We’re Here To Help With Probate Disputes

Disputes With The Executor Of A Will

Being appointed as an Executor comes with many responsibilities and duties, which can result in serious repercussions if they are not carried out correctly. Dealing with an estate can be quite a complex process, which is why it is always wise to have one executor who is appointed in a professional capacity, such as a solicitor or accountant.

An Executor's responsibilities include:
  • Value the deceased’s estate, this will include house valuations, valuations of personal effects, collation and valuation of financial portfolios etc
  • Collect and safeguard the assets of an estate
  • Prepare the IHT (inheritance tax) forms and pay any IHT, capital gains and income tax due
  • Apply for the grant of probate using the probate application forms with the local probate registry
  • Register the grant of probate with any relevant institutions
  • Transfer the ownership of any property and close any accounts
  • Pay any debts or liabilities owed by the deceased and pay any expenses incurred
  • Prepare final accounts for the estate
  • Distribute the estate in accordance with the Will or intestacy rules

We can help, call us on 01935 823883

What Are The Common Disputes With Executors?

An Executor does not perform their duties correctly?

Executors duties are significant and are not always performed by a professional, such as a solicitor or an accountant and as a result, disputes with Executors are reasonably frequent. We find they can generally be resolved without the need for going to court, as negotiation or mediation can achieve the desired result. Nevertheless, if these forms of dispute resolution do not work, court will be the next option and at Routh Clarke we can help you whichever route you need to take. Below shows the most common categories we come across for disputes with Executors.

An Executor will not let you see a copy of the Will?

It is quite a common occurrence for Executors not to disclose a copy of the Will, even when the Deceased is a close family member. There is actually no law saying Executors must disclose a copy of the will, but most will give a copy to beneficiaries, at the very least. Unfortunately, when they won’t disclose a copy of the Will, it often leads to suspicion that they are hiding something or misgivings about them not performing their duties correctly.

Normally a letter from a solicitor pointing out that the court may not look kindly on the Executor if they do not disclose it, is enough to achieve disclosure. Failing this, you could try to gain a caveat to prevent the issue of the grant of probate, which means the executors will not be able to distribute any of the funds. This is not a situation many Executors, or beneficiaries like to happen, so disclosure of the Will would normally take place if this is suggested. We can help with both of these options.

Once the grant of probate has been issued, Wills do become a public document and a copy can be obtained from the probate registry after the payment of a small fee.

Problems with Executors paying inheritance monies

It does, in our experience, take a fair bit of time to administer an estate, so patience is definitely required when dealing with probate. Even the most straightforward ones will take up to 6 months and often more when Inheritance Tax is due. As a result, it may well be there has been a delay in obtaining the grant of probate and as a result the Executor/s have not been able to sell any assets or distribute the estate as detailed in the Will or under Intestacy rules. It might also be because someone is contesting the Will.

The best advice we can give is to keep in contact with the Executor, so you are fully briefed on their progress. However, if you do think something is amiss in the probate process, the best course of action is to speak to a solicitor who can make official investigations for you. Hopefully a letter from a solicitor will put the matter straight, but if not Routh Clarke are here to advise you on your best course of action.

To discuss your probate dispute call us on 01935 823883