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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 22400
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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ESTATES: EXECUTOR EXPENSES, MYSELF AND MY ESTRANGED SELF

Customer Question

ESTATES: EXECUTOR EXPENSES
JA: Are you in the UK or are you in the States?
Customer: MYSELF AND MY ESTRANGED SELF RIGHTEOUS BROTHER ARE EXECUTORS OF OUR MOTHERS ESTATE, HE HAS JUST PRESENTED A LIST OF EXPENSES FOR OVER £5K, WHICH ARE ACCEPTABLE, AND WHICH ARE NOT, AND WHY??? MOTHER DIED 221214, FUNERAL MANCHESTER, ENGLAND 250115, FUNERAL IRELAND 290115
JA: What action has been taken so far? What's your ideal outcome?
Customer: 23122014
Trip to Manchester - 459 miles @ 45p per
mile £206.55
23122014 Subsistence £28.35 30
23122014 Hotel parking £16.50 34
22122104 Hotel £139.00 42
24122014 Subsistence £6.14 32
24122014 Parking Sale Town Hall £0.30 33
24122014 Death Certificates £40.00 39
26122014 Flight & Car £170.00 31
29122014 Hire car insurance £35.00
29122014 Car parking Heathrow £47.10 23
29122014 Subsistence £29.56 25
29122014 Subsistence £41.29 29
30122014 Toll charge £5.16 28
30122014 Subsistence £21.04 26
30122014 Hire car fuel £25.00
30122014 Post £5.00 24
30122014 Subsistence £26.33 40
31122014 Subsistence £3.83 27
31122014 Mileage to Htrw and rtn 30 miles @45p £13.50
31122014 Car Hire insurance £33.51 22(###) ###-####Manchester hotel £211.50 43(###) ###-####Flight and hire car £274.00 1(###) ###-####Hotel £110.00 2(###) ###-####Phone calls £100.00
25012015 Subsistence £145.94 15/16/17
25012015
Manchester funeral - 443 miles @ 45p per
mile £199.35
25012015 Manchester Hotel charges £52.14 21
25012015 Hotel parking £18.50 35/36/37/38
28012015 Hotel charges £126.60 10
29012015 Airport parking £43.00 12
28012015 Parking £0.40 39
28012015 Additional car hire insurance £35.89 9
29012015 Funeral lunch £386.06 11
29012015 Toll charge £5.30 13
29012015 Car hire fuel charge £22.70 14
29012015 Subsistence £39.13 18/19/20
29012015 Airport 34 miles @ 45p per mile £15.30
30012015 Dog kennels £125.00 8(###) ###-####Wexford funeral £1,800.00 7
30042015 Airport 34 miles @ 45p per mile £15.30
30042015 Flight & Car Hire £133.00 41(###) ###-####Toll payment £2.50 5
16062015 Headstone inscription £138.50 3
18062015 Mass cards £123.00 4(###) ###-####Car Hire additional charges £35.00 6
26072016 Swear fee 17.00 44
26072016 Postage 6.45 45
Total claimed £5,074.72
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: DON'T TRUST DETAILS, SO WANT ANSWERS BY THE BOOK FOR MY BROTHER AND THE SOLICITOR
Submitted: 12 days ago.
Category: UK Law
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
uk
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
mass cards were paid 50/50 in euros by myself and my aunt, so this is one contenuous issue, as to why my brother is trying to claim it, is subsistance allowed??? is car hire costs, petrol, toll etc
allowed?
Expert:  Stuart J replied 12 days ago.

Good morning. Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to assist you with this today.

Do you not have a similar number of expenses?

There are obviously things here which couldn’t be got around with such as a swear fee, postage, headstone inscription, cost of the funeral. Regarding all the other expenses such as travelling and subsistence, if he did not travel to do all these jobs, how would he have done it?

Are you disputing whether he actually spent this money or not?

Why were there 2 funerals?

