The article below concerns a case where a law firm refused to renounce their role as Executors to an apparently straightforward (but not insignificant) estate. A hefty legal bill of £25,000 was racked up in the subsequent litigation, which serves as a warning to firms to carefully consider their stance in cases such as these.
However, as a solicitor in the Dispute Resolution team, I frequently see the flip side of Testators not having appointed a professional Executor. Cases where there are warring siblings with poor relationships, several siblings all wanting control, or a reluctant Executor who fails to properly administer the estate. Dealing with these disputes costs thousands, and it would have been more proportionate (and far less strained) for a professional Executor to have administered.
It is the duty of the will writer to explore the family relationships and ensure that the proposed appointment is not likely to cause friction and an expensive dispute after the client has died.
Hedges can help with this, and provide experienced considered advice relating to wills and estate planning/administration. If the worst happens and you have a dispute on your hands then do contact us.
Firms that refuse to step down as executor could face high legal costs A case that recently reached the High Court has highlighted risks and high costs that can be faced by firms refusing to step down as executor. In the case of WAG Davidson & Co, the deceased left an estate including a property to her grandson and an amount of £832,000 to her daughter. The firm WAG Davidson & Co had been appointed as executor, but the deceased’s daughter asked the firm to step down as executor as she felt that the administration was straightforward and preferred to administrate it herself. Wag Davidson consequently refused to step down, and the case went to court for the deceased’s daughter to have the firm removed as executor.