I am instructed to deal with an estate where the residuary beneficiary and the executor do not get along (to put it mildly). The residuary beneficiary lived with the deceased and when the property was cleared was particularly difficult about removing his belongings. This resulted in additional expenses being incurred including a trainee having to travel to the property to attend the beneficiary. My question is simple: can the executor deduct from the residuary beneficiaries entitlement the extra unnecessary expense incurred particularly the additional removals and the time costs of the trainee attending the property. Thank you.
Are they the sole residuary beneficiary?
Surely all of those additional costs are legitimate administration expenses that would normally be paid by the estate before the residue is calculated anyway?
Or is this more about their share of the residue bearing the cost of their behaviour?
Lyndzey Smissen FCILEx
Head of Wills, Probate and Trusts
Paytons Solicitors LLP
Hi Lyndzey, They are one of 2 beneficiaries and the additional expenses that have been incurred are as a result of their unreasonable behaviour. They kept personal belongings at the property which they failed to remove which resulted in clearance costs (and our costs) in addition to the usual administration costs to clear the property.
I’d be inclined to treat it in the same manner as a tenant not taking their items from a property.
Did you (or the Executor) give them reasonable notice to remove the items? Did you warn them that additional costs may be incurred as a result of their behaviour?
Were their personal belongings sold? (i.e. is there a sale price that can be offset against the additional expenses).
From a practical perspective (others may disagree with my approach) but depending on the real figures involved I would probably submit accounts to them that deducted the expenses from their share but I’d caution the executor that fighting a battle over the expenses may be disproportionate if they do cause more trouble.