Executor Disputes

Advice and assistance in resolving executor issues

An executor is a party appointed by the deceased to deal with the administration of their estate. An executor has to abide by rules and duties in administering an estate.  An executor who causes a loss to the estate by their actions could be personally liable for that loss.

We can provide assistance in the following distinct areas:

  • As an executor you are struggling to deal with the responsibilities of administering an estate or you feel you are being harassed unreasonably by a beneficiary
  • As an executor you are having difficulty in obtaining cooperation from other executors
  • You are an executor and a beneficiary or other executor is bringing a claim against you
  • As a beneficiary you are unhappy with the actions of one or more of the executors.

If you believe you have a claim against an executor, or you are an executor and a claim is being brought against you please contact our specialist executor dispute advisers for further advice:

Below are some typical scenarios where disputes may arise that we can advise you on:

The executors won’t keep me informed

The executors do not have a duty to keep beneficiaries informed about the administration of the estate however it is good practice to. They do however have a duty to provide a beneficiary with estate accounts when requested.

The executors are taking a long time to administer the estate

It is generally accepted for executors to have up to a year to collect in and administer an estate.  After this time you may be able to take action against them if the delay is unreasonable.  This will depend on the complexity of the estate and whether there are assets such as a house to sell.

I think the executors are making money from the estate

An executor can only charge for his services if he is a professional executor such as a solicitor or accountant.  A non professional executor is only permitted to be reimbursed for out of pocket expenses such as travel costs and charges paid out to obtain probate.  They cannot charge for their time.

An executor is refusing to do anything, can I force him?

A named executor cannot be forced to accept the role given to him under a will, unless he has already started dealing with  the estate such as contacting banks and handling the deceased’s money, without first getting a grant of probate.  The court can however “pass over” the named executor and appoint someone in his place if this is in the best interests of the estate.

Can I stop an executor from being granted probate?

If you have grounds for a claim against the estate, you believe you have a better right to be granted probate or there are reasons why a person is not suitable to be an executor you can lodge at the probate registry what is known as a caveat.  This will prevent probate from being granted until the dispute is resolved.  Once probate has been granted you cannot lodge a caveat therefore it is important to take legal advice as soon as you have concerns about the estate or the executor.

Contact the team at Cohen Cramer for clear, sensitive, professional advice:

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