Take Care When Appointing a Non-Lawyer as Your Executor

15th December 2017 By Arman Khosravi

When you appoint a solicitor to be the executor of your will, you can be assured that they will understand their duties and can be relied upon to comply with them. However, as a High Court case showed, the same sadly cannot always be said of friends or family members who are chosen to perform the role.

The case concerned a woman who died in her 70s, leaving an estate valued at more than £240,000 that was left in equal shares to a friend and a neighbour. Her will appointed the neighbour’s boyfriend as her executor. The principal asset of the estate was her home, which was later sold by the executor, realising a net sum of about £220,000.

Half of that sum should have been distributed to the friend in accordance with the pensioner’s will, but she did not receive any money. After taking legal advice, she launched proceedings and a judge ordered the boyfriend’s removal as executor. The friend replaced him as administrator of the estate.

He was also ordered to pay her the money due to her and to disclose documents relating to the whereabouts of the missing funds. He failed to comply with the orders and only at the eleventh hour did he disclose a bank statement, which revealed that all but £1,300 of the proceeds of the house sale had been spent on supporting his own lifestyle.

In the circumstances, the boyfriend admitted contempt of court and was warned by a judge that he faces a significant custodial sentence. He was, however, given a final opportunity to provide a full explanation of what had happened to the money and sentencing was adjourned for a month.

Source: Concious

Latest News

Challenge to Will's Validity Rejected by High Court

12th April, 2024 By

The best way to ensure your assets will be distributed as you wish is to have your will professionally drafted by a qualified solicitor. In a recent case, a challenge to the validity of an elderly man's will was dismissed by the High Court. The man had previously made a will in 2011, leaving most of his estate equally to his three children. In 2018, by which time one of his sons had predeceased him, he made a further will, leaving the residue of his estate to his other son...

Defiance of Family Court Orders Will Always End Badly

10th April, 2024 By

Custodial sentences very rarely come into play in the family courts. Where there have been repeated breaches of court orders, however, judges may have little choice but to clamp down. This was illustrated in the High Court during committal proceedings that stemmed from a child custody dispute. The background to the case involved contested proceedings between the father and mother of a young child. These concluded with a court order establishing that the child – a daughter – would live with the mother. Three months later the daughter travelled with...

Claim for SDLT Relief on Annex Unsuccessful

8th April, 2024 By

When buying a property consisting of more than one residence, it may be possible to claim multiple dwellings relief (MDR) against Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). However, there are certain conditions that must be met for an MDR claim to succeed, as a recent case illustrates. A property was purchased for £1.8 million. Prior to the purchase, the buyer had agreed with the seller that he would be allowed to carry out works to construct a self-contained annex at the property. The buyer's SDLT return included a claim for MDR...

Divorce – Alleged Bigamy Raised in Financial Remedies Dispute

5th April, 2024 By

The issue of bigamy and its potential impact on a person's ability to seek financial remedies in a divorce came under the legal spotlight recently. A husband made an application to strike out his wife's financial remedies claim on the basis that she had committed bigamy and deceived him into a marriage when she knew she was not free to marry. This deceit, he claimed, was so egregious that, as a matter of public policy, she should be debarred from pursuing any claim for financial remedies against him. The husband based...