I would welcome the views of the members as to how I should advise the Executors to proceed in the following circumstances.
The deceased died in July 2016 and owned a large collection of academic books.
By his Will he leaves certain of these books to four Indian universities and the Will contains the usual provision enabling the costs of transportation of the books to India to be met from his residuary estate.
The Executors are themselves retired academics and, having identified the relevant books, have had these placed in storage. Storage charges are obviously accruing.
The shippers have estimated that the delivery of the books to Delhi will cost approximately £4,000. Unfortunately, they cannot make the delivery to Delhi until such time as someone has been appointed in Delhi to receive the books and who can then make arrangements for the distribution of the books to the four universities concerned.
The value of the books is approximately £500. Two of the universities concerned have failed to reply to the Executors and the response of the other two is described as being “lukewarm”.
Appointing an agent in India to receive and then distribute books is, I assume, likely to cost a few thousand pounds. There is no guarantee that the nominated universities will actually accept the books.
The residuary beneficiaries, both relatives of the deceased, will naturally be concerned about the costs which will be incurred in trying to give effect to the deceased’s wishes.
I am tending to the view that the Executors should dispose of the books within the UK, against an indemnity from the residuary beneficiaries to deal with any potential claims from the Indian universities as a result of the non-delivery of the books.
Before I recommend this course of action, do members have any suggestions on what ought to be done in the circumstances?
Mowll & Mowll