Solicitor executors and beneficiaries in dispute

We are solicitor executors and are faced with dealing with beneficiaries in dispute. The residuary beneficiaries will not agree to reimburse the deceased’s wife certain payments she incurred from the estate as they say that they were incurred without authority - the sums are not inconsequential… There is also disagreement as to which items (chattels etc.) belong to the estate and which do not - there are quite a few issues; the executors are trying to remain neutral and feel we cannot finalise the estate without an agreement reached between all parties; but this matter cannot continue unresolved. Naturally all beneficiaries wish the estate to be finalised.

Any guidance on what the executors can do; whether forcibly or not would be appreciated.

Kimberley Spikings
Bottrills Solicitors LLP

Have the parties sought legal advice on their position?

If not, they should be encouraged to seek their own independent legal advice.

They could try mediation, but I suspect most experienced mediators would not wish to be dealing with individuals who are not legally advised.

Based upon the facts available to them, have the executors formed their own view as to the merits of each side’s claims? If the widow decides to issue a claim for the monies she has expended, the executors will likely be the defendants, so they might find it useful to have formed their own view, even if does not align with that of the residuary beneficiaries.

Paul Saunders FCIB TEP

Independent Trust Consultant

Providing support and advice to fellow professionals

Dear Paul

Thank you for your post - the disputing beneficiaries have/are taking independent legal advice and attempts at mediation have been attempted (I am afraid to say that this matter has been ongoing for many years now). I believe that proceedings are likely to be issued by one side or the other. The executors believe that the expenses should be paid from the estate but are mindful of the severe opposition they face from some of the beneficiaries if these sums be paid from the estate. The executors are being cautious in this instance. The executor’s fear is that whether they act (i.e. pay the expenses they agree with) or hold fire pending resolution; they will face criticism from one side or the other.

Kimberley Spikings
Bottrills Solicitors LLP