Beneficiary & executor disputes solicitors

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Our experienced wills and probate solicitors specialise in helping individuals navigate the often complex and emotionally charged terrain of contentious probate matters.

When it comes to disputes between executors and beneficiaries, we understand the importance of providing tailored advice to address your unique situation.

In the delicate realm of probate, conflicts can arise for a variety of reasons, such as disagreements over the distribution of assets, suspicions of mismanagement or misconduct by executors, or disputes regarding the validity of a will. Our dedicated team is well-versed in the intricacies of UK probate law and can offer you expert guidance on the options available to you. We are committed to finding practical and cost-effective solutions to resolve these disputes, whether through negotiation, mediation, or, if necessary, through litigation. With our support, you can make informed decisions and ensure your rights and interests are protected during this challenging time.

Scott Taylor

Scott Taylor

Partner | Private wealth disputes

01483 464274

What is the conflict of interest between beneficiary and executor?

A frequent situation that might give rise to disputes with beneficiaries occurs when an executor’s personal interests misalign with those of the beneficiaries, thereby creating a conflict of interest. An instance of such a conflict might be where an Executor desires to acquire a property from the deceased’s estate.

Disputes between executors and beneficiaries

The journey of distributing a deceased individual’s estate and assets to designated beneficiaries isn’t always straightforward, despite common perceptions. The allocation of estates can present a multifaceted challenge, as they may encompass various individuals, families, businesses, and charities, as outlined in the will.

It’s not uncommon for executors and beneficiaries to encounter difficulties and disputes, often stemming from varied interpretations of the last will, particularly during the emotionally charged period following a bereavement. Additionally, it’s not unusual for beneficiaries to feel they have not received adequate provision from the estate in line with their expectations.

At Moore Barlow LLP, we offer a comprehensive array of legal services tailored for both executors and beneficiaries in these sensitive matters. From navigating through the nuances of legal text interpretation to resolving intricate compensation disputes between executors and beneficiaries, our expert team is adept at steering complex and delicate cases towards a timely and harmonious resolution. Our priority is to guide you through these challenging moments with utmost professionalism and expertise, ensuring the preservation of relationships and respect for the wishes of the deceased.

In situations that demand intricate understanding and empathetic handling, trust in the expertise and considerate approach of Moore Barlow LLP. Contact us today to see how we can help you.

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Beneficiary harassing an executor – what to do?

There are occasions when a beneficiary, perhaps, might overstep boundaries, such as issuing threats of physical violence or engaging in behaviour that may be considered as harassment.

Executors of wills often find themselves navigating the intricate challenge of trying to organise a swift distribution of the estate – for instance, providing beneficiaries with their cash inheritance – whilst also meticulously administering the estate to prevent any future setbacks or mistakes from being made.

The law is clear in stating that should an executor mismanage an estate, they can be held personally accountable. Nonetheless, beneficiaries can sometimes feel that the process is moving too slowly and accuse an executor of mismanagement or contact them repeatedly in a way that has a negative impact on the executor and their ability to carry out this role.

So, how does one navigate this complex situation? Are there principles that might assist the executor in avoiding complications related to estate management?

Consider the following guidance:

  • Regardless of any potential familial disagreements or challenges presented by those involved, maintaining transparent communication with the parties is crucial for the executor. Avoiding disclosure or withholding information, even when not legally mandated to reveal specifics such as will or financial details, typically leads to future complications. Broadly, sharing more information is usually strategically preferable, aiding in showcasing transparency.
  • Maintain your objective in view: to administer the estate as legally sound and expediently as possible. This focus can become blurred if faced with potential harassment from beneficiaries along with the strain of managing an estate during a bereavement period.
  • Bear in mind that you are allotted time to administer an estate. Typically, the executors should try to complete the estate administration within a year from the date of death (known as “the executor’s year”), However, this period of time can often feel to go very quickly to executors. It’s recommended that executors proceed proactively and visibly whenever possible.
  • When navigating conflict scenarios, retaining your integrity and poise amidst potentially unsavoury conduct from others is pivotal. Should your actions ever come under judicial review, your capability to remain composed under undue stress will serve you well.
  • Propose mediation, before proceeding with any Court applications, when appropriate, as this approach is favoured by the courts.

Navigating through estate administration, especially amidst potential grief, conflicts and pressures, demands a blend of transparency, strategic calm, and legal navigation. Ensuring that you adhere to the law while managing the assorted challenges involved can protect both the estate and your role within its distribution. Getting specialist legal advice can be a huge help.

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Can a beneficiary disagree with executor?

A beneficiary may have reservations about the administrative procedures or suspect the executor of mismanaging the estate. Should a beneficiary find their portion of the estate unsatisfactory, they may explore their options to contest the will and question its legitimacy.

Can a beneficiary complain about an executor?

Should the beneficiaries of an estate (or a single beneficiary) believe that an executor is neglecting their duties, legal proceedings can be initiated to either enforce the executor to comply or to have them removed from their position.

Can a beneficiary challenge executors’ costs?

A beneficiary opposing such accounts will need to demonstrate that the claimed costs were not reasonably incurred. However, it is vital to distinguish between the costs of administering the estate and any additional legal costs that executors may incur when undertaking court actions on behalf of the estate.

What information does an executor have to give to a beneficiary?

An executor is generally required to provide beneficiaries with information regarding their share of inheritance and the overall process of estate administration, including the distribution of assets and settling of liabilities. Transparency and timely communication are crucial to avoid potential disputes and legal challenges.

Can an executor withhold information from a beneficiary?

Generally, an executor should not withhold information from a beneficiary and is typically required to keep them informed about the estate administration process. However, specific circumstances or legal considerations may sometimes necessitate limited information disclosure.

How long can an executor withhold money from a beneficiary?

Executors typically have one year, known as the “executor’s year,” to gather assets and distribute them to beneficiaries. Delays beyond this may occur for various reasons, but beneficiaries can take legal action if they believe the executor is unjustifiably withholding funds.

What happens if an executor does not pay a beneficiary?

If an executor does not pay a beneficiary, the beneficiary can legally challenge the executor and potentially bring a claim against them. Courts may enforce payment, impose penalties on the executor, or replace them to ensure the beneficiary receives their due inheritance.

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