Vexatious Residuary Beneficiaries and Legal Costs

Dear All

I am administering an estate with 4 residuary beneficiaries. 2 of them are running up many hours worth of time and cost in vexatious correspondence with both me and the executor. The executor has asked for me to deal with the lot, which I am pleased to do, nevertheless the costs involved will have a detrimental impact on the other beneficiaries, which feels unfair to me.

My question is are there any grounds, with appropriate forewarning to the vexatious beneficiaries, to deduct my legal fees for dealing with them directly from their slice of residue?

Alex Stanier
Allan Janes LLP

If their correspondence is leaning towards litigious, I would suggest that you (with permission of the Executor) write to them and explain that you are not able to assist them further with the contents of their letter, since it is not related to the administration of the estate and that, since you act on behalf of the estate your correspondence with them will be strictly limited to updating them on estate progress. If they wish to raise any other issues then they need to seek their own solicitor to correspond with you regarding any such matters.

I would also cost the time spent in dealing with their correspondence and have it to hand in case a solicitor does get in contact. It is likely they don’t see your costs as coming out of their pocket and they may think twice if they are having to pay a solicitor themselves to write pointless letters.

Gemma Van Duke
Bishopsgate Law