Contesting a Will - Are the Executors of a Will Acting Improperly?
Your brother is an Executor of your late father’s Will. You have never been on good terms with your brother but the real problem is that you don’t trust him. Your mother died a while ago and your brother helped your father make his Will.
When your dad dies, you are not happy at the way your brother is conducting his role as Executor. You suspect he is acting in his own interests. Well, you may be surprised to learn that the main reason for contesting wills is if the Executors or Trustees of the deceased Estate are behaving improperly or unreasonably.
These individuals are ‘personal representatives’ or ‘PRs’. The law places them under a strict code of conduct. If they step outside the boundaries of what is correct procedure, this can give valid grounds for disputing a Will. You are then challenging their conduct in the administration of the Estate.
Conflicts of interest can arise where an Executor is also a beneficiary of the Will, where family company shares are involved as part of the Estate or is a director of the company.
There may be tensions between the Personal Representatives or between the PRs and the beneficiaries under the Will; this can arise within families where there are already underlying frictions.
In the case of your brother you may suspect he is being dishonest and not acting in the best interests of the Estate and beneficiaries.
Your brother could be behaving obstructively or unfairly in which case an application to the Court for an order to remove him can be made or a substitute PR or trustee is appointed. In this case you are challenging the manner in which the Estate is being managed or distributed.
It is frequently the case that Executors are not acting in the best interests of the Estate or the Beneficiaries.
They may be withholding information, acting negligently or making unauthorised or risky investment decisions with the Estate property. They might be transferring property into other names or selling property and dealing with the proceeds other than in accordance with the wishes of the beneficiaries. Action can be taken to stop this conduct.
Speak to a qualified lawyer who specialises in contested probate cases; this person will be calm, guide you through the process and will not get tangled up in family divisions or arguments. They will give objective, controlled and legal support.
For legal advice in Dorset, Hampshire or Wiltshire from an expert Wills, Trusts and Probate solicitor, or a solicitor who specialises in contesting a will, contact our Salisbury, Andover, Verwood or Amesbury offices today. For more information about probate, visit our dedicated Probate UK microsite