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What does intermeddling mean as an executor?

View profile for Jordan Davies
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When dealing with the administration of an estate, there can be a variety of words, phrases and terminologies that you likely won’t have come across before. One of these is the term “intermeddling”.

Intermeddling is something carried out by an executor or personal representative of an estate. Intermeddling describes tasks that such a person would undertake in relation to the estate, such as collecting in and selling the deceased’s assets, repaying any outstanding debts or even collecting in any debts owed to the estate. These are things that a person of this appointment would be expected to do.

The majority of actions taken in the course of administering an estate would be considered as intermeddling, with a few exceptions such as funeral arrangements, gathering paperwork, arranging basic care for the deceased’s children and pets etc.

When an executor or personal representative of an estate undertakes these tasks as part of their role, the process of intermeddling generally does not cause issue. However, if an executor or personal representative has been intermeddling, and then decides that they would no longer like to proceed in their appointed role, then this is where we can experience problems.

The reason that this can be problematic is due to the fact that their actions in taking administrative steps have somewhat bound them to the estate and their role. As such, suddenly stepping away becomes difficult. Undertaking such tasks results in them being privy to a lot of information relating to the estate. Furthermore, if they were to step down, then it would be difficult to hold them accountable for anything they may have done wrong. This difficulty in holding someone accountable for things that may have been done incorrectly is difficult for an estate and is often not in the best interests of the estate or it’s beneficiaries.

As such, if there has been intermeddling, and an executor or personal representative later looks to step back from their role, a court is likely to refuse the request for the above reasons. This also applies when someone is looking to remove an executor or personal representative against their will. These disputes can prove particularly difficult as a party may be looking to remove an executor as they are breaching their duties, but if they have intermeddled, this may well impact the prospects of successfully having them removed.

Intermeddling can be a complex consideration. It is therefore important to obtain legal advice at the earliest opportunity. Please get in touch with our specialist inheritance dispute solicitors on 0161 696 6178.