Executor Disputes & Executor Fraud
The Executor of a Will has a huge responsibility, both to the testator (the person who made the Will) and the beneficiaries of that Will. When the testator passes away, it is the Executor’s job to make sure the deceased’s wishes are carried out in accordance with their Will and with the law.
Where there are questions over whether an Executor is carrying out their role properly, it can be difficult to know what to do. Beneficiaries are often confused about their rights and may be keen to avoid conflict with the Executor, especially if they are a member of the family.
At IBB Law, we have exceptional specialist expertise in dealing with Executor disputes. We act both for beneficiaries who are concerned about the conduct of an Executor, and Executors who need to answer such concerns.
Our team can advise you on questions such as:
- Can an Executor withhold money from a beneficiary?
- What can you do if an Executor refuses to distribute the estate?
- What can you do if an Executor steals money from the estate?
- Can you have the Executor of a Will removed?
- Can you make an Executor repay monies to an estate?
We work with a wide range of clients from all backgrounds, with particular experience in disputes related to high value estates, including those involving complex issues, such as international considerations.
We will work with you to find an amicable outcome wherever possible. In many cases, Executor disputes can be resolved voluntarily through methods such as constructive negotiation and mediation, saving everyone involved time, money and stress.
Should court proceedings be required, our team can advise you on the likely outcomes and the costs involved. We can then provide expert representation, giving you the best chance of securing the outcome you seek.
Meet the team
Our expertise with Executor disputes & Executor fraud
IBB Law has supported a wide range of clients with Executor disputes and accusation of Executor fraud for many years. With our experience and sensible, sensitive but firm approach, we have earned a reputation for achieving favourable results under even the most challenging circumstances.
Our Wills and Probate team have achieved the Law Society’s Wills & Inheritance Quality accreditation, reflecting our strong expertise in this area of law.
Our contentious probate specialist, Amanda Melton, is a member of The Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS).
Amanda has been recognised by the Legal 500 for her expertise in handling contentious probate disputes, in particular the way she “combines exceptional professional knowledge with strong interpersonal skills” and for her “straight-talking approach and honesty”.
How our team can help with Executor disputes & Executor fraud claims
Should you believe an Executor is failing to carry out their duties properly, our contentious probate solicitors can assist with raising the issues in a constructive way, as well as taking action to have an Executor removed and replaced where appropriate.
We can advise on issues including where an Executor:
Does not apply for Grant of Probate promptly
Unreasonably delays the probate process
Claims unjustified expenses from the estate
Sells the deceased’s assets at a reduced value
Pays beneficiaries before settling the deceased’s debts
Fails to produce proper estate accounts
Where an Executor has caused a loss to the beneficiaries of an estate, they can be ordered by a court to repay the losses.
Most Executor disputes are caused by genuine mistakes on the part of the Executor, who may simply find the task is beyond them. However, in more serious cases, an Executor may be acting fraudulently to benefit themselves or others. In such cases, swift action is needed to protect the beneficiaries and ensure the deceased’s wishes are respected.
Our contentious probate team can help with instances of Executor fraud, including where an Executor has:
Used the estate funds for their own benefit
Intentionally sold assets from the estate at a reduced rate for their own benefit or the benefit of others
Deliberately distributed the assets from the estate in a way contrary to the wishes of the deceased
Intentionally used an out-of-date or fraudulent Will to circumvent the deceased’s wishes at the time of their death
We can advise you on whether issues with an Executor’s conduct are likely to be innocent mistakes or intentional fraud and assist with taking firm action where appropriate.
If you are the Executor of an estate and have been accused of a breach of trust or Executor fraud, it is essential to get specialist legal advice at the earliest opportunity. This can help you to avoid the risk of being removed as an Executor, having to repay monies to the estate and other potential consequences.
Our contentious probate team can advise you on your legal position and your options. Wherever possible, we will seek to resolve these matters swiftly and amicably, allowing you to avoid the stress and uncertainty of formal legal action.
How we help to remove conflict from Executor disputes
Most Executor disputes can be resolved quickly, without the need for court proceedings, if the right approach is taken. Our contentious probate team are experts in alternative dispute resolution, including the popular and effective method of mediation. As such, we can give you the best chance of securing an early resolution amicably.
Mediation involves the various parties and their legal representatives sitting down with a trained mediator who acts as a neutral third-party. The aim is for the parties to discuss the issues and agree a mutually acceptable outcome, with the mediator being there to guide the process and defuse any potential for conflict.
Any agreement made through mediation will be recorded in a Settlement Agreement. This provides written evidence of what the parties agreed if this should later be required during any subsequent proceedings.
Mediation is very popular for all types of inheritance disputes as it can allow you to achieve a positive outcome faster and at lower cost, while helping to preserve positive relationships between the parties involved.
Taking an Executor dispute to court
Should it be necessary to initiate or respond to court proceedings, our contentious probate team can provide expert advice and representation every step of the way.
With extensive experience of pursuing and defending Executor disputes and Executor fraud claims in court, we can ensure your case is prepared and presented effectively, giving you the best chance of securing the outcome you need.
We understand that many people find this process stressful and intimidating, but by clearly explaining what to expect and providing close personal support at every stage, we can keep the stress to a minimum.
Time limits for Executor disputes & Executor fraud
The Executor of a Will is placed in a position of trust and failing to meet the requirements of their role may be considered a ‘breach of trust’. There is a 6-year time limit for taking action over a breach of trust, counted from the time the breach occurred.
If an Executor is believed to have acted fraudulently, however, then there is no time limit for taking action against them.
To find out more about time limits for Executor disputes, please get in touch.
Our Executor disputes resolution pricing
The costs involved in dealing with an Executor dispute will depend entirely on the circumstances. This includes how complex the issues are and how willing the parties involved are to come to an agreement on a solution.
We always aim to be transparent with our pricing, so will be happy to discuss the likely costs involved at the outset. This will include a clear breakdown of our rates and any expenses that may be incurred as part of the process of resolving a probate claim.
For more information on the costs associated with contesting a Will and other contentious probate matters, please get in touch.
Get tailored advice for dealing with an Executor dispute or Executor fraud claim
The information given here is intended for general information purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice.