There are many duties to be complied with including:
- Preserving and protecting the estate assets.
- Being responsible for preparing estate accounts.
- Paying the estate debts and tax, from the estate.
- Distributing the estate to the beneficiaries as per the terms of the Will or the intestacy rules.
- Ensuring the estate assets are collected in promptly, depending upon the contents of the Will.
If an executor fails to comply with their duties as an executor, then beneficiaries can make a claim which the executor will be personally responsible for dealing with. The costs of such a claim can be sought from the executor personally, when a breach of duty is apparent or evidenced. Issues that may arise include:
- A failure to pursue a debt owed to the estate.
- Disregarding the provisions of the Will.
- Acting negligently in dealing with estate assets, for example selling a house for less than market value.
- Extreme cases of fraud or misappropriation of monies.
- Failing to keep adequate records and accounts.
- Acting in conflict of interest.
- Unreasonable delays in dealing with the estate.
Our solicitors regularly advise executors, administrators, personal representatives, and beneficiaries about the correct exercise of executor powers, responsibilities, and duties. We understand the need to resolve these disputes cost-effectively and swiftly, whilst ensuring your protection. The family dynamics and relationships usually involved make situations more complex, especially if there is mistrust and suspicion.
It may be that the executor is asked to stand down or agrees to be replaced. In some circumstances, it is appropriate and necessary to apply to court for the removal of the executor. Each case is different, and we will provide advice that is tailored to your particular situation and needs. You may be able to claim for losses that might have been caused to the estate by the executor’s actions and breaches of duty.