Grandmother (G) died in 2008. By her will, she appointed her son (S) as her executor. Her residuary estate consisted mostly of her £140,000 property and one or two bank accounts.
G left no specific or pecuniary legacies, but distributed her estate in three equal shares:
- 1 share to S;
- 1 share to her grandson (S’ son), (GS); and
- 1 share to her 2 great-grandchildren (GGC)
S instructed solicitors to obtain a grant and on the sale of G’s property. S did not disclose the contents of the will to GGC.
The property was transferred to GS and his wife shortly after death.
GGC have only just now found out that they were named as beneficiaries and entitled to a 1/3 share of the estate.
Letters of claim have been issued against S for the usual - breach of trust/fiduciary duty and fraud. There is a clear case against S. S, however, informs us that he took an equity release loan on his property a couple of years ago and has no realisable assets.
Letters of claim have been sent also to GS and his wife, as it is claimed they conspired with S and knew, or ought to have known (being the son of S) that GGC were entitled to a share of the estate, deliberately concealing that fact from GGC (the relationship between GC and GGC is uncle/nephews).
Of course, GC has replied that he and his wife were bona fide purchasers for value and had no knowledge of the breach, or other terms of the will. A mortgage was taken out at the time of transfer for the remaining 2/3 value of the property. This was then paid to S. GC and his wife claim an equity’s darling and that limitation has expired in any event.
Is there any way to trace the property or reverse the conveyance so that the property is brought back into the estate without evidence that GC did, in fact, conspire or assist S in breaching his duties as trustee and fiduciary?