An Executor was supposed to retain funds in order to pay the administration expenses. However, he distributed the total, 5 years before the administration was due to end. Can the Trustees reclaim the amount of overpayment from the beneficiary who received it?
The trustees’ right would be against the executor, rather than against
If the trustees and executor were the same, then the difference is
I suggest the answer to whether the overdistribution can be clawed back
will be informed by a review of the communications between the executor
and the beneficiary.
Was the beneficiary told there would need to be a retention? If the
executor told the beneficiary they would get, say, £50,000 after the
retention, but paid out £60,000, it could be argued the beneficiary
should have queried why they were paid so much more than expected.
If the executor is a professional, and the amount of the
overdistribution is modest, from a reputation viewpoint It might be
preferable to pay the admin fees and not try and recover them. However,
that would be a business decision taking into account knowledge of the
other parties involved and the likely costs of trying to remedy the
Usually a pragmatic answer is required in these sorts of situation, as
asking for money back rarely goes down well