Beneficiaries refusing to sign AS1

We are administering an estate on behalf of two lay executors. The estate admin has been protracted due to various family disputes, but we are now finally in a position to finalise. Four residuary beneficiaries have been left a parcel of land that now needs to be assented to them, but two of the residuary beneficiaries are refusing to sign the AS1. They cite no legitimate reason and have not indicated that they wish to disclaim their interest to this land.

Would it be possibly to assent the land to the beneficiaries without their consent? Failing that, is there a way that their share of the land could be dealt with so that the trustees are not left holding the land?

Katie Kenealy

Would the two consenting beneficiaries agree to have the land transferred to them to hold on trust for all four? If they would, then you could warn the dissenting beneficiaries that that is what you will do if they don’t sign the AS1 within a specified period.

Diana Smart

Gordons LLP

Diana Smart’s suggestion is the most straightforward way forward, with the 2 consenting trustees being the trustees of land for all 4.

If the 2 consenting beneficiaries are reluctant to act in that role, perhaps due to inter beneficiary acrimony, the only route open to the executors might be an application to court for an order vesting the land in the beneficiaries. In which case, the executors should apprise all of the beneficiaries of such potential, and that the court may award the costs of such an application against the beneficiaries. A draconian step, but once the beneficiaries understand the implications for them of a refusal to accept a transfer of the legal title, one which could be avoided.

Paul Saunders