Chain of Representation guidance

Hi all

I am hoping that someone might have experience of dealing with a similar situation and be able to offer some guidance on this.

I have an estate where unfortunately the sole executor died before the estate administration was completed. All that remains is to make a balancing payment to HMRC (due as a result of negotiations with the DV on a property value), obtain IHT clearance, chase HMRC on a refund of Income Tax that is due, finalise the estate accounts and make payments to the numerous residuary beneficiaries.

The executors of the deceased executor’s Will are taking probate but one of them does not want to also take over as executor of this estate as they didn’t know the deceased. Whilst the second executor has said she would be happy to act (she is a private client lawyer helpfully), both executors keep referring to the fact that they would prefer for a residuary beneficiary to finalise the estate administration.

My understanding is that the only way that the executors can avoid being executors of this estate via the Chain of Representation is to renounce as executors of the deceased executor’s estate. My research into the point hasn’t come up with any alternative.

Until I know who the new executors are, I haven’t got a client or retainer in place and cannot take any action in the estate.

I am obviously concerned about the additional time and costs that will potentially be incurred in the estate and the delay being caused by me not having any authority to act at present. In particular, HMRC are treated the outstanding sum to them as an urgent debt! Which seems a bit odd to me, but I don’t have a client to authorise me to settle the sum.

Does any one have any experience of dealing with the Chain of Representation when one or more of the executors don’t want to act in the inherited estate administration, and any pointers?

Many thanks in advance.

Natasha Southam

I’m going by recollection – no copy of Tristram and Coote is to hand – but it seems to me you need a grant of letters of administration de bonis non administratis for the new executors – presumably the only one prepared to act would be the one to apply and the other can have power reserved in his favour. HMRC can just take a running jump – if they would like to raise the dead then they’ll have someone they can sue. As for the extra time and expense, I’m afraid that is a necessary result of a death. You might as well be concerned when a client dies and the family have to get probate.

1 Like

My understanding is that the role of executor cannot be disclaimed if it is acquired via the chain of representation.

Many years ago I was involved in the estate of a “retired” accountant who, we discovered some time after probate was issued, was the sole surviving executor of several estates, and held small cash balances for each which appeared to have been fully administered many years beforehand. We took counsel’s advice on how we could pass the responsibility for tracing those entitled and winding them up. In summary, counsel’s advice was “tough, just get on with it”.

I am not aware that there has been any significant change in the rules since then, so the only way to avoid the chain is for the executors to renounce and for a grant of letters of administration (with will annexed) to be obtained in the second estate.

Paul Saunders FCIB TEP

Independent Trust Consultant

Providing support and advice to fellow professionals

Have dealt with this situation on a few occasions now, over the last decade or so. The approach is indeed to apply for a Grant de Bonis non Administratis (but sit back and wait as Probate Registry will take their sweet time to progress this - also remember to send the CAPA5C or this will be a further reason for delay.

Michael Fogg
Trusting Willpower Ltd