Uncooperative executor

I am instructed in a taxable estate where the deceased appointed 3 executors. One of the executors is being uncooperative and not willing to assist with the administration of the estate. He has instructed his own solicitor but even they cannot get instructions from him. This may not normally have been a problem except that the deceased was a beneficiary of various trusts and the uncooperative executor is the trustee of those trusts and we can get no information to include in our IHT 400 return. Any thoughts on how we can proceed?

Simon Greener
Davis Gregory Solicitors

Yes, you disclose the actual position to HMRC in the documents giving the information you do have, and give name and address of unco-operative executor and trustee, and his solicitors. Then you ask
for a grant on the basis of estimated figures. Leave it to HMRC to sort him out.

Julian Cohen
Simons Rodkin

I suggest consideration be given to applying for the grant with power reserved to the uncooperative executor.

If the deceased was the life tenant of any of the trusts, it may be possible to guestimate the value of the trust fund, having identified the income sources within the trust.

When submitting the IHT400, it should be made clear that estimated values are provided as the trustee has been uncooperative, and provide details of the trustee and/or their solicitor. If the solicitor has provided written confirmation that they are unable to obtain instructions from their client, perhaps a copy of that letter might also accompany the IHT400?

HMRC has powers to require the trustee to provide information so that the IHT can be correctly assessed, although even in “normal” times I believe it may be such powers are not exercised until sometime after the due date for the submission if an account.

Paul Saunders FCIB TEP

Independent Trust Consultant

Providing support and advice to fellow professionals

Shouldn’t you advise the other two executors to apply for probate with power reserved to the uncooperative executor?

Patrick Moroney

HMRC will no doubt eventually extract the information from the unco-operative trustee or his fellow trustees, but that doesn’t deal with his position as unco-operative executor of the will. Going ahead without him having given him notice would enable the other executors to apply for the grant with power reserved to him. Or if the others are worried that the unco-operative one has taken some steps as an executor, then issue him with a citation. Assuming that he does not enter an appearance to that, then he is passed over whether he has been intermeddling or not.

Simon Mumford
Wilmot & Co Solicitors LLP