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Three Standard Fixed Price Packages
Three Standard Fixed Price Packages

Increase in Executors’ Disputes

Claims against executors, or Personal Representatives, are on the rise, according to the latest statistics. These cases have included serious allegations of fraudulent distribution of assets, theft of estate assets and wrongly favouring certain beneficiaries over others.

This increase in executors’ disputes coincides with a rise in the number of personal representatives handling the administration of estates themselves rather than instructing Solicitors to deal with it for them.  Many DIY executors or administrators opt not to instruct Solicitors to save the estate money.  However, while they may think that administering an estate is a simple task, it can be a false economy. If a dispute occurs legal costs can quickly mount up. Claims can arise even when the executor hasn’t knowingly done anything wrong. Disputes can break out when an executor has quite innocently misinterpreted the provisions of a Will or misunderstood the application of the Rules of Intestacy.

Some lay executors are tempted to take matters into their own hands and ‘do the right thing’ as they see it, to ensure that the deceased’s assets are retained within their own family. Others might be more cynical and may be motivated by pure greed and want to benefit themselves by stealing from the estate.  Either way, the conduct isn’t acceptable and the executor is likely to  soon find themselves being brought before a judge to explain their conduct and facing the prospect of personal liability.

Such problems would be avoided if the estate administration was conducted by a professional Solicitor.

Whether the reason for the involvement of the Court is a need to recover assets following a deliberate fraud or to rectify an innocent mistake, the legal costs will be high; much higher than the cost of employing a solicitor to administer the estate.

Even if the DIY executor’s conduct is found by the court not to have amounted to a breach of trust, the stress and worry of litigation can take its toll emotionally as well as financially. 

Many people therefore take the view that dealing with probate themselves is far more trouble than it’s worth and the costs of employing a Solicitor are far outweighed by the peace of mind it brings. 

And with our unique FIXED PRICE PROBATE SERVICE the cost of having an estate professionally administered is probably lower than you think.

For further details of our Fixed Price Probate service you can email Toni at toni.sinclair@sleeblackwell.co.uk

And if you find yourself involved in an executors’ dispute then our contentious probate team can help. Email solicitor Lee Dawkins at lee.dawkins@sleeblackwell.co.uk or check out our specialist sister site at www.inheritancedisputes.co.uk

*Prices exclusive of VAT and Disbursements

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