A recent High Court report shows a marked increase in claims against Executors for failing to act properly.
Claims for ‘breach of fiduciary duty’ leapt from 107 in 2012 to 368 in the following year, with allegations including theft from the estate and the distribution of assets to the wrong beneficiaries.
The figures suggest that those making Wills are increasingly appointing family and friends with little or no legal knowledge as their Executors in a bid to save money.
Are they equipped for the challenges?
While some untrained Executors perform their legal duties well, testators often underestimate the technical challenges of administering an estate and completing probate.
For close families and friends these challenges come when they are dealing with the loss of a loved one and least equipped to handle the paperwork and procedures involved.
By appointing a professional Executor (alongside family members or friends if you wish), you have an experienced, impartial specialist on board who is one step removed from the stress of the situation.
Here are a few ways a specialist Executor can help the people you leave behind:-
- Ensure the administration of your estate is dealt with in accordance with the law;
- Deal with more complex matters such as multiple shareholdings or assets held in Trust;
- Advise on any disputes between beneficiaries, where the Will is ambiguous or especially complicated;
- Highlight ways in which beneficiaries may be able to mitigate the inheritance tax payable on the estate;
- Deal with financial institutions, some of which insist on quite arduous paperwork, including certified copies of documents.
You can avoid unnecessary complications by getting a Wills & Probate Solicitor to draft your will in the first place (read why this is a good idea). You could also appoint them as an Executor.
If you would like to draft a Will or review your current arrangements please get in touch.
- Will drafting
- Review of existing Wills
- Advice re provision for children, second families, spouses and civil partners, unmarried partners and other family members
- Advice re charitable gifts
- Advice re foreign and business assets
- Advice re Will trusts
- Inheritance Tax advice
- Advice re Trust creation and ongoing management
- Preparation of trust deeds and other trust documentation
- Declarations of Trust
- Termination of trusts
Probate and Administration of Estates
- Advice re the terms of the Will or intestacy rules where there is no Will
- Obtaining values for the various assets and liabilities in the estate, notifying the various institutions and obtaining all necessary estate information
- Obtaining a grant of probate or letters of administration as appropriate
- Dealing with and advice re Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Income Tax, liaising with HMRC
- Notifying and liaising with the beneficiaries of the estate
- Preparing a deed of variation or a deed of disclaimer in relation to the estate
- Selling or transferring the various assets due to the beneficiaries
- Dealing with foreign assets and Wills
- Advice re estate disputes and claims against an estate