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Monday, January 28, 2008

Check List After Check List

My life feels like one check list after the other right now. One for work, one for getting my mum's will through probate. In reality I should have one for my personal life as I'm starting to become very forgetful.

I'm pissed off with the ex-lawyer, I'm pissed off with my brother and I'm even pissed off a little with my sister.

The lawyer - quite honestly I was fit to be tied on Friday evening. Since cancelling his services (and well before he'd bothered to even come up with a figure to bill me) I'd asked for the return of all the documents left in his care at the time of our original meeting, with a collection date of last Thursday. All my arrangements have been made with DHL, they just need to have the package ready for collection. Let's not forget that all of these are documents relating to the estate and as he's not longer wishing to be involved, I need them back so I can get cracking on it all, with the accountant. By the way his fee note clearly states payment terms at 30 days!

On Friday night, yes FRIDAY night, after I sent an urgent email to find out if the package had been sent, I receive an email from him telling me that he's basically holding the papers ransom pending payment of his fee note. It seems not to matter to him that he didn't once mention this to me before Friday, the day after the papers are to be sent to me. This shouldn't matter too much, it's just that one of the documents I'm waiting to get back is the house insurance policy as it expires on 29 January. Tomorrow. And the little shithead hasn't had my documents sent back to me so that I can ensure there's no lapse, and no penalty for a lapse, in cover. Update: I sorted it out with the insurer via telephone, learned they had sent a letter to the lawyer which I never received and paid it using my credit card.

I'm also following up on something my mother left behind. A loan to the husband of a good friend. Unbeknown to his wife, he extricated 10,000 pounds from my mother in August with a promise to pay it back in two months. On her deathbed, she took me into her confidence about this and how it was upsetting her that he hadn't bothered to repay it, nor even talk to her about it. She only has the family home number to contact both of them and so couldn't call him. I chased him in an email, he lied through his teeth in his reply to the words that in the 'few weeks' before her death he'd spoken with her several times and she'd said there was no hurry. I checked with my aunt who had been staying with my mother (she'd been in hospital for some of that time and at home the rest of the time, with Irene present) and no, there had been no phone calls. Only confirmation from Irene, too, that my mother had been stressing out about it, feeling like she'd been taken advantage of. My last promise to my mother was that I would do everything to get this back from him.

Since that one email, he's said nothing, despite repeated chasing on my part. My brother, whom I took into confidence about it, has sent one two-line email. I've copied him on all my emails and upon receiving a copy of the last email, his words to me are: "If this isn’t paid very soon I suggest we give all details to (name of chartered accountant)". Well, gee, thanks Callum for being such a great help and support. Great suggestion, cheers, I love the "we". We've chosen to work with a chartered accountant, not a collection agency, hell this isn't even a lawyer who could threaten action on behalf of the estate. Honest to god what a dimwit!

Then Rhona. As if that's not enough for one day, she calls me in her morning to say she'd forgotten to close one of the upstairs windows when she left the house (she's back in Tenerife). And could she have a neighbour's phone number (which I'd given her twice: Once when I was over there and once by phone a few days later). I gave it to her and then she calls me back during her evening (and about 2am my time) - "ummmmm sorry Fion, I've lost that number, could you give it to me again." Insert an expletive or two here.

Hell, I'm even organising my mum's mail redelivery because she couldn't be arsed to go in and do that while she was there. But I'm supposed to applaud the fact she managed to get to Curry's (electrical goods store) with a receipt for a TV screen purchased during my mum's last days but returned. One piece of paper to one store. My brother and I already took them the actual TV screen, it was just that one piece of paper missing. And I'm supposed to not get ratty with her when she calls and wakes me up, for a number I gave her only hours before?

My boss hasn't approved my leave yet and she's gone off on a business trip, leaving me with so much work to do, it's just not funny. Well what was funny, in a perverse sort of way, was the fact she text'd me on Friday night at midnight, telling me she was worried about all the work my assistant was being given and that she looked a little worried at our last departmental meeting. Hello? She still manages to fit it all into an eight- to nine-hour day and muggins here is still pulling 14- to 16-hour days?

If I don't get to go to be with my love, this is going to be one majorly pissed off person. Even more than I am right now! I need that breathing space. I need to shirk off these two heavy cloaks I'm wearing right now. I just need to turn my back on all this 'stuff' for a couple of days and breathe again. In his arms and feeling surrounded by love and support.

Update: Said lawyer and myself have been in email contact again. I received this from him today:

Dear Fiona,

Please don’t let the immediate aftermath of the very sad death of your mother take a turn in a very unnecessary direction. I am not trying to disadvantage you. I have already dealt with the insurance issue, as you will be able to see from the attachments to this email. You need merely take on matters in terms of the SAGA letter of acknowledgement.

From what you have told me I know that none of the family are UK domiciled and I know that you know that reasonable measures to ensure that bills get paid are normal in every sector, including your own. The papers shall be dispatched in the way I have described and would already be on their way, had the agreed fee been paid.

I was personally engaged on other pressing business on Friday. I was not in a position to reply to you until now.

I can’t say that I knew your mother well but we met on three occasions and she was confident enough to appoint me as one of her Executors. I am fairly sure that such a turn of events, as we are in danger of having here, is not something she would have wanted. I do not want to add anything to your grief and my involvement can be brought to a prompt end at your own hands.

That got the blood boiling so I shot this back to him:

Dear (name),

Firstly, as you did not make me privy to the note received from Saga on 22 January (and it is now 28 January), I took matters into my own hands just an hour ago, and one day prior to the deadline for payment. I have settled this bill directly with them, through a charge to my credit card.

