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Claims Against Executors / Administrators

Their responsibilities include:

  • Collecting the deceased’s assets;
  • Paying any outstanding debts;
  • Preparing accounts detailing the assets and liabilities in the estate;
  • Distributing the estate in accordance with the Will (or intestacy rules in the event that there is no Will).

The Executor has a duty to carry out these tasks and to do so without any undue delay. If you are a beneficiary, you may feel that the Executor is failing to comply with their duties and that they are not acting in your interests.

Alternatively, if you are one of two or more Executors you may feel that another Executor is delaying the process or failing to comply with their duties.

In either case, you may be able to apply to the court to have an Executor removed from their role.

You may also be able to pursue a claim to recover any losses that might have been caused to the estate by the Executor’s breach of duty.

Our Dispute Resolution Team are regularly instructed to act in relation to disputes relating to the administration of estates and have acted in numerous applications to remove Executors, both on behalf of Claimants and Defendants.  We will aim to identify your goals and the most effective ways of achieving your aims at the outset of your case.   We will try to resolve your case without the need for court proceedings wherever possible and we are skilled in all forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (including mediation).

Frequently Asked Questions

Can the executors and beneficiaries be the same people?

Yes. In most cases, there is no reason why the people inheriting your estate can’t be the same people as those dealing with the practicalities. We can tell you whether this will cause a problem in your particular circumstances.

What options are available where an Executor/Administrator is not carrying out their role properly?

There are a number of possible outcomes such as the Executor/Administrator agreeing to stand down or be replaced, the Executor/Administrator undertaking to carry out their function going forward and even the removal or replacement of the Executor/Administrator.  No two situations are the same and therefore consideration must always be given to the most favorable outcome given the specific facts of the matter.

Success Stories

Dispute between client and sibling

We acted on behalf of client to defend a claim for her removal as executrix, against the background of a long-running dispute between our client and her sibling.  We were successful in negotiating terms of settlement and preserving our client’s executorship.

Failed to take action to obtain a Grant of Probate

We represented a client whose sister and co-executor had failed to take action to obtain a Grant of Probate for a period of in excess of 2 years following the testator’s death.  We were successful in resolving the dispute via negotiation, following the commencement of court proceedings, and securing payment of our client’s costs.

Refusal to cooperate

We acted on behalf of a client whose brother had moved into the testator’s property following the date of death and who refused to cooperate with the administration of the estate, which would have required him to vacate the property so that it could be sold.  We secured an order for the brother’s removal as executor and payment of our client’s costs.

Removing a co-executor

We acted on behalf of an executor in an action to remove a co-executor, who had refused to cooperate in obtaining a grant of probate and administering the estate, due to a family dispute.  We were successful in securing the removal of the executor and securing a costs order against the uncooperative executor.

Withholding the testator’s original will

We acted on behalf of a client whose brother and co-executor withheld the testator’s original will and refused to apply for grant of probate.  We subpoenaed the uncooperative executor to deliver the Will to the Probate Registry and were compelled to enforce the subpoena via committal proceedings due to a continued refusal to comply.  We were successful in securing the order sought, together with payment of our client’s costs.

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Rob  Stubbs
Rob Stubbs
Head of Dispute Resolution
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