If a Will doesn't go to probate

Hi all, after a bit of advice. I asked in RP but was directed to here.
My dad died just before Christmas and his wife was executor to the will, along with a close friend of hers. No-one else other than these 2 and the solicitor has seen the will, and she's refusing to let me see it.
How do I go about getting a copy of it without sitting and phoning every solicitor in his town?
I don't trust the woman as far as I can throw her, and just want to make sure she's done it the way he wanted. I know there is no money for me, as it all went to her, but he left some personal effects to me (he told me a few months ago he had) and now she's telling me there is nothing at all.


Book Reviewer
If she's one of the executrixes of the will she has, by law, to abide by the terms of the will (I know I was the Executor of both of my parents wills). She cannot, for example say "it was all left to me" she has to be able to show that "it" was "all left to her". That means that she has to be able to produce the will to show that the estate has been dealt with in accordance with the wishes of the testator. Demand to see the will and if she won't produce it, threaten/go to a brief for access to a true copy of it.

The estate belongs to the testator, not the executor/executrix no matter what they might think.
I've already asked to see the will from both of the executors, neither will show me.
Just wondered what the next step is? How do I go about finding the solicitor who dealt with it?
She thinks that cos she had power of attorney she can do what she likes, but that ended the moment my dad died. She's already closed all of his bank accounts, transferring any money to her own, and sold his car. He died 4 weeks ago!


Book Reviewer
Right my girl (sorry for the implied sexism).

1. Get down to the CAB with all the paperwork that you have - they should be able to give you some "proper" advice to kick things off with. Get them to recommend a brief,

2. After you've seen the CAB see the brief that they've recommended. You MIGHT be able to blag a free chat.

3. If you think that the will hasn't been disposed of according to the wishes of the testator, there MAY be a case of theft to answer to. That means involving the Old Bill. They won't want to know unless you can show dishonesty on the part of the executrix.

The fact that neither of the executrices will give you a copy of the will would seem to imply wrongdoing on their part. The important part is "seem to imply". Ask in writing for a copy of the will, and copy in the brief who wrote the will in the first place. If they still won't give you a copy take airthing to the Bizzies. Tell them that you are doing so.

If a brief wrote the will, and won't let you see it, he won't be overjoyed at the thought of the Law Society turning his records over. The other two probably won't be too happy at having to explain their actions to the Old Bill/Court.

The other


Book Reviewer
My understanding is that the assets cannot be distributed until the will has been proved. Without proof of probate the bank(s) MAY have acted illegally except in the case of a joint account. I believe some (most?) solicitors will give a person a quickie freebie consultation but of course they have a self-interest in recommending legal action. I have a nasty feeling that this is going to be messy and possibly expensive, particularly if the promises were purely verbal and not listed in the actual will, in which case they are not binding.
I'm not a lawyer, so this may be cobblers. My understanding is that if there is a will, there must be a Grant of Probate. Banks in particular won't release assets without the relevant documents. The only exception is when there's no will in which case Letters of Administration are granted to next-of-kin.

If Probate has been granted, then I believe (i.e., I'm not certain) the will is available for inspection by one and all at the Probate Registry; a quick phone call or e-mail should clarify that.

PS Yes, I think the above is (almost) correct, local probate registry. Small estates(<£15k ?) don't need probate apparently. This seems relevant.

Guide to obtaining copies of probate records


This plan would come unstuck if the widow hasn't obtained Probate, but has closed bank accounts and sold property using the power of attorney, without disclosing that your Father had died. In this case I think the CAB, police route is prescribed. Maaybe a strenly worded solicitor's letter to the other executor mentioning fines and criminal records for fraud would achieve results.
Apparently his estate was less than 15k, the house was jointly owned 50/50 and the business they ran was all in her name. So other than his RAF pension and his war pension he didn't really have a lot.
I've only got her word to go on that she consulted a solicitor and it didn't need to go to probate.
Will go to the CAB this week for advice.

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