Are there any options to an Executor when a beneficiary is slow/refusing to sign indemnity / approval of estate account?
I’m not sure that you need the beneficiary to approve the Estate Account - that is for the Executor. If there is anything specific they disagree with then that should be discussed before the Estate Account is approved, although the beneficiary does/should not necessarily have all the same information available to them as the Executor.
As regards an indemnity, do not distribute to them without having the signed indemnity beforehand.
Residuary beneficiaries do need to approve the estate accounts. In this way they can see how their entitlement has been calculated and can review the actions of the executor, as they would be entitled to pursue the executor for any maladministration. If the accounts are not approved by the residuary beneficiary then the executor remains liable to them.
If a beneficiary is refusing to sign/ approve the accounts then you can apply to the court for the accounts to be approved by a judge on their behalf. This will ultimately remove the executor from liability as the distributions have then be made in accordance with a court order. Obviously, this is both time consuming and expensive. It often helps to highlight to the beneficiary that this step would be required, if they fail to approve the accounts, and that the costs of such an application will be sought from their share of the residue. You do need to be able to demonstrate to the court that you have made every effort to get the accounts approved, before applying to the Court. If this is not the case then the executors would be liable for the costs of an unnecessary court application.
Thank you so much for your response. This is very helpful.
Principal at Joanne Ball Solicitor
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