Intermeddling by solicitor-executor

I would be grateful for members’ views on the distinction between administering an estate on behalf of the executors, and intermeddling. The Will appoints family executors alongside a partner of our firm and we have written to the various asset-holders for information as usual. None of the letters specify who the executors are but merely state that “We act in the administration of the estate of…” No application has yet been made for probate.

It is now possible that the family may wish to take certain risks against advice (such as distributing funds before IHT clearance is obtained) so we are now considering whether it is possible for the solicitor-executor to renounce probate and for us to continue to administer the estate on behalf of the remaining (family) executors.

The only asset collected in to our client account are the proceeds of a small amount of premium bonds.

Tobias Gleed-Owen
Hewitsons LLP

If the enquiries are being made by the firm, and not by the individual named as an executor, I do not see how the individual could be cited to take probate and so could validly renounce.

Paul Saunders

In any event I believe that an executor does not intermeddle if he is simply ascertaining the assets and liabilities of the estate in order to make a decision as to whether or not he should act.

Helen Rowett
Lodders Solicitors LLP

I went on a course yesterday and we were told that if an Executor accepts any money, distributes any money, pays debts etc they can no longer renounce as they have intermeddled. We were advised not to cash any cheques received on first notification from bank as some of them just send you a cheque now when you send the death certificate! I think on that logic if you have accepted the premium bonds funds and cashed the cheque you would likely lose the right to renounce and can be cited to take the grant.

Kirsty Cartwright
St Helens Law