Executor and beneficiary disputes
As an executor, you may find that one or more of the beneficiaries are not cooperating in providing information about assets in the deceased’s estate, which can put you in a very difficult position. If necessary, it may be possible for you to force a beneficiary to provide information through the courts.
As a beneficiary, you may consider that an executor is taking too long to deal with an estate, or is being deliberately obstructive and delaying the administration, meaning that you have not yet received your inheritance. An executor usually has a period of 12 months to administer an estate, but this can depend on the complexity of the estate.
It is possible to issue Court proceedings to remove an executor, and substitute yourself as an executor in their place. This is a very complicated procedure, and legal advice should be sought before you make any application to the Court, as there is a risk of you being liable for the other party’s legal costs if you are unsuccessful.
In many cases, it may be beneficial for those involved in an estate administration dispute to use a mediator to help resolve any issues. There are numerous advantages of using a mediator; for example, mediation can help to avoid family conflicts and protect the relationships between trustees and beneficiaries. Furthermore, mediation can help to protect the assets held in the estate (or a trust) as opposed to them being lost in legal fees.
Many prefer to involve a mediator as opposed to estate disputes going to Court, as it protects the privacy of all those involved. It is vital to remember that if one person refuses to attend mediation, this could lead to serious financial consequences for that person if the matter ever results in going to Court.
It is advisable that mediation should take place long before legal fees become disproportionate to the value of the assets held in the estate. The executors or beneficiaries may decide on mediation in the midst of long and expensive legal proceedings, as it can be a faster and cheaper way to settle any differences. In regards to the majority of estate administration disputes, it is advisable to speak to a legal expert about mediation sooner rather than later.
Get in touch
Here at Stephensons, our probate and estate administration specialists have vast amounts of experience in dealing with estate disputes and mediation. If you are experiencing problems in regards to an estate, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to discuss your situation with one of our legal experts. Call Stephensons today on 0203 816 9314 or fill out our online enquiry form.