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Contentious Probate

Challenging An Executor Of A Will

Losing someone you love is one of the most difficult things you’ll ever go through. If you think their estate is being mismanaged by an executor, we understand how this can make the mourning process harder.

The executor is the person named in the Will as being responsible for dealing with the deceased’s estate.

Their responsibilities include:

  • Collecting the deceased’s assets
  • Paying any outstanding debts
  • Preparing accounts detailing the assets and liabilities in the estate
  • Distributing the estate according to the Will.

The executor has a duty to carry out these tasks. If you believe the executor is distributing assets incorrectly or failing in their other duties, you may be able to make a claim against them.

You can also apply to the court to have an executor removed from their role. Our specialist solicitors are often asked to take over with the administration of an estate in these cases.

If you’d like to make a claim against an executor, we’re here to help. We have the largest Wills, Trusts and Estate Disputes team in the country, and we’re experienced in dealing with complex Will disputes.

Call us today on 0345 604 4895, or fill out our online contact form and we’ll call you back.

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One of the largest Wills disputes teams in the UK
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Challenging An Executor Of A Will - More Information
    • How Do I Contest A Will?
    • Making a claim will differ slightly depending on the circumstances of your dispute, but it’s usually made up of the same steps:

      1. Investigation

      We’ll examine the Will and any related documents (this might be property deeds, trust accounts, previous Wills made by the deceased).

      If relevant, we may also gather medical evidence about the deceased, to understand their condition when they made the Will. This would be particularly important in disputes over whether or not someone had mental capacity to make a Will.

      We might also get witness statements from those who knew the deceased, to better understand the full circumstances in which the Will was drawn up.

      These investigations will help us confirm whether you can make a claim, and what type of claim it will be.

      2. Mediation

      Most disputes can be settled by an alternative dispute resolution method, such as mediation. This means that you don’t have to go to court, which can be costly and time-consuming.

      Mediation typically takes place on one day, with a professionally trained mediator present as a neutral third party. The mediator’s role is to try to help you reach an agreement with the executor and the other beneficiaries.

      3. Court

      Some disputes cannot be resolved by mediation. If this is the case, the matter will have to be settled in court. This is rare, however – and if it does happen, we have the expertise to secure the best outcome for you.

      Whatever the circumstances of your dispute, we’ll support you every step of the way – and we’ll give you a clear idea at the start of how long we think it will take, and the outcome we think you can expect.

    • How Much Does It Cost? Who Pays?
    • The cost of a Will, trust or estate dispute varies from case to case, depending on time, complexity, and whether or not you have to go to court.

      A dispute can be settled at any time if the parties can come to an agreement, and they can then decide how to split the costs between them. However, if an agreement can’t be reached and the case has to go to court, the court will decide how the costs will be paid.

    • How Can I Cover The Cost Of My Claim?
    • There are various ways you can cover the cost of your claim, depending on your case. These include:

      • Legal Expenses Insurance
      • Conditional Fee Agreement (‘No Win No Fee’)
      • Payment on conclusion
      • Private monthly billing.

      We understand that funds and assets may be tied up in the disputed estate, and we’ll be as flexible as possible to ensure that’s not another worry on your mind. We’ll discuss the different payment options with you at the start.

      Your first consultation with us is completely free, and there’s no obligation to continue.

    • How Long Do I Have To Make A Claim?
    • Depending on the type of claim you’re making, you may need to start your claim within six months of the grant of representation being issued. In all cases, it’s very important to seek legal advice as soon as possible, so you aren’t prevented from making a valid and potentially valuable claim. We’ll be able to advise you on your situation and how we can help.

    • Will I Have To Go To Court?
    • Most disputes can be resolved by negotiation and discussion, without having to go to court. However, sometimes this isn’t possible and court is the only way.

      We understand that most people would prefer to keep their dispute out of court, and we will always do everything we can to try and reach an agreement by mediation. However, if your dispute does have to go to court, we will support you at every stage. We have the experience to handle court disputes efficiently and effectively, to achieve the best outcome for you.

    • Meet The Team
    • Our Wills, Trusts and Estate Disputes team is the largest in the UK and we have offices across the country. We are experienced in managing high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth claims as well as less complex ones.

      We’ve resolved some of the country’s most high profile disputes and are particularly experienced with the unique challenges of multi-jurisdictional wealth management structures, rural property and inheritance tax.

      We are recommended by the leading legal guides and pride ourselves on the strong relationship we build with our clients in what is often a very trying time.

      Meet the team

My legal team has held my hand throughout, they have been incredibly patient and understanding"

Joy Williams, client

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Grounds For Making A Claim Against An Executor?

If you believe the executor is not performing the duties of their role, you can make a claim against them. Their duties include collecting the deceased’s assets and distributing them according to the will. You should consider making a claim against an executor if they’ve:

  • Sold the deceased’s property at a reduced value
  • Paid the beneficiaries before settling the deceased’s debts
  • Delayed administration and payment to the beneficiaries
  • Failed to give the beneficiaries an account of the deceased’s estate
  • Taken ownership of assets for themselves.

If the executor’s actions have caused the estate to lose value, a court may order the executor to account personally for any losses.

For more information, call us today on 0345 604 4895 or fill out our online contact form.

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Can You Remove An Executor?

You can apply for the court to remove an executor and appoint a new one. It is possible to remove an executor if:

  • They’ve failed to administer the estate correctly
  • They have a conflict of interest
  • They’re unfit or unable to act (e.g they’ve been convicted of a crime, or they’re mentally or physically incapable of managing their affairs).

If they want to, the executor can give up their position. This must be done before the grant of representation has been issued. They can’t give up the position after they’ve had dealings with the estate.

If you’d like more information, give us a call on 0345 604 4895 or fill out our online contact form.

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Who Can Challenge An Executor?

You can apply to remove the executor if you’re a beneficiary or a co-executor. A third party with an interest in the estate (such as a creditor) can also apply to have an executor removed.

In general, the court will remove an executor if one of the following can be proved:

  • They’ve been convicted of a crime since they were appointed
  • They have a physical or mental disability that prevents them from performing their duties
  • They have a conflict of interest
  • They’ve committed serious misconduct (e.g. stealing from the estate, failing to keep accounting records, mismanaging the estate).

If you’d like more information, give us a call on 0345 604 4895 or fill out our online contact form.

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