I have been instructed to deal with the administration of an estate. There is confusion as to who the Executors are due to a subsequent codicil. The will states:
“1. I appoint my accountant XXX to be the Executor and Trustee”
The codicil states:
“…the Will shall be construed and take effect as if in clause 1 it contained clause 1a in the form as follows:- ‘I appoint as my Executors and Trustees in respect of my worldwide assets (and for the avoidance of doubt any asset I may own in [foreign country])- my children [names 4 children]’”
It is not clear what the deceased’s intentions were with regards the appointment of executors. The accountant believes the deceased felt it was wrong to exclude the children and therefore the purpose of the codicil was to appoint the accountant and the 4 children as executors. One of the children believes the purpose of the codicil was to appoint the children as the executors for the assets held in the foreign country only because there was insufficient time for the deceased to make a will in that country. I should add, I get the impression that if all 4 children are appointed as Executors there is a risk that disputes will arise.
If necessary, to avoid any family disputes, the accountant has reluctantly agreed to act as the sole executor. It is not clear whether all of the children would agree to this.
Regardless of the accountant’s agreement, it is my understanding that this matter should be referred to the District Judge or Registrar for guidance. Am I correct? Does anyone have any experience where there has been doubt about the construction of a will in terms of the appointment of executors?
Any help on the ways to deal with this would be appreciated.
Bobbetts Mackan Solicitors