The administration of an estate is not always straightforward.

It can be a lengthy process and can involve funeral arrangements, accessing the deceased’s belongings, sale of the deceased’s assets and liaising with the beneficiaries to distribute the estate.

The complexity will depend on numerous factors, but even in the simplest of estates, where emotions are heightened and people are grieving, disputes can arise. If you are faced with a dispute surrounding the administration of an estate, please see below for guidance or get in touch with our team for further help.

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Who is entitled to administer an estate?

 

When somebody dies, the administration of their estate is determined by either their will, or if they don’t have a will, inheritance laws. If there is a will, the person(s) named as executor in the will is the person entitled to administer their estate, and they must do so in line with the terms of the will itself.

If there is no will, inheritance laws determine who is entitled to administer the estate (and benefit from the same) and this person(s) becomes the administrator.

 

 

The executor or administrator has a duty to gather in the deceased’s assets, deal with any debts and/or liabilities and then distribute the estate in accordance with either the will or the Rules of Intestacy. This can be straightforward and non-problematic, however, it is not uncommon for disputes to arise either:

 

  • between administrators or executors (where there is more than one); and / or
  • between the executor(s) / administrator(s) and the beneficiaries.

 

We have dealt with numerous disputes of this nature and are specialists in assisting parties through the same with the end in sight.

Executors / administrators

Where there is more than one executor / administrator, they must work together to administer the estate. This means that they must agree on all decisions, and one cannot take steps to administer the estate alone without the other’s consent.

Disputes sometimes arise where executors / administrators disagree as to how to do something or what steps to take.

 

Executors / administrators & beneficiaries

Another common cause for seeking legal advice is where there is a dispute between the beneficiaries and the executors / administrators.

This often occurs where the executors / administrators have made a decision about something which the beneficiaries disagree with or the beneficiaries do not feel the they are doing a good job.

 

See here for more information on disputes between these three groups.

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