News & Insights

Guide to executor and trustee disputes – part 1

Dealing with a difficult Executor

I am not happy with what an executor is doing – can I do anything?

You may be a beneficiary of an estate who is unhappy about how a personal representative is dealing with probate. You may be an executor and experiencing difficulty with a co-executor of a will.

An executor is appointed by a will to “stand in the shoes” of the testator. An executor owes legal duties to act in the administration of the estate, to gather in the assets and to distribute the estate according to the Will. Where an executor is in breach of their duty they may be removed by the court. This is usually done by an application under s50 of the Administration of Justice Act 1985 but it is rare to need to proceed that far.

We can advise you as to whether an executor’s conduct is in breach of their duties, and seek to resolve the situation without proceedings. If that does not prove possible we can make the appropriate application on your behalf to Court. If successful the majority of your costs should be paid by the executor who has been removed.

The relevant issues include whether the executor has been:

  • unnecessarily delaying in the administration of the estate;
  • is refusing to act;
  • is unfit to act, for example, due to dishonesty; or
  • is incapable of acting through illness of mental incapacity.

An executor might also stand to be removed if they remain out of the UK for a long time or are bankrupt. We can advise you upon the removal of executors, or moving matters forward on an estate. We also advise and act for executors who are facing hostile threats to remove them and upon issues arising from maladministration of estates and Will trusts.

If you require advice in connection with issues with trustees, or the administration of a trust contact us here: [email protected] or 0118 951 6245.