Disputes between Executors

From time to time, there is friction between Executors of Estates. On occasion, that can develop into a significant dispute, preventing progress with the Estate and bringing the potential for considerable bitterness and recrimination.  

Frequently, a Will appoints more than one Executor. Very often, these people are also major beneficiaries.  

Problems can arise where, for example, one Executor occupies a property owned by the deceased and wishes to stay, whereas another Executor wishes to sell the property and realise the sale proceeds. Similarly, there can be difficulties where a beneficiary wishes to receive a particular asset.  

Disputes are also common where the deceased owned a business, especially where one or more Executor had an interest in the business. There may be very different views about the value of the business and business assets and about how to deal with the business. This can include a dispute as to whether to continue the business or sell it. Knowledge of company and partnerships disputes is necessary, as well as knowledge of Executor disputes.  

It is usually very important to obtain expert advice from a specialist solicitor who is not involved in the immediate situation. All too commonly, unrepresented parties struggle to separate their emotions from their legal rights and duties.  

Sometimes parties need to fully understand their responsibilities, and that is enough to ensure that the situation in dealt with appropriately.

It may be necessary to pursue a claim through the courts to remove an Executor and appoint a new Executor. Such proceedings can be expensive, and the unsuccessful party may have to bear substantial costs. Assessment of the merits of such proceedings and potential alternatives is very important, and that should happen at as early a stage as possible.      


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