Removal of executors
A deceased’s person’s estate is administered by an executor or administrator (these may both be referred to as personal representatives).
Personal representatives have a duty to:
- Collect in and distribute estate assets in accordance with the deceased’s will or intestacy
- When required to do so by the court, exhibit on oath a full inventory of the estate
- When so required render an account of the administration of the estate to the court
Issues may arise when the personal representative is unwilling to act, unable to act or cannot be located. In some cases, a beneficiary of an estate may feel that the personal representative is biased towards other beneficiaries, that there are unnecessary delays in the administration or there has been a breakdown in relationships which is hindering the administration of the estate. Often the difficulty is between two or more personal representatives who cannot work together.
In these circumstances, you may want to consider the appointment of an independent administrator to deal with the estate administration. This would generally be a solicitor or trust corporation experienced in probate matters. Sometimes an independent administrator can be agreed between all the parties. If not, a court application would be needed.
There can be many advantages of appointing an independent administrator, such as them being removed from the emotions of any dispute and able to act impartially. Sintons Trust Corporation can consider being appointed in this role to help move along protracted estate administration.
It is possible for a beneficiary of an estate, or a fellow personal representative, to apply to court to have a personal representative removed if they consider they are not acting correctly. Such applications can be made before a grant of probate is obtained, or afterwards. Section 116 of the Senior Courts Act 1981 can be used before a grant is obtained to appoint an alternative administrator to those named in a will or those with first priority to obtain the grant on an intestacy. Alternatively, section 50 of the Administration of Justice Act 1985 can be used to remove or substitute a personal representative.
We act for those wishing to remove an executor and for those personal representatives facing calls from others for them to step down.