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Solicitor Contact: Executors Who Are Also Beneficiaries?

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 12 Mar 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Executors Will Solicitors Family

Q.

In a will....3 named executors, one a solicitor the other two the daughters of the deceased, these two are also the beneficiaries.

To what extent must the solicitor inform and involve the other two executors?

(Mrs Frances Pearce, 14 September 2008)

A.

Duties of an Executor

It is commonplace practice for the executors of a will to also be beneficiaries and for a solicitor to also act as an executor of a will. An executor is appointed to carry out basic administration tasks and to make sure that the conditions of the will are carried out. There will usually be delegation of duties when there are two or more executors and a solicitor involved, or all of the arrangements can be carried out by one appointed person. Solicitors will usually welcome input from family appointed executors especially when it comes to sourcing objects and goods that are to be distributed. An executor’s duties will be defined in what is known as the executor’s oath. Duties can be varied but may include making all funeral arrangements and making themselves liable for the funeral payment.

If this is the case then the executor should be repaid from the deceased’s estate. Many people nominate more than one executor in case any of the nominated executors decline the position. There is no legal requirement for a nominated executor to accept this position. If the nominated executors decide to accept this position then they may leave themselves open to personal financial liability.

Access to the Will

It is entirely up to the two family executors how much involvement they wish to have in executing the conditions of the will. However, once the position of executor is accepted the executor cannot retire from their duties, although an executor can be replaced by a court order. The minimum that should be expected is the signing of any necessary documents by the two family executors. A solicitor will usually be needed to carry out such duties as applying for a grant of probate and investigating all of the deceased’s assets, which may also involve other professionals such as accountants. Information should not be withheld between family executors and solicitors who are acting as executors.

In most cases all executors will be issued with a copy of the will, and they can request a copy if needed. All information regarding the will and the carrying out of the conditions of the will should be freely available between executors. Solicitors that act as executors will charge payment for this service.

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wonderwoman - Your Question:
Hi,My mother in law died about 18 months ago,my husband wasn't informed.We tracked down the solicitor who had her will.The executors collected the will just after death but no probate has gone through.We suspect fraud but without sight of the will we have no real evidence.Please advise.

Our Response:
What does the Will say? What does the solicitor say? Have you spoken to the executors? Is your husband a beneficiary?
TheWillExpert - 14-Mar-18 @ 2:03 PM
Hi,My mother in law died about 18 months ago,my husband wasn't informed.We tracked down the solicitor who had her will.The executors collected the will just after death but no probate has gone through.We suspect fraud but without sight of the will we have no real evidence.Please advise.
wonderwoman - 12-Mar-18 @ 2:20 PM
marie - Your Question:
Have been elderly cousins executor as was my mother before me. She was taken over by a known conman who became her gardener originally. He took me off as next of kin at the hospital and put himself down as her son. She has since died. I was not told by solicitor that I had been removed as executor. Nor was I told she had died. Her solicitors will not speak to me. All her 300k estate was always going to charity. I do not know what is happening to it now but I don't want a con man to be the charity. Cannot seem to find any help anywhere. Anybody know where I can turn next.Thanks

Our Response:
You could try another solicitor to see whether he/she can open the channels of communication. You will in time be able to see the Will in the register of Wills and could report any fraudulent activity to the police.
TheWillExpert - 4-Apr-16 @ 2:38 PM
Have been elderly cousins executor as was my mother before me.She was taken over by a known conman who became her gardener originally.He took me off as next of kin at the hospital and put himself down as her son. She has since died.I was not told by solicitor that I had been removed as executor.Nor was I told she had died.Her solicitors will not speak to me. All her 300k estate was always going to charity.I do not know what is happening to it now but I don't want a con man to be the charity.Cannot seem to find any help anywhere.Anybody know where I can turn next. Thanks
marie - 1-Apr-16 @ 7:32 PM
hi, me and 2 other family members are executors to my granddads estate I was promised equal belongings to his estate as we were very close. but for some reason he left my name out of his will and only mentioned the other 2 executors?? I do not get on with 1 of them but am very close to the other and they agree that this was wrong and is willing to share their bit with me. please can you let me know if there is anything I can do or what rights I have as an executor to having my fair share same as the other two.. very confused about this and hurt and one of the other executors are also hurt about this as I was closer to my granddad than them.?? where do I stand as to make this right as promised. please help thank you.
jaxx - 10-Jan-16 @ 12:12 AM
Two brothers are executors to their fathers estate, one brother running their fathers business. For approx 33 years father's life assurance premiums are paid by the fathers business, the two brothers being named as beneficiaries. When the father retires he gives 50% of the business to the son who is running the business, and the son agrees that the business pay his father a monthly retirement/retainer of £400, as well as paying the life assurance premiums and paying the father's day to day expenses, including the supply and maintenance of a Mercedes car. After a few years the son running the business objects paying the £400 per month to his father, and ceases to do so stating that the father 'wasn't spending it and indeed, didn't need it'. After another period of time the son then starts objecting to the business paying the life insurance premiums, stating that as his father has money, he should pay them, and after a while stops paying them too, which forces the father to pay them himself for the last two or three years of his life. When the father dies, in December 2005, the son running the business claims from the estate the value of the premiums paid, some £37k The second son objects, stating that it was his father's obvious intention, as chairman of the company, and as the policy was a legitimate business expense, that the premiums would continue to be paid by the business, and gave the business to his son on that understanding. Probate has been granted but assets to the beneficiaries not distributed because of the above dispute. Stalemate?
PB - 9-Oct-15 @ 12:12 PM
Can an English beneficiary ask to see a Scottish Executor Solicitors list of beneficiaries and/or information on how an intestacy estate was distributed. Thanks.
elgordo - 11-Oct-14 @ 2:16 PM
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NA - 27-Feb-14 @ 3:59 AM
in Scottish law in a straight forward will. Can an executor after being paid expenses, and employing a lawyer also pay themselves a lump sum, when the will clearly states equal division between four siblings, (executor being one of the four)
mags - 6-Sep-13 @ 11:28 AM
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