When a will is drawn up, a great deal of thought should be given as to who should be appointed Executor of the Will. Typically, most wills appoint a close relative or a friend, a solicitor or perhaps a bank. Whilst any number of Executors maybe appointed, for practical reasons it is often sensible to generally limit the number appointed to maybe just two or three just in case one predeceases the other during the administration of the estate.
Executors duties are significant bearing in mind the issuing of the grant of probate or grant of letters of administration enables the Executor to collect in and deal with all the deceased persons assets and liabilities.
Disputes with Executors are common and in our experience fall into the following categories :-
- The Executor will not let me see a copy of the Will
- The Executor is slow in paying me my inheritance
- The Executor may have been acting unreasonably and I have suffered a loss
The Executor will not let me see a copy of the will
We are often instructed in those cases where the Executor will not disclose a copy of the will despite the Deceased being a close family member. Strictly speaking there is no legal entitlement for the Executor to disclose a copy of the will. Despite this it is important to remember that all wills once the grant has been issued do become a public document and as such can be obtained by the payment of a small fee to the probate registry.
In those cases where you consider that you maybe wish to challenge the will, it is often sensible to instruct a solicitor. In doing so the solicitor can send a very specific legal letter to the Executor warning the executor to disclose the will failing which if court proceedings do become necessary then the issue of the Executors conduct in failing to disclose the will, will be brought to the attention of the Court. Sometimes a caveat can often be used to ensure the disclosure of a will, as a caveat prevents the issuing of a grant of probate something which both the Executor and Beneficiary will be keen to avoid.
The Executor is slow in paying me my inheritance
All estates do take time to administer and it is important to be patient when a beneficiary under a will. Typically in our experience most straightforward estates take up to 6 months to administer maybe more, in those cases where Inheritance Tax maybe be due. Consequently, it may well be the case that the reason for the delay in paying the legacy due under a will is simply due to the fact that the grant has yet to be obtained, enabling assets to be sold to pay the legacy.