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Pre-Grant - How To Pressure An Executor

Posted: Friday, 4 January 2019 @ 13:43

While I am a fan of the Request for Inventory & Account method in dealing with troublesome executors, this can only be used in the post grant of representation.(probate)

Given this, what legal weapons can be used by beneficiaries if they are seeking to apply pressure to an executor prior to a grant of representation being obtained.

Beyond the initial letter/emails/texts(?) (s) of complaint, solicitors letter etc, here is a succinct analysis of some of the ways that you can counter-attack against the executor who is behaving badly.

Caveats. They are a system of preventing common form grants. They are important where there are genuine concerns about the validity of a Will or the suitability of a particular person acting as executor or administrator. Be warned they block, frustrate, but if you do not have a valid reason to issue a caveat and a warning is issued there can be costs implications later.   

Renunciation This is a great potential option but is only an option where the executor is cooperative, since he/she  cannot be forced to renounce. It is also only possible where an executor has not already intermeddled with the estate.

Citations Where renunciation is not possible, citations are a useful method of attempting to force a delaying executor into action, or to entitle another to administer the estate. There are two main types - Citation to accept or refuse a grant, and a citation to take a grant. Both methods are fairly limited in legal documents required(so not too expensive) and can put pressure on the executor.

Passing over Under s.116 of the Supreme Court Act 1981 -  The High Court may appoint someone other than a chosen executor (or any other entitled person) to administer the estate if it considers that by reason of any ‘special circumstance’ it would be ‘necessary or expedient’ to do so. You will need some pretty good evidence to succeed on this basis.

Grant ad colligenda bona - This gives a limited grant of administration enabling the estate to be administered in the meantime for the purpose of preserving its assets.(e.g property) This can be an expensive and time-consuming process so is a last resort.. Moreover, it should only be used where there is a genuine risk to the estate, and not merely to ensure a tactical advantage.

These are some of the tools the disgruntled beneficiary can apply to ensure that justice is obtained on the estate of the deceased.