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How To Protect An Executor From Being Sued

Posted: Friday, 4 January 2019 @ 13:43

Being an executor can be a thankless task but it is important to minimise the opportunity for beneficiaries or would be beneficiaries to take legal action.

One practical step which the firm recommends is to place a deceased estate notice in the Gazette.

What does the Deceased Estates Notice involve? Executors have a duty to distribute correctly. Placing this notice notifies any possible creditors or potential beneficiaries of the deceased's passing away and invites them to begin claims within two months and one day of the date of publication.

What is the impact of the Notice? An executor cannot be held personally liable if a would be beneficiary/Claimant or creditor come out of the woodwork after the deceased's estate has been distributed.

How many legal professionals use the Notice? According to the Gazette's 2017 of probate professionals, 80% will place a notice when acting for executor irrespective of how much the estate is worth.

How many lay executors use the Notice? Much less in percentage terms. In 2016 35,668 deceased's notices were placed compared to 200,789 grants of probates.

Is the Notice a panacea to prevent an Executor from being sued? No, but is a good step, minimises one way of the executor facing legal action and shows good conduct from the executor.