Your thoughts on my situation would be greatly appreciated.
The deceased died in June 2014. The only 2 executors are S (son) and D (daughter) and they are also the only 2 beneficiaries.
S has all the deceased’s paperwork but by November 2017 he had taken no steps to administer the estate. D instructed Solicitors to write to S and this is when S instructed me to help him administer the estate. D agreed to jointly instruct me and she disinstructed her other Solicitors.
S gave me the original Will but no paperwork. He told me he had valued all the assets and that he would send me this information. For months I requested the asset values/paperwork but S ignored all letters, emails and phone messages. In March 2018, D instructed me to obtain the asset values myself and I wrote to S to tell him this is what I was doing, and to give him a revised costs estimate. S didn’t respond to this letter until today.
In the meantime, I had valued the estate (none of the asset holders had been informed of the death) and prepared the probate application for D to apply with power reserved to S. The Oath hasn’t been sworn yet (it was due to be sworn today!)
This morning S telephoned me to ask what’s happening and, when I told him, he said he wants to be named on the Grant with D. D doesn’t want this because she thinks S will hold up the sale of the flat (which has been empty since the deceased died in June 2014 and is incurring service and maintenance charges).
My view is that S has demonstrated his unsuitability to act as Executor due to his inactivity between June 2014 and November 2017, and again between November 2017 and today. I would therefore like to proceed on D’s behalf only, but I’m conscious that it was S who originally instructed me to act on his behalf.
My questions,therefore, are:
What is my duty to S? Should I now stop acting because I don’t have joint instructions from the executors (or should I have stopped acting prior to today)?
Do I have a duty to S and D as the beneficiaries of the estate and, if so, does this justify me acting applying for a Grant in D’s name?