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).
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.