Disputes with Executors
We are here to offer you specialist advice on executor disputes. Meet our team of experts to provide you with a tailor made service to assist you. At GLC we have experienced lawyers who are specialists in this area of law.
When a parent or grandparent dies, disputes can often arise about the administration of their estate. If the deceased has left a will they will usually have appointed an executor to carry out their last wishes. Someone who has died without leaving a will leaves an intestate estate and unless their estate is very small an Administrator will need to be appointed to administer the estate under the Intestacy Rules. The collective name for executors and administrators is a ‘personal representative’.
Personal representatives are very often family members who do not necessarily have any experience of dealing with an estate. Whether or not they instruct a solicitor to help them, disputes can arise as a result of disgruntled beneficiaries raising queries about either the value of the estate or how it is being administered.
Very often these sorts of disputes can arise because either the personal representative (PR) or the beneficiary doesn’t understand the legal responsibilities involved in administering an estate.
The situation is often highly charged emotionally and of course it is understandable that when a much loved parent dies, their adult children feel very strongly about how and when information should be shared by a PR. Sometimes a PR will decide not to share information – and it’s important for beneficiaries to know that they do have rights to require an executor to produce financial information, for example by issuing a summons for inventory and account at a Probate Registry.
Sometimes there may be a dispute between beneficiaries and this can often be the case when adult siblings disagree about how a parent’s estate should be administered. Sometimes these disputes will need the involvement of the court and an application can, for example, be made under Part 64 of the Civil Procedure Rules for the court’s guidance.
One point that it’s crucial that a PR should be aware of, is that if there is a dispute between beneficiaries, the PR must remain neutral. If a PR takes sides in any dispute they may well criticised and that could have financial consequences for them.
A PR who doesn’t get on with the job of administering the estate can be removed but this is very much a last resort and the court will not remove an executor just because there is a dispute.
At GLC we act for beneficiaries and executors in disputes over the administration of an estate and can offer cost effective and practical advice. The priority needs to be to preserve the deceased’s estate as much as possible because it is very easy for legal costs to escalate and those costs are usually (although by no means always) met by the estate.
We believe in making access to the right advice as simple as possible. Often, we can make a real difference in a single or planned series of phone advice sessions. Call today to speak to our enquiry team for a free initial consultation.