Since the Open Letter to John White was first published on 07 March 2013, we've had an opportunity to review it, and think it prudent to address Mr Bowe's statement about Saoirse returning the disbursement from Dolores' estate that was sent to her.
We can't figure out why Mr Bowe would bring this up in his letter to Saoirse. It had happened well over a year previously, and of course Saoirse was fully aware she had returned it. Perhaps this line in Mr Bowe's letter was meant for internal consumption at Beauchamps, or maybe such an act just doesn't compute in his world, leaving him in a state of flummoxed bewilderment. We don't know.
The fact that Saoirse refused to accept this €19,000 disbursement from her Mom's estate is certainly true:
For those of you with legacy browsers, we offer the before and after:
Certainly not something you see everyday. It must have been an agonizing decision. Well, not in Saoirse's case. Both Saoirse and her husband report that she thought about keeping it for a max of 10 seconds.
So why was this €19,000 declined by Saoirse?
On 07 February 2011, solicitor/executor sent a letter to Ethan Maxwell, his client and co-executor concerning Dolores' estate. He also copied this letter to the nine residual beneficiaries. The final paragraph raised some concerns among a few of them:
One final point. Although there is no Inheritance Tax payable in this estate, the Revenue Commissioners will ask for PPS numbers for all the beneficiaries (with the exception of yourself, as the value of your inheritance is so low). I will be requesting your siblings to supply me with these details.
Joseph M. Bowe BEAUCHAMPS
Mr Bowe followed this with a letter to the beneficiaries requesting their PPSN's on 21 February.
The concern here was that suppling the PPS numbers (equivalent to a Social Security Number in the US) would expose whoever did so to mischief by Ethan. This was not paranoia. Saoirse responded with her concerns on 1 March. She had also done the legwork to make sure she wouldn't have to provide her PPSN to the executors, and gave this information to Mr Bowe.
March 1, 2011
Re: The Estate of the late Dolores Maxwell
I am responding to your letter of Feb. 21, 2011 requesting my PPS number. I have major concerns about the vulnerability this will place me and my family in should Ethan have access to it. My understanding is that as an Executor he will have access to all of this sensitive information and given his past history I will not jeopardise myself or my family. Given his attempts at extortion and threatening Alex, Conor, Nathaniel and Sean in their places of employment, (as well as what Mom and Dad endured over the decades) through their employers, I believe it's prudent that he have no way to gain sight of my PPS number.
I have contacted both Revenue and Probate and they advise since the estate is so small, below their threshold, they will accept the form registering probate without PPS numbers. I spoke with Name Redacted in the Capital Acquisitions in Dublin and Name Redacted in Probate in Wexford. Both have agreed to accept the paperwork without the PPS numbers of myself and the others (should they desire to do so). Name Redacted in Probate asks that you please include a note to the same when filing the paperwork.
This concern was further buttressed by evidence received by Saoirse that Ethan had accessed priviliged information concerning one of his siblings. It was believed that his employment in the finance department of the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee (CDVEC) allowed him to access personal information of his siblings.
[Editor's note: Ethan Maxwell is still employed in the Finance Department of CDVEC. ]
Mr Bowe responded two days later, and although he had reservations, agreed to proceed without the PPSN's. Excerpts:
Thank you for your e.mail of 1st March. I completely understand your reluctance to provide a PPS number. I imagine that some of your siblings would feel the same.
In the circumstances, I suggest that we simply go ahead and lodge the papers and hope for the best.
20 September 2011 Our Ref JMB/EM/MAX17/3 Your Ref:
Dolores Maxwell Decd.
I am writing to you in your capacity as one of the residuary beneficiaries under your late mother’s Will. I am sending the same letter to your siblings (with the exception of Ethan) who are also residuary beneficiaries.
Having collected in most of the “cash” in the estate, the Executors propose to make a payment on account of €19,000 to each of you. Please let me know how you wish me to remit these funds to you e.g. cheque, Draft or electronic transfer. In the case of the latter, I would need full details to include IBAN and Swift Codes, if the Account is overseas.
