Where it is appropriate we recommend to clients that they appoint family members to be executors and trustees in their Will. However, the duties of Executors and Trustees can be made more difficult by the beneficiaries of the Will and so sometimes it is prudent to appoint a professional as the following cases we have come across highlight.
Beneficiaries remove Executor:
The Will left a “right of occupancy” in property Z for person A for life. On the death of person A property Z was to be distributed amongst three charities. The charities involved communicated with the Executor to ascertain whether person A would be living in property Z for life and the age of person A. The executor made available a letter to the charities which was allegedly from person A stating her age and that she wished to remain in property Z for the rest of her life. On further investigation the charities discovered that person A lived elsewhere and it was, in fact, the Executor who was living in property Z.
The charities went to court and the Executor was removed. The Executor was liable for the costs involved. Property Z was sold and the charities received the funds.
Funeral arrangements, celebration of life and costs:
The deceased had made it known, verbally, that she wanted a simple low budget funeral. One side of the family were happy to honour the wishes of the deceased. However, the other side of the family wanted a lavish celebration of life. The total cost came to over £9,000. They assumed that this would be paid for from the Estate. Without the agreement of all of the beneficiaries this is not the case. So the family members who organised the lavish celebration had to bear the cost themselves.
If the testator had left a simple Letter of Wishes to Executors then the whole family would have been able to honour the wishes of the deceased. So the split that has developed because of the lavish celebration of life arrangements, and subsequent argument regarding costs, could have been avoided.
Trustees must agree:
A second marriage can mean that trustees are appointed to a discretionary trust fund where step-relations are both trustees and potential beneficiaries of the trust. This can cause conflict, developing a rift between the step-relatives who had got on well with each other when the testator was alive. If the trustees cannot agree on distribution they have no option but to go to mediation or ultimately court for directions.
If you are an existing client and the above is relevant to you please contact us on 01732 868190 for advice.
If you are not yet a client and would like to give instructions to make a Will please contact our appointments team on 01634 372655 or click here to arrange an appointment. If the above is relevant to you please discuss this when our Consultant visits.