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
ok, here is the scenaobtain necessary death certsrio:-DEC 22nd - mother dies
Dec 23rd/24th - brother who lives in Ascot comes to Manchester to register death and obtain necessary death certs
Dec 26th - 31st??? - brother returns to Manchester to obtain missing death certs documentation
Jan 25th, 2015 - initial funeral in Manchester, England (mother lived in manchester)
Jan 29th, 2015 - funeral and internment in Ireland (mother was irish, and was buried with my father)
At a later date in the future, date unknown, headstone inscribed
Jun 2015 - mass cards purchased jointly by myself and aunt in ireland (suspect 123 euros, to be confirmed).From the expenses is travel an allowable item for reimbursement, for my brother, for his trips in December, to register the death, and obtain necessary certificates, are the accommodation expenses allowable for these trips (think cheaper options could have been available), is subsistence allowable, as this is a normal every day necessity?For the two funerals (manchester & ireland), are the travel costs reimburseable (hire car inc petrol and mileage), is the dog kennel charge allowable, is the accommodation charge allowable (again think he has gone for not the cheapest option).The cost of the irish funeral and funeral meal, I suspect are allowable, however I need to clarify my brother actually paid for these out of his own bank account, and not my mother's bank account (he was her deputy prior to her death, so looked after all her affairs).There would appear to be travel/car hire/accommodation expenses for a trip in April (three months aftervmy mother's funerals), suspect this is for inscription of the gravestone, here I do not see any necessity for my brother having to travel to ireland, as a phone call would be sufficient, and our aunt could have relayed the results.Phone calls at £100, this seems too convenient a number to be correct, nowadays most people are on call plans where calls are free or at a reduced rate. I am going to ask for full receipts for all these calls.My expenses were minimal, I was only going to claim for the air fare to the irish funeral, and onward bus travel from Dublin - £19,99 + £22, and possibly some postal charges for special deliveries (documents that had to be signed and returned to the solicitor), probably a lot less than £100, I had forgot about the mass card payment, and i beleve my aunt in ireland has the receipt for 123 euros (not showing payment split between myself and my aunt, but my aunt has confirmed i paid 61 euro of this cost).So in soming up is subsistence ever claimable, apart from direct travel expenses to and from funeral, is any other travel expenses reimbursable, what are the rules on charging at a certain value per mile??If you require any further information to answer this issue, please do not hesitate to contact me.Regards
Enda
Expert:  Stuart J replied 10 days ago.

I am not able to tell you completely whether these expenses are reasonable or not because I don’t know the circumstances. I cannot see why there have been two funerals although it may not be that you are objecting to that, just the expenses. What I can tell you is the grounds for whether something is reasonable to be claimed or not. These expenses do, on the face of it seemed to be an overcharge.

Any expenses which he claims (he is entitled to claim expenses) must be reasonable and must be necessary. The same applies to you of course. The dog kennels is not a reasonably foreseeable expense in my opinion.

I don’t know why he travelled from ascot to Manchester to register the death or whether anyone else was able to do that for him or not.

In my opinion, travel to the funerals and accommodation in respect thereof and any subsistence is not an executor’s expense. Solicitors rarely go to funerals. He could have stayed at home.

So, what you have to do is take out any expenses which were absolutely necessary and attending the funerals is certainly not necessary.

With regard to the travel to Ireland for the gravestone, I agree with your comments and I also agree with your comments regarding the telephone calls and that amount of money does appear remarkably convenient and exaggerated.

The family would usually arrange the gravestone at their own expense, it is not an executor expense because it’s not necessary with regard to burial or cremation.

Although subsistence isn’t a reasonable expense in respect of the funerals, it is a reasonable expense if away from home on essential executor ship duties quite simply because it is cheaper to eat at home than it is to eat out.

Mileage 45p per mile is the AA/RAC rate but attending court for example, the rate allowed is 25p per mile.

What you have to do is take out everything that is not necessary with regard to burial or cremation and dealing with legalities and that should not be allowed and he should not have claimed for. The fact that he may have spent it thinking that he was going to get it back is not relevant.

Does that answer the question? Can I answer any specific points arising from this?

