If a grant of probate has now been made to your grandmother’s estate a copy of her will can be obtained from the Probate Registry. It is likely that you will need to enter a caveat against the estate to stop her son from taking any actions before you know whether you have any entitlements.
This will not be possible if the last will made by your father shortly before his death is valid. Providing your father had mental capacity and the will excluding you was not subjected to undue influence your only prospect could be to make a claim under the Inheritance (provision for Family and Dependents)Act. However claims by independent adult children are rarely successful.
The only way a property can be prevented from passing to the survivor of two joint tenants is for the joint tenancy to be severed during their lifetimes. The property will then be held as tenants in common in equal shares and each joint owner may pass and deal with their share as they wish.
I rang DWP this week to see if the money was still outstanding. They said my mother was not on their debtors list but could not give me any further information because I am not the executor. I have had a difficult time with my cousin because of the way she has dealt with the payments of other beneficiaries apart from my grandchildren, she seems extremely reluctant to pay anyone without pressure from me, who in turn was getting pressure from beneficiaries.
I have been unable to gather information about the overpaid benefits because my mother dealt with all her finances herself and the executor has destroyed all the bank statements we had at the time of her death.
The executors named in a Will owe a duty to the named beneficiaries and must provide them with an account of all assets and liabilities held by the deceased at the moment of death. It appears that you are not a beneficiary or the person appointed as trustee for the grandchildren. Accordingly you are not entitled to information relating to the alleged payment due to DWP.
You will only be liable for any debt which has been incurred in your name or jointly with your husband. You will not be personally liable for his debts but they will have to be paid as a first charge on his estate after his death and so they must be paid before the remainder of his estate is paid to the beneficiaries-presumably you.
Make sure you hold the house is held by you as joint tenants. It will then not pass in his estate but automatically to you and his share will not be liable for payment of his debts. Beware however of becoming his executor or personal representative if his estate is insolvent.
I am afraid that you do not at this time have a right to see your late mother’s will. You will only be entitles to see the will once probate has been granted after which the will becomes a public document. It is to be expected however that your sister as executor would advise you whether you are a beneficiary. If you have suspicions that your sister is not carrying out her duties as executor properly a caveat may be entered at the probate registry.
This unfortunate situation demonstrates the problems which can occur when an unnecessarily large number of executors are appointed to administer a small family estate. The only answer when executors are unable to agree and get on with the administration is to have a judge decide disputed matters or remove an uncooperative executor.
It seems that there is no alternative other than to make an application to the court-or at least for the 2 executors in agreement to advise the uncooperative executor that this will be done. They have a duty to complete this administration which has already taken far too long and no doubt proved unnecessarily expensive.