I can most certainly assure you that my mother's demise is not taking any unnecessary direction from my viewpoint. I am doing what she wished me to do, which is to look after her affairs. I am also doing what my father wished me to do, which is protect the savings and investments he made and which were passed onto my mother upon his death. You may have seen her original will, which noted only one executor, myself. The same arrangements were reflected on my father's will. My mother changed her will after her discussions with you. She was not fully cognisant of the powers of your executry (including but not limited to "fullest powers of retention, realisation, investment, appropriation, transfer of property without realisation, and management of my estate as if they were absolute beneficial owners") until I explained these to her and that is why she was adamant that I was added as executor.

Your fee note clearly states terms of 30 days and I will observe those terms once I know my mother's documents are on their way to me. I really cannot accept this late advice from you, after so many opportunities for you to advise me of your 'policies' and that this advice came at the 11th hour. I, too, do not wish this to get unpleasant but I really must insist that the documents which are the property of my mother's estate, are made available to me immediately as I am now sole executor. As I said, your fee note will be settled in accordance with your terms of payment as described in the said fee note, i.e. within 30 days.

You are right regarding my mother not wanting, nor anticipating, this turn of events. I find your comment about your relationship with my mother very condescending. While you may have met with her three times, she was my mother for 49 years. Please don't underestimate that. She had implicit faith in me and I am fulfilling that trust. She admitted to me that she was confused about the wording in her new will and that is when she and I discussed the reinstatement of myself as executor, a fact my brother and sister both support in my representation of their interests as well as my own, but more specifically my mother's and my late father's interests.

I will again repeat that I wish my mother's papers returned to me, leaving out if you so wish any documents you produced and which the fee note covers, i.e. returning everything as presented to you at our original meeting. Your fees will be paid as soon as I receive the package and well within the 30 days quoted on your fee note, depending on your dispatch date. I am fully aware of the terms of the commercial world, however it is a rare thing that the party to be paid has access to the form of 'security' you are now using. Also, please do not use the domicile issue against me and my siblings, you were aware of that from the start but never noted that would be an issue with regard to your invoices.

It is at YOUR hands, (name), that this may be resolved without any further aggravation.

Final Update:

Dear Fiona

My efforts to be tactful appear to have misfired, I had better be blunt. I have legal possession of the executry papers and I am exercising what is called a lien over those papers. That is my commercial decision, in all the circumstances. My legal right to hold on to those papers will end when my feenote is paid. If you want to wait for the thirty days mentioned in the feenote then that is a matter for you.

Yours sincerely

and my reply:

Dear (name),

I'll be blunt too. You really are a piece of work, (name). You have done your utmost to make this family suffer for your own pettiness. This clearly demonstrates to all of us that we have made the best decision possible in choosing not to work with you. My mother must be turning in her grave right now.

I will pay the note and will be reporting your actions.

And there's nothing sincere about any of this.


On reflection, maybe I should have been more blunt and called him the blackmailing scumbag I think he is.


Fusion said...

Can you get hold of your boss on the business juant, and tell her you have to go?

Find replacements for your brother and sister?

Find a hitman to put the pressure on the barrister?

Find a transporter (like the ones from Star Trek) to teleport you into your guys arms NOW?

See, such easy anwsers in my fantasy world Fiona...

Hope I made you smile just a bit, and that things do work out for you soon.


freebird said...

These people should be afraid... very afraid.... I know I am ;-)

D said...

Fiona - Now I know why you have succeeded so well in the world of business the only trouble is that the solicitor is probably too much of a prick to understand what you have sent him.As for Fusion's ideas I have a pack of hounds that would happily rip him limb from limb if called upon or failing that at least lick him into submission just say those famous words "Release the hounds" and it shall be so. As for check lists you should have another one with such things as Fiona is wonderful - check , Fiona will prevail - check Fiona will get her annual leave - check and Fiona will get all the love and support she craves on arriving at her destination - check. Take care and keep smiling Dx

anna said...

I am not worthy... I am not worthy... ;)

Sunny Delight said...

I am beyond flabbergasted at the bs you have to put up with. The man (i.e. pondscum) is taking full advantage of distance...as to your siblings...eh...I like fusion's idea very much.

You will prevail, this I know, 'tis no way you won't, I just wish you did not have to go through it.

You are a strong determined woman, Mr. Pondscum has no idea whom he has tangled with.

Remember BBG RULE!!!! HUGS Darling woman.

Gillette said...

What an incredible ASSHOLE!!!

So sad he had to add to all that's going on for you. But at least he is a clear place to vent with all your fury. Always appreciated assholes for that.

D said...

Fiona your last update confirms what you always suspected that he is a shyster and I hope you take him to the ombudsman and he gets carpeted as he obviously only cares about lining his own already no- doubt full pockets. Thankfully you are rid of him. May peace and ease return to you now and I believe rather than turning in her grave both her and your father will be cracking open a bottle or two to cheer on their fine upstanding daughter.Dx

Anonymous said...

How about, "Fuck you, strong letter to follow?"

sorry things are such a mess. It doesn't make it any easier. Take care sweetie.

S'mee said...

Why am I not surprised? My brother-in-law had similar trouble but not quite so vocal.

I have to see a solicitor next week. She has already informed me that her fee is charged at £170 an hour. I also have a 'contact' who runs an escort agency. His 'girls' charge between £140 and £170 an hour. I wonder which would give the better or more honest service?

~Tim said...

You know the difference between a lawyer and a catfish? One is a dirty, slimy, bottom feeder and the other is a fish.... I hope this scumbag gets everything he deserves.


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