Please do not forget to rate my answer service positively. You don’t read it positively, then I don’t get any payment/credit for my time here today.

You may think the thread closes after rating, but it does not, it remains open and we can still exchange emails if anything needs clarification.

Kind regards

Stuart.

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
HI THANKS FOR CLARIGYING MY UNDERSTANDING OF THE PHONE COSTS, AND APRIL TRAVEL COSTS.i WAS AN EXECUTOR AND THESE EXPENSES WERE MY BROTHERS, WHO LIVES IN ASCOT, HE WAS MY LATE MOTHER'S DEPUTY.IT WOULD APPEAR THERE IS SOME CONFUSION, AS IT WOULD APPEAR YOU HAVE ASSUMED THE COSTS ARE FOR A SOLICITOR, WHICH IS NOT THE CASE.THEREFORE COULD YOU RECLARIFY IF THE COSTS CLAIMED BY MY BROTHER FOR THE TRIPS TO MANCHESTER IN DECEMBER 2014 ARE VALID.I WILL QUESTION HIS 45P A MILE CLAIM (25P IF HAVE TO ATTEND COURT, PER YOUR REPLY.SUBSISTANCE UNDERSTAND THIS MAYBE HIGHER IF AWAY FROM HOME, HOWEVER WOULD IT BE WORTH SEEING A BILL SHOWING WHAT FOOD HE PURCHASED, ASCERTAIN HOW MUCH IT WOULD COST IF BOUGHT FROM A SUPERMARKET ETC, AND ONLY PAY HIM THE DIFFERENCE AS EXECUTOR COSTS???LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR REPLY
ENDA
Expert:  Stuart J replied 9 days ago.

No, I wasn’t assuming the customer for a solicitor, I was assuming that they were just for an ordinary plain private individual.

A solicitor would be charging for his time and for every visit everywhere.

As I said, solicitor would not normally attend the funeral and your brother is no more able to claim expenses for attending the funeral than anyone else who attended.

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
HELLOBeen away for a few days, therefore could not answer you.Just got a few queries then I can rate your excellent desciptions and replies.1.) FUNERAL EXPENSES MANCHESTER - my brother brought his wife, and their two children, to the funeral in Manchester, travelling from Ascot, hotel/subsistance, if it is found these included costs for the whole family (brother - the executor, his wife, and two children, what percentage can he reclaim, as impossible to break it down to individual sandwiches!!!!2.) You previously advised that the 45p/mile petrol benefit was shown by AA & RAC, whilst a 25p/mile rate was applicable to court visits,as my brother has taken upon himself to utilise the 45p/mile rate, can I argue for necessity and cost effectiveness this should be 25p/mile, who produced/set this 25p/mile rate was it HMRC???3.) Headstone cost -- previously mentioned as not being an executor expense, should I offer my brother 50% of cost out of my own pocket (£138.50/2), after he supplier a valid invoice.As the payment would have been in euros, I am wary of my brothers total, as it could actuaally be the euro cost (similar to the mass cards issue previously mentioned).4.) Mass cards - the goal posts have now changed, my brother claims he reimbursed our aunt for the full cost, and she confirmed this verbally on the phone on saturday. Spoke to my aunt today and her reply seemed very unconvincing, she said twice she had not been reimbursed, then said later she had!!!!! Going to ask my brother to supply proof he has reimbursed our aunt, and if he has is he only allowed to recover the original invoice cost of 123 euro, even if he has paid her £123.5.) Funeral costs in Ireland (wexford), and funeral lunch costs, cannot understand why this would be paid by him, when the english funeral costs were paid from our mother's estate account, again i will be asking for invoices and proof of payment, and looking to see if my brother has put the value in euros, on his expenses as pounds sterling.I think that will cover just about everything, unless i have a COLUMBO moment.If I do not speak to you again, thank you very much for your clear and cincise breakdown of all the answers provided.After receiving your reply, if everything seems answerable, I will leave you feedback/score etc.Regards
Enda

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