Choosing the Right Executors
Figures released by the High Court this week show that claims against executors for mishandling deceased's estates have tripled over the last year.
These court claims are made by beneficiaries of a deceased's estate. For example, executors fraudulently distribute assets (contrary to the provision to the Will) or even steal from the estate themselves.
This highlights the need to carefully consider who you appoint as an executor of your estate under your Will.
It has been suggested in the legal press that this rise is due to the increase in the use of acquaintances or family members as "DIY" executors and trustees, rather than instructing solicitors to act in this role. However, it is not always necessary to appoint a professional executor or trustee.
Katherine Wainman, a wills and tax specialist at Wrigleys comments "If you have any concerns regarding a particular friend or family member's ability to handle money and/or paperwork, or where you envisage arguments may arise, either from the terms of the Will or from difficult family relationships, it will usually be advisable to appoint a professional to act either alone or alongside other "lay" executors as an independent check on the administration of the estate or trust."
Many professional trustees, such as Wrigleys, would only charge for this role on a time spent basis, rather than as a percentage of the value of the estate. Therefore, for a simple estate, the fees may be relatively small.
However, should failure to appoint a professional lead to an estate being administered badly (either through ignorance or fraud) seeking redress via the Court could be very costly.
The information in this article is necessarily of a general nature. Specific advice should be sought for specific situations. If you have any queries or need any legal advice please feel free to contact Wrigleys Solicitors