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Executor & Trustee Misconduct Disputes

Our talented solicitors help beneficiaries to remove executors who delay, fail to progress or act negligently or dishonestly when administering an estate.

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Executors, trustees and personal representatives all have duties when dealing with the administration of an estate. 

These include collecting in the estate assets, paying out any debts and ensuring that the net estate is distributed correctly to those entitled to it.

While this can be a long and complex process, executors and personal representatives are required to keep beneficiaries informed and ensure that the administration is progressed in a timely manner.

Executors and trustees can be chosen and named in a Will. If there is no Will, the person(s) entitled to apply for a Grant will be named as personal representative(s).

We regularly act for beneficiaries who have concerns or haven’t been provided with information about an estate. We can assist you in ensuring that an estate is handled properly and you receive what was intended for you.

Our solicitors also advise executors who are unsure about what is required of them and are facing criticism or a claim that they’ve failed in their duties.

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What can be done if an executor isn’t fulfilling their duties?

The executor of a Will must never put their own needs or wants above their legal obligations.

Beneficiaries have many options available if an executor is not carrying out their responsibilities. The appropriate route to take can depend on what the executor has (or hasn’t) done. 

We deal with a wide variety of complaints. Examples of executor misconduct might include instances where they're:

  • failing to communicate
  • taking no action to administer the estate
  • failing to progress the administration in a prompt manner
  • keeping estate assets 
  • occupying or allowing others to occupy a property owned by the estate
  • acting against the interests of beneficiaries.

An executor can be compelled to provide information to the beneficiaries of the estate. This often has the effect of encouraging them to finalise and distribute an estate. In other cases, disputes can be resolved by removing the executor from their role and replacing them with a more suitable person.

We specialise in ensuring that the right action is taken to address any potential executor misconduct. Our contentious probate team can advise on exactly what’s needed and help you to gather and present the required evidence.

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Working with us

We act for a wide range of individuals, including high-net worth and ultra-high-net-worth families in relation to estates across the North West and wider England and Wales.

We understand that our clients need both legal and practical advice, as well as close support they can rely on — especially in emotional disputes that involve other family members. 

We’ll support you at every step of the process during your misconduct dispute, fighting your corner and aiming to achieve the best possible outcome.

Experienced executor misconduct specialists

Our team is led by “talented litigatorNicola Turner — a full member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Solicitors held in high regard by fellow professionals and The Legal 500. She’s described by a fellow legal professional as someone “whose judgement sets her apart” and has been instructed to represent barristers and partners in other law firms in their personal capacities.

Our team also includes Associate Beth Middleton and Solicitor Georgina Vokes and is supported by paralegal Victoria Bennett.

A “highly promising” Associate, Beth is recognised as a ‘key lawyer’ in The Legal 500. She's also a member of ConTra (the Contentious Trusts Association) and the Northern Contentious Probate Group. Beth is due to become an accredited Associate Member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Solicitors this year and is widely recognised across the Northern circuit for her expertise.

FAQs

From the first time I spoke to Nicola Turner — and in all my interactions after — she has been professional and knowledgeable. She fully understood the issue and what I wanted to achieve. She was clear and personable in how she explained the next steps and options and was always conscious of the budget I had set. I was always kept up to date and knew what was happening — communications were timely and regular. I'm very grateful for all of her help and can't recommend her highly enough.

Executor dispute

From our first meeting with Nicola Turner she listened, advised on the law, explained outcomes and costs and then quickly formed an action plan in response. She continues to act in our best interests and responds swiftly, efficiently and clearly in her no-nonsense manner. We can't thank her (and her team) enough for taking the worry and stress out of our lives at this time.

Executor (estate administration) dispute

Nicola Turner was extremely knowledgeable, efficient and compassionate during what has been a very difficult time. She was always nothing but professional and provided honest feedback and updates throughout the process. I would like to extend my gratitude to Nicola for all her help and support — this is greatly appreciated.

Executor dispute

Nicola Turner stands out… in the accuracy of her judgement of cases and their likely outcome… Nicola is not afraid to give direct advice and she never sits on the fence.

The Legal 500

Thank you so much for all of your help with this matter. I can finally move forward knowing that this matter has been resolved in the best way and by a fantastic law firm. Once again thank you so much for all your help.

Client feedback

Beth Middleton is a very capable junior solicitor with a growing profile in the contentious trusts and probate market in the North West.

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Case Highlights

Executor dispute

Acting for an executor who was one of two residuary beneficiaries of his late father’s estate with a value of half a million pounds. The administration was complicated as the main property asset had been occupied by the opponent claimant (beneficiary) with various allegations of wrongdoing and a dispute regarding whether monies given by the deceased to the client were gifts or loans that were still repayable. At the first hearing, the court agreed that an independent administrator should be appointed — and due to our strategic advice and position adopted on behalf of our client, an order for costs was obtained such over 83% of the costs he had incurred were recovered.

Executor dispute

Representing the widow of a retired solicitor who died in 2016, leaving an estate worth almost £8m. The assets include various investments based internationally. We pursued an application for an account and inquiry and in the alternative to remove the professional executor.

Executor misconduct

Representing the son of the deceased in a claim intimated by a beneficiary of the deceased’s estate for breach of duty as personal representative in relation to property being sold at an undervalue.

Executor conduct & removal

Representing the daughter beneficiary of the estate of her late father. The deceased held a property as tenants in common with his wife, with provision for a right of occupation following his death. The wife is in full-time residential care and the right of occupancy has therefore come to an end. The beneficiary intends for the property to be sold in order to realise her interest. The executor has permitted a third party to rent the property (despite having no legal standing to do so) at a significant undervalue and taken no steps to market the property or administer the estate.

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