Managing disputes between the executors of a will
Executors or ‘personal representatives’ are appointed by the person making a will to administer their estate after their death. Executors have a duty to administer the estate correctly and to act in the best interests of the will’s beneficiaries.
Administering an estate can be a complex and lengthy process, taking place at an emotional time. During the process disputes can arise between executors, or between the executors and beneficiaries of the will.
Conflicts may arise over distributing assets, particularly if an executor is also a beneficiary of the will; or if beneficiaries feel that an executor is acting unreasonably or not meeting their legal obligations.
Resolving executor disputes
Disputes can stall the administration of an estate and beneficiaries can be seriously affected, so it is important to resolve any conflict quickly.
Removing an Executor
Disputes may be resolved through negotiation, or where necessary you can apply to the court to remove or replace an executor.
There must have been a serious breach of duty for an executor to be removed, such as financial misconduct, acting for personal gain, or endangering the estate’s assets.
Executors may also be removed if they have caused delays or not acted within a reasonable timeframe, however it is important to remember that it can take time to settle an estate and there may be reasons for any delays.
Removing an executor is a complex procedure and it is vital to seek legal advice before taking steps to do so.
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If you are involved in an executor dispute, our contentious probate team is happy to discuss your situation with you. Our team specialises in this area and includes members of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS).