Executor pitfalls – Considerations
MB+M is always looking to partner with other professionals who have the expertise to ensure we are meeting our clients’ needs. Irongroup is one of those that we work with, along with other legal firms to ensure we match the client need with the expertise required. Below is their recent article outlining some great scenarios executors might find themselves in. If you are interested in finding out more, please contact your adviser at MB+M who can tell you more.
Two Minute Scenarios
Can executors get it wrong? Yes! If you have clients that need help, whether executors or beneficiaries, please contact us. Meanwhile, here is a sample of some common problems…
Scenario One… Joe
Scenario: Joe is the estranged son of Charles, who has recently died. Charles appointed his brother James, as executor of his estate.
What’s the issue? Joe has asked to see a copy of the Will but his Uncle James doesn’t want to provide one. As Charles had not left Joe anything in his estate, James doesn’t see the need.
Solution: The law may differ by state but in Victoria for example, all children of a deceased parent have a right to see their Will. James will have to provide Joe with a copy. Note that if someone is still alive, no-one has the right to see their Will.
Scenario Two… Uncle Julian
Scenario: Georgia and Nicole were left their mother’s estate equally. Their Uncle Julian was appointed by their mother as executor.
What’s the issue? Quite a few months have passed since their mother’s death and Julian is not responding to his nieces’ requests for information. They want to know what they can do.
Solution: If an executor is not responding to requests beneficiaries are entitled to apply to the court for an accounting of the estate. They can also apply to have Julian removed if they believe he has breached his duties as executor.
Scenario Three… Eddie
Scenario: Eddie was appointed executor of his brother Tom’s estate. He was very efficient and had everything wound up and distributed to his two nieces in accordance with the Will within the first five months of receiving the grant of probate.
What’s the issue? Tom also had a son to whom he did not leave anything. The son is now mounting a challenge to the estate. Unfortunately Eddie may be personally liable for any payout the court orders as well as the legal costs.
Solution: To avoid personal liability an executor should not distribute an estate before six months from the date of grant of probate have passed
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