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Challenging an Executor

If you are the beneficiary of an estate, there might be circumstances when you are concerned that the personal representatives are not dealing with the administration correctly.

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    Challenging an Executor

    You might be concerned that the personal representative is:

    • Not taking any steps to progress the administration of the Estate
    • Not looking after the Estate’s assets correctly and letting them fall into disrepair
    • Not taking into account any outstanding debts of the Estate
    • Not correctly following the terms of the Will, or has misinterpreted it
    • Not maximising the size of the Estate

    If any of these circumstances apply to you, it is important that you obtain professional legal advice as soon as possible so that, where necessary, any action can be taken to protect your inheritance.

    Can I remove an executor?

    In some circumstances you can apply to the Court to remove an executor. In order to do so the applicant would need to satisfy the Court that the executor has failed in his / her / their duty towards the estate and its beneficiaries. The applicant will need to evidence that the failure of duty has caused, or is causing, a detriment to them.

    The process can be stressful and costly and is usually pursued only where all other options have already been explored and exhausted.

    Can I demand the executor show me a copy of the Will?

    When a testator dies, his / her / their Will becomes the property of the executor. The executor does not have a duty to show any beneficiary a copy of the Will. However, it is usually good practice to show them  the part of the Will that provides for them so as beneficiaries who are kept informed about an estate and its administration are less likely to be concerned it is not being dealt with properly.

    Executors will have to take a view as to whether it is appropriate or necessary to provide a beneficiary with a copy of the Will. Whether the beneficiary is entitled to a small legacy or a large share of the residuary estate may impact on that decision.

    It is worth noting that once a Grant of Probate is issued, the Will becomes a public document.

    Am I entitled to see and approve the Estate Accounts?

    If you are a residuary beneficiary, you are entitled to have sight of the Estate Accounts prior to the final distributions. The Estate Accounts should show how your share of the inheritance has been calculated.

    As personal representative, it is also good practice to have Estate Accounts approved by all residuary beneficiaries prior to final distributions as it is a way of protecting your position should a beneficiary later query what they have received from the estate.

    Related services

    Your key contacts:
    ...
    Claire Martin
    Partner  Head of Private Client

    Tel:02072280017

    ...
    Prue Abrahams
    Senior Associate Private Client

    Tel:02072280017

    ...
    Amaya Huntly
    Senior Associate Wills, Probate, Trusts

    Tel:02072280017

    ...
    Samantha Fennah
    Associate  Private Client

    Tel:02072280017

    ...
    Rajinder Rai
    Senior Associate & Accredited Mediator Private Client

    Tel:02072280017

    ...
    Olivia Emmett
    Trainee Solicitor Private Client

    Tel:02072280017

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