What information about the deceased's estate and gifts before death is an individual claiming legal rights entitled to? In this case gifts before death (failed PETS) have resulted in IHT being payable on moveables on which legal rights are being claimed. Legal rights claimant thus feels hard done by as estate on death is well below IHT level of £325,000. Concern is that if details of gifts disclosed legal rights claimant might pursue undue influence over deceased claim.
Province/Country relating to question : Scotland
Solicitor for executor wants to disclose everything regarding failed PETS (I am beneficiary of the PETS). He has already given the legal rights claimant a copy of the will and confirmation.
Thank you for your question.Gifts made prior to death are deemed to be made at the behest of the maker of the gift. Other than affecting the IHT payable by the estate that have nothing to do with the estate and the beneficiaries. Arguably they have nothing to do with the executor either who only takes up office on the death of the testator.Following that reasoning the executor does not have to disclose lifetime gifts to the beneficiaries. In practice the beneficiaries are given a copy of the estate account on completion of the estate, not before.The executor is not liable for anything done by the deceased prior to death. The executors function is to wind up the estate which existed at the date of death, to complete the relevant tax forms to the best of his ability and to ingather the available estate and to distribute to the beneficiaries and legal rights claimants.I hope this helps. Please press ACCEPT so that I am credited for my time.
Thanks for your reply. From what you say it appears:
1. It was not necessary for the solicitor to give the legal rights claimant a copy of the will and confirmation. Please confirm that since these are publicly registered documents nothing is gained by the executor not giving these documents?
2. A legal rights claimant is not entitled to any more information on the estate than a beneficiary named in the will. Please confirm.
1. There is no obligation on the executor to provide the will and confirmation to a beneficiary but as you rightly say they are recorded as publicly available documents so there is no point in not doing so.2. Confirmed.
27 years as a practising solicitor.
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