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Help for executors

Below are some of the more common questions we are asked by executors and trustees. Please click on the questions below to find out more.

Is there a time limit for making a claim under the Inheritance Act?

Yes, a disappointed beneficiary must commence proceedings within six months of the date of the Grant of Probate. It is possible to apply to court to extend this time limit, but it is certainly not guaranteed. A disappointed beneficiary may apply to delay the Grant of Probate from being issued. If this happens please contact us and we can discuss the options available to you. Similarly, if you know about a potential claim, even if it might be outside the time limit, you should contact us so that we can discuss the options and consider the next steps.

As an executor do I have to do whatever the beneficiaries tell me to do?

Not necessarily. As an executor or trustee you have a wide range of powers and duties. It is quite common for executors or trustees to keep beneficiaries up to date with progress and there are some pieces of information that a beneficiary is entitled to receive. However, some requests do not have to be complied with, for example if the request is for confidential information. It is always advisable to contact a member of the Disputed Wills and Probate team to discuss any concerns you have about the role of executor or trustee, to ensure that you are not personally liable if you make the wrong decision.

Can I ignore a claim made against the estate if I don’t agree with it or think there is no merit to it?

It would be advisable to seek legal advice if someone makes a claim against the estate. If you are aware of a potential claim, but still distribute the estate, you could be liable in negligence should the claim ultimately succeed. This area of law can be particularly complex and care should be taken when making decisions to ignore a claim and distribute the estate.

The beneficiaries keep accusing me of delaying and are threatening to sue me, what can I do?

This can be a very difficult situation to find yourself in. It is always advisable to try and resolve any issues with the beneficiaries as amicably as possible. It may well be that they simply need an update on the administration. However, if it is not possible to do this you should seek advice on how best to proceed. Our team act for executors frequently and will be able to quickly advise you of the best course of action to take.

What if the Will is very unclear and no one can agree what we should do?

It may be best for the executor to apply to court and ask a judge to decide what the Will means. If an executor interprets the Will incorrectly without seeking an opinion from the court they could be negligent. It would be advisable to contact our team to discuss this in more depth.

How much will it cost me and does the estate pay for it?

If advice is necessary in order to properly carry out the executor’s role, the costs are normally to be paid out of the estate. Prices vary depending on the individual circumstances and it is always worth contacting our team to discuss the costs. We are always open and upfront with you when discussing the anticipated costs that the estate may be facing. Our team are always mindful that any costs are reasonable and proportionate to the matter in hand. It does not cost you anything to contact our team for an initial quote.

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