When an Executor is Issued with a Grant of Probate, they will have sworn an Oath or Statement of Truth, confirming that they will administer the estate in accordance with the law. 

If you are a beneficiary and are having difficulties with an unhelpful executor, what are the key factors and what can you do ?

Time

It does take time to administer an estate. Given this most estates even very straightforward ones can take 3-6 months so it is important to recognise this.

When will you be contacted as a beneficiary ?

If a solicitor is appointed, typically they will not contact a beneficiary until the estate is finalised, assets have been collected and liabilities paid. The reason for this is that the estate accounts can then be prepared, and amounts clarified. You will also be supplied with a copy of the will.

How long after probate should the estate be distributed ?

This varies and depends upon the nature of the estate.As the time limit to make a claim under the Inheritance Act 1975 is 6 months, typically most professional executors will await the expiry of 6 months before the estate is distributed so it is worth recognising this.

What information will i be given as a beneficiary ?

If you are a residuary beneficiary then you should be given the full estate accounts showing all the assets and liabilities and how the estate has been administered, and your share calculated. If you simply receive a legacy you would not receive such information.You can find out the overall value of an estate from the grant of probate issued.

The executor is refusing to commuincate and distribute the estate

If the executor is refusing to distribute the estate, then legal help should be sought. Establishing the reason for the delay should be clarified, it may simply mean that there are issues with the estate but if it is a case that the executor is simply refusing to administer the estate then legal advice should be sought – we regularly help disappointed beneficiaries with claims against executors who may have abused their position as an executor or maybe conflicted in their role – for example it could be that the executor himself is living in a property owned by the deceased and simply does not want to move out of the property. If so, we can advise on the appropriate steps to have the executor removed and the estate administered.

Need Help ?

If you are a beneficiary frustrated with an executor and want to speak to a lawyer – call Tim Murden on 01492 42 9985 or mail at tim.murden@tmsolicitors.co.uk, Tim Heads our contested probate team.

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