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Estrangement

How to advise over a moral dilemma

(42 Posts)
OpenUniversity2017 Mon 10-Aug-20 18:44:30

A distressed friend has come to me for advice.

Jayne’s elderly mother recently died in a care home due to COVID. As if that wasn’t bad enough she recently made the shock discovery that her only sibling - a brother who had power of attorney over their mother’s estate and assets - had made a false declaration to the local authority. As a result of his action the care home fees where met entirely by the local authority for the last year or so of their mother’s life.

When Jayne’s brother revealed this to his sister he asked her that if the local authority were to catch up with his deception, would she be prepared to pay back a proportion of her share to the local authority.

Confused and shocked, Jayne could not give him the assurance he sought so instead asked to see the will,

Two weeks later she received an electronic will from her brother as he was also the only executor ( a solicitor had only been used to help with probate). Jayne was upset to realise that she was not a beneficiary as her brother had led her to expect. Instead, her late mother had left a 1/10 share to be equally split between Jayne’s three adult children and the other 9/10 share to the brother.

Her children have now received money from the estate and they are none the wiser of their uncles fraud .

Jayne came to me anxious and distressed . She’s prepared to compensate her children if they should lose their inheritance. However, the fact still stands She’s been disinherited and found out her brother is a fraud .

She’s tried to get the brother to own up and pay the money back but he refuses to, saying that he feels entitled to his £95,000share, despite the fact that he and his wife are reasonably wealthy already .

Should Jayne inform the local authority of her brothers fraud or just bury it?
Your thoughts please.

Illte Mon 10-Aug-20 18:55:49

I think, morally, that I would expect someone who was putting forward a hypothetical moral dilema, possibly for research, to be honest about that.
🤔

HAZBEEN Mon 10-Aug-20 19:06:01

Do you have a paper to write?

OpenUniversity2017 Mon 10-Aug-20 19:21:36

Er... the issue posted above is not an academic exercise . It’s a true ongoing problem involving real people

Illte Mon 10-Aug-20 19:27:58

Oh well, best of luck with your research.

Smileless2012 Mon 10-Aug-20 19:44:44

Yes she should inform the relevant authorities asap and should also seek legal advice and contest the will.

Oopsadaisy3 Mon 10-Aug-20 22:00:56

My MIL died during lockdown and we are still waiting for probate to come through, Janes brother did well to get it done so quickly and to have distributed the money already didn’t he?

ElaineI Mon 10-Aug-20 22:05:23

Morally yes she should tell them as they all are suffering and services cut through lack of government funding so the money should be paid back from the estate.

V3ra Mon 10-Aug-20 22:14:15

One of the responsibilities of holding a power of attorney is to keep records of any financial dealings made on behalf of the person concerned.
If this has not been honestly done, especially with the intent to commit fraud, then yes it should be reported.
If it isn't then that's also wrong.

Scribbles Mon 10-Aug-20 22:14:49

I'm a hard-faced b***h and I'd certainly grass him up!

However, based on the figures you give, I'm not sure how financially worthwhile it would be for your friend to contest the will. Even if she was successful, by the time the local authority have had their rightful share and the lawyers have been paid, how much would would be left of £105,000?
She might be better accepting the financial situation and content herself with the sweet revenge of dobbing in the dishonest brother.

MamaBear20 Mon 10-Aug-20 23:58:11

Hm, interesting that she died of COVID and the will has already gone through probate AND been paid out. That process typically takes longer. I call BS.

Chewbacca Tue 11-Aug-20 00:41:06

I'm sorry but I can't understand why this is being presented as a "moral" conundrum. From what you say, the brother is a lying, deceitful, dishonest, manipulative waste of space who has apparently interfered with their mother's will to his benefit and his sister's detriment. In addition, he has falsified his claim for financial assistance for mother's care home fees which will, undoubtedly catch up with him. Why is Jane having any doubts whatsoever as to what needs to be done? It would surely be "immoral" not to report him before she gets lumped in with the legal shit storm that's heading her brothers way? hmm

Bibbity Tue 11-Aug-20 02:43:14

Also adding to the above, hiding assets is not that easy.
So for her brother to hide the funds like that it would’ve taken time. And the money would not have easily then been distributed amounts the benefactors upon her death.

BlueBelle Tue 11-Aug-20 04:44:12

I m sure this isn’t a real life situation my friends a solicitor they haven’t even gone back to work yet there will be a backlog of wills etc to work through it sounds a made up story as the timing is all wrong and your user name says it all really

Marmight Tue 11-Aug-20 05:55:18

I’m my Aunt’s executor along with my cousin. She died in April 2019. probate was granted in January and funds distributed to the beneficiaries. Because of Covid, the estate has not been finalised due to the Tax Dept & solicitor ‘working from home’! I find it hard to believe that’Jane’s’ mother’s estate has been sewn up so quickly - in less than 4 months? Hypothetical perhaps or a miracle?

OpenUniversity2017 Tue 11-Aug-20 06:57:58

To all who have posted - I can assure you all that this is a genuine case and definitely not a hypothetical / made up scenario .
Jayne’s mum died in May and probate has been granted . I know this for a fact because it can be verified by going online on the government website which Jayne and I did together . She has also seen a copy of the estate accounts.
I framed this as “moral dilemma “ because while Jayne knows her brother has done wrong, she is also mindful that it’s a criminal act. A solicitor friend has outlined to her what could follow if she does report this deceits/ fraud. It could involve the police and even jail.
Could you do this to your brother, even if you think he’s a lowlife ?
That’s the dilemma .

Furret Tue 11-Aug-20 07:05:14

My next door neighbour is a solicitor and I assure you she has been working, in her office, throughout this pandemic Bluebelle.

Furret Tue 11-Aug-20 07:06:10

Personally, yes. I would drop him in it from a great height.

H1954 Tue 11-Aug-20 07:07:00

I wish I knew which solicitor they used for probate! My FIL passed away very early into lockdown; probate has STILL not been completed. Therefore, I have very little belief in the OP being genuine to be honest.

Jaxjacky Tue 11-Aug-20 07:13:42

My Mum died last September, probate granted in May, a % of the estate has been distributed, but not all as some loose ends and possible CGT to sort out.
And the solicitors bill!!

OpenUniversity2017 Tue 11-Aug-20 07:30:52

H1954 OP ?
I can assure you the facts are genuine.
The Estate was in the form of cash assets only ( various bank accounts ) .
A solicitor was used to help out with the application but that was all . The son as sole executor was responsible for the distribution of the estate.

janeainsworth Tue 11-Aug-20 07:41:22

I don’t know if I’m being thick here, but if ‘Jayne‘ hasn’t inherited anything, how could she be expected to pay back her ‘share’?

And her children must have inherited about £3K each if my maths is correct.

If Jayne knew her brother was carrying out any other form of fraud, eg fiddling company accounts, or tax dodging, would she report him to the police? That’s the question she has to ask herself. The fact that it involves her late mother is a red herring.

Oopsadaisy3 Tue 11-Aug-20 08:52:32

Well I have an idea, as he is obviously a fraudster and a s**t, why don’t YOU report him to the police?

There, job done.

And I still am amazed that Probate has been granted so soon. My MILs estate is so easy to sort, yet we are still waiting 3 months later.

Madgran77 Tue 11-Aug-20 08:54:28

I agree with Chewbacca

janeainsworth Tue 11-Aug-20 10:05:05

Good thinking Oopsadaisywink