My Father's Estate

I was an only child. My mother died in 1984, then about 19 years later, in 2003,  my father died. We were a very close family, and cherished our time together.

Our family collected many momentos and cherished items. Some of them would have great financial value, some would have negligible financial value. But they were all of immense sentimental value. Our house was packed full of these items. In some rooms it was difficult to move around due to the sheer volume of items. Some people might judge us as dysfunctional for this hoarding, but it was our right to do this, and it gave us pleasure and great peace of mind. The house had not changed since my teenage years, it was frozen in time. Nothing had been thrown away. Everything was in exactly the same place it had always been in. It was as though my mother and father were still living there. This was our 
sanctuary. We could go out into a hostile changing world because we had our house and all our possessions to come home to. Since leaving home to go to college, and subsequent career, I had often taken or sent my most cherished possessions back to my father to place in safe keeping in our family home. The house was thus also our depository. In addition to the house and it's precious contents, my father's estate comprised financial assets of well in excess of a million pounds.

The Will

My father wanted the house and contents to be transfered to me undisturbed. He repeatedly told me that the family house and all it's contents would be coming to me upon his death. He knew that I would preserve the house frozen in time as he had done. He knew that I needed to do this for my emotional wellbeing, just as he needed to do so in his lifetime. We had discussed this issue many times, and we both clearly knew each other's intentions in this matter.  My father had a series of strokes towards the end of his life. Knowing that the end was near he he made his Will. In order to be certain that there would be no problems after his death he engaged the services of a professional solicitor, specializing in the field of inheritance and probate, to write his Will. That solicitor was John Loftus, the head of the probate department of Norton Peskett. 

He asked Revd. Loftus to leave the house, and all contents thereof, to his son. There is rigorous evidence to support this: 

  • My father told me during his lifetime that this was how his Will was written. Indeed, after his Will was written my father told me that his Will left the house and contents to me. Thus he was clearly under the impression that this was exactly what his Will said. 

  • There are instructions to John Loftus handwritten by my father that confirm this. 

  • Revd. Loftus' own attendance notes confirm this. 

But this is not what Revd. Loftus put in the Will. Instead he structured the Will as a “trust for sale”, a lawyer's trick that allows the executors to do whatever they want. The consequences of this were never explained to my father. Revd. Loftus told my father that the Will did in fact match his wishes. That was a lie. But my father was ill, a large part of his brain dead from his strokes. Even speech was an effort for him: He had to think carefully to form the words, then the words just exploded from his mouth in a tremendous effort. He trusted his own lawyer. Even though we are told to pay attention only to written documents and ignore verbal overrides, he was told by his own lawyer, a vicar, that the discrepancy was just a technicality, done to make the executor's job easier. Revd. Loftus has since told me the same lies. I have recorded telephone conversations with Revd. Loftus that prove this. It certainly did make it easier for the executors, easier to embezzle that is.

Thus John Loftus deprived me of legal title to the house and contents. The Will was written in arcane legal terminology that a layman such as my father could not understand. That is why solicitors are employed to translate a lay client's wishes into this mysterious dialect, and to explain the meaning of legal documents to their clients. Since my father had clearly instructed John Loftus to leave the house and contents to his son, he was entitled to rely on the document presented to him for signature as being a correct translation of his instructions. He signed the Will because he trusted his solicitor, John Loftus, to do the job correctly. John Loftus has confirmed in a telephone conversation with myself that he did not explain the consequences of this Trust For Sale to my father. Thus my father was misled into signing a Will that did not reflect his stated wishes.

“Probate Industry”

In his position as the head of the probate department at Norton Peskett, Revd. Loftus uses a “loss leader” to generate new business. He advertises a cheap Will writing service, then writes himself into the Will as an executor to get the highly lucrative “probate industry” business later.

It is well know that the administration of estates is an exceedingly lucrative business for solicitors. It takes very little knowledge: Mostly it consists of filling out forms and mailing standard letters. Most of the work is performed by para-legals or even secretarys. Thus costs are kept low, while still billing the client a premium rate. Indeed, the work is so profitable that it is often referred to as the "Probate Industry".

In order to lock in this lucrative work it has become common practice for law firms to offer cheap Will preparation as a loss leader. Unscrupulous solicitors write themselves into the Will as executors to get the estate administration business later. The Will is often written by making minimal changes to a standard template Will. This minimizes the cost to the solicitor, but results in a very low quality product for the client. It is deplorable that solicitors do not give due care and attention to a document so critical as a Will. There is no second chance for the client to correct problems that come to light only after their deaths!

House Contents at Time of Death

My father had carefully collected important estate documents, filed and labeled them, and placed them in prominent places in our family home where they would easily be found after his death. Everything else in our family home was in its' usual place, frozen in time for 50 years. Everything was as it should be: No work or effort was needed or wanted from the executors. Their duty was to leave well alone. But John Loftus ordered a house clearance, destroying not only these important documents, but also our family's most cherished heirlooms, and even my personal property that was never part of the estate. From the very instant of my father's death, the executors went on a rampage of destruction. Their duty was to protect the estate assets, but instead that were determined to destroy. Indeed, the executors have personally profited from the theft of our family's possessions. In some cases they have just helped themselves to household chattels. Anything they wanted for themselves they just took. They treated my home as their personal zero-cost shopping spree. In other cases they have sold valuable assets to their friends, and close business associates, for rediculously low prices. In yet other cases they have willfully destroyed my most treasured possessions out of pure spite, just to cause me emotional torment. My father had tried so hard to do everything right, and to make things as easy as possible for me. But all his best efforts were so easily destroyed by Norton Peskett.

Overview  |  Pre-Death   |  Post-Death   |  Consequences   |  John Loftus   |  Julian Gibbons