Simple Will Trust

Hello everyone, I’ve been reading your topics searching for an answer for my problems, I do not wish for free advice but am searching for help whilst protecting the interest of my late Mother. I live close to Taunton and am extremely limited in travelling other than an hour or so by car or train.
My dear Mum died last year and left a modest sum to 5 residual beneficiaries (including me) my Sister, my nephew and two half brothers both ‘war babies’ (I wonder how long that name will remain in knowledge).
The Will itself was relatively simple, I hold singular grant of probate with power reserved by one of my half brothers.
Throughout the entire administration I have been subject to harassment and false accusations after, looking through the accounts I discovered that tens of thousands of pounds had been taken in “gifts & loans” by those two half siblings children. The harassment became so bad that I had to literally give up attempting to ascertain values etc. luckily (not the right term obviously) I was able to transfer my Sister and my Father’s unused IHT (died 1964) to cover this loss/liability for tax. Mum’s main income was her War Widows Pension relating to my Father. Some of these were equal to months and months of her income and one was equal to 1/3 of her entire money including savings.
One of these half brothers is a co trustee of a Will trust established for the other half brother.
Mum didn’t want to let the beneficiary brother to have any access to the trust other than to provide care for him as he became more infirm due to illness/age.
Mum was still cooking, doing his washing, buying his clothes and yes giving him pocket money when she was in her 90’s and him 70 odd!
This brother has a daughter who was extremely abusive and threatening to people including her own Father. She has in the past assaulted him, my Mum and even me.
Mum left the trust advised by a local solicitor but it seems that information was incorrectly recorded (his words, I was there when she spoke with him) Mother’s intentions with the trust was to ensure brother had the help and assistance he always had from her after she died.
I have had several conversations with the solicitor who informs me that I should simply talk to family to ascertain the purpose of the trust by any discussion Mum had with them, I have done this and others reinforce the view above.
The half brother who is joint trustee has simply stated that he had no such discussion.
I asked the Solicitor who drew up the Will to draw up a correct and proper trust document and help me establish the trust, he is not interested.
My joint trustee has taken advice from several legal professionals and now it seems he has found one to support his view.
Today I had a long discussion with this Solicitor who has attempted to get me and other beneficiaries to sign a deed of variation altering the trust, I have refused because I was pre prepared for this and know that all beneficiaries must agree.
But, I am informed that my Mum’s wishes regarding the trust are not important or to be taken into consideration when applying discretion to the trust and basically that I MUST give him anything that he requests without reference to Mother’s clearly stated intention of the trust. That main intention was to prevent him from undue harm or distress should his Daughter find out that he has money.
This seems to be madness to me, I am currently considering the content of my own Will which was last updated when my children were younger than my grandchildren are now! and wondering if I should bother if the written intention of a person of sound mind can be set aside.
I do not have the means to fight a long drawn out legal battle but ask if there is someone nearby who can offer help for a nominal fee of perhaps a couple of hundred pounds and give me some options I would be grateful.
Obviously I loved my Mum dearly and I am not prepared to just roll over and go belly up ignoring her obvious wishes as to what happens to her money after she died.

If the will is valid your duty as executor is to distribute the estate exactly as it provides. The same goes for the trust of which you are not apparently a trustee. If it is valid, it is for the beneficiaries to enforce it and challenge the trustees’ discretions if exercised contrary to the settlor’s expressed wishes, which would need proof. Unless you are a beneficiary or a trustee you have no legal standing to complain.

Whether or not the estate has a cause of action against anyone who obtained “gifts and loans”, presumably from your mother during her lifetime, is a separate issue but you would need concrete proof of any impropriety. If as seems likely the two half siblings are unlikely to admit being at fault they might only be persuaded by your credibly threatening legal action. Even if you were to be advised that this had any chance of success you would have to bear in mind that if you lost you would incur your own costs, and some of theirs, and either not be entitled to recover them from the estate or find that it was insufficient in any case.

The law reports are full of cases of family members with disputed claims like yours and even the winners are often unhappy that this outcome has been a miserable and expensive exercise and not even financially worthwhile. It is unsatisfactory that sometimes the law does not always provide a remedy for a perceived wrong and, even when it does, that it is often not cost-effective to pursue it.

Jack Harper

Thank you for that, sorry to give perhaps too much info but background often helps!

I have grant of probate as sole administrator, the Will has been proved.

I am a Joint Trustee of the Will trust but fear it might prove very difficult to say the least, last night the brother causing problems, without permission from me, removed £400 from the estate account. I granted him access to prevent allegations so he could see exactly how I was dealing with funds.

I just wish to ensure my Mother’s last wishes are complied with.

I have again contacted the author of Will.

Should I consider the appointment of a professional independent trustee to preempt future disagreement?

I fully appreciate the dangers of litigation, no stranger to the Court.

A few years ago I got into litigation with a global manufacturer with a dispute over £60,000. I ended up with my money and they got a £250,000 legal bill… crazy.