper for the amount charged and the time frame.But in truth, this could have been dealt with within weeks, from day one.

Expert:  wendy-Mod replied 1 year ago.

Hi, I am a moderator for this topic. It seems the professional has left this conversation. This happens occasionally, and it's usually because the professional thinks that someone else might be a better match for your question. I've been working hard to find a new professional to assist you right away, but sometimes finding the right professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.

Thank you!
Wendy

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you Wendy, what about Buachaill, he seems to know what he's doing. Is he available for a final opinion?

Expert:  wendy-Mod replied 1 year ago.
I will let Buachaill know that you would like his help. Thank you for your patience.

Regards,
Wendy
Expert:  wendy-Mod replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your patience, your business is very important to us. I see Buachaill has not yet responded to you, would you like to open this up for all professionals? Please let us know if you would like us to continue searching for a professional or if you would like us to close your question.

We appreciate your understanding!
Wendy

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you again Wendy.


 


Might we just wait a day or more to see if Buachaill is available? As I shall be interested to hear what he has to say.


 


If he is still unable to assist, then perhaps we can open the question up to others who may be interested to offer an opinion.


 


 

Expert:  wendy-Mod replied 1 year ago.
We'll be glad to keep this open for him. Thank you again for your patience.

Regards,
Wendy
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Wendy..Any updates re Buachaill?


 


Please let me know.

Expert:  wendy-Mod replied 1 year ago.
Hello,

I have sent Buachaill another note. If he's unavailable, would you be willing to work with another professional?

Thank you for your patience.

Regards,
Wendy
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

 


Thanks Wendy..


 


Yes, if Buachaill is unavailable, however is there another professional with the same level of experience there?


 


I read some Buachaill's advice, and thought him rather good. So had hoped he might have been able to assist with my concerns.

Expert:  wendy-Mod replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for getting back to me. Yes, Buachaill is quite good but we will keep our eyes open for another professional who might be able to help as well.

Regards,
Wendy

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