For those of you who have not yet given me your PPS numbers, could you do so now. Where the taxable value of the total benefit due to a beneficiary exceeds €20,000, it is a requirement of the Probate Office and the Revenue Commissioners that we supply a PPS number for the beneficiary. Since some of the beneficiaries declined to furnish their numbers, we had to give an undertaking to the Probate Office and the Revenue Commissioners not to distribute the assets to any beneficiary who did not first supply them with his/her PPS number. Without the undertaking, the Grant of Probate would not have issued.
Of course at this point (and detailed elsewhere on this site), Saoirse had realised that Mr Bowe had been repeatedly lying to her for many months. She was in no hurry to see the estate wound down at this point, as she was about to lodge the complaint to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, and considered there was a clear possibility that the executors would try to hurriedly finish the administration and retreat behind the walls of Beauchamps. Recent offers on Dolores' house (after months of no offers) seemed to also indicate this was a possibility.
Two days later, Mr Bowe pushed for Saoirse's PPSN again, in an email marked marked “!”:
23 September 2011 Our Ref JMB/MMG/MAX17/3 Your Ref:
Your late mother
I refer to the e.mail I sent out to the residuary beneficiaries on 20th September 2011. I did not hear from you subsequently. If you are not going to supply me with your PPS number, would you communicate it directly to the Revenue Commissioners and the Probate Office and furnish evidence to me that you have done so.
The absence of your PPS number is causing difficulties for me in making the payment on account I had suggested.
Joseph M. Bowe BEAUCHAMPS email@example.com
Now this really seemed curious. Even if Dolores' house sold, it would be two to three months before the process was completed and the accounts were tallied. Why the rush? Why the push for Saoirse's PPSN?
We are not sure what the push was about, but obviously the PPSN was not needed. To her surprise, and contrary to Mr Bowe's statement that the executors could not distribute assets without the benficiary's PPSN, she received a cheque on 10 October. So, as Saoirse had informed Mr Bowe months before, her PPSN indeed was not needed. She sent the cheque back the next day with this letter:
Mr. Joseph M. Bowe
Sir John Rogerson’s Quay
RE: The estate of your client, the late Dolores Maxwell.
Your Ref: JMB/OLM/MAX17/3
I am in receipt of your registered letter dated Oct. 7, 2011 and received last evening.
Your letter encloses a cheque in the amount of 19,000 EURO. I enclose it herewith. I feel comfortable waiting for any payment until mom’s estate is settled and I can review a complete and transparent accounting (I believe it’s referred to as a Testamentary Account) as we’ve spoken of several times.
I have voided the cheque to ensure its safety.
I look forward to hearing from you and obtaining the Testamentary Account/full disclosure on my late mother’s estate.
Many thanks for your time.
Mari Maxwell Encl.
Just for the record, Mr Bowe's reply:
13 October 2011 Our Ref JMB/MMG/MAX17/3 Your Ref:
Your late mother
Thank you for your letter of 11th October.
I have transferred the €19,000 that was due to you, by way of a payment on account, to a separate account which we have opened here for you. When making further payments to your co-beneficiaries, we can credit this account, as necessary.
I am following with interest the website www.dolores-maxwell.com. Are you responsible for this? If not, would you know who is?
In previous correspondence, you have outlined certain concerns you have in relation to the handling of your late mother’s affairs, both prior to her death and in the course of the administration of her estate. If you have not already done so, I would suggest that you now engage your own solicitor who could advise you separately in relation to these matters.
Joseph M. Bowe BEAUCHAMPS
To understand Saoirse's decision, it is useful to ask a question. If I believed my mother was murdered, and if by my accepting €19,000 it might make it more difficult to obtain justice for her, would I accept it or refuse it?
It is a simple question, and perhaps one of those questions that a person who is honest with themselves would answer with “I can't know until I am, God forbid, in that situation myself.”
We count ourselves fortunate to know one person who of a surety answers that question like this: