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Executors Of The Will

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Kassee | 14:26 Sat 21st Sep 2013 | Law
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There are four siblings in a family, two of which are executors of the parents' will. There is a substantial amount of money and a property to be disposed of and shared equally amongst the four siblings, as stated in the will. However, one of the executors of the will has fallen out with his siblings and is totally disregarding them in all ways. However, he is on talking terms to the sibling which is the other executor to the will.

What powers do the executors of the will have in law. If they decide not to share assets out equally, is there anything that can be done at all.

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Isn't there usually a nominated solicitor handling a will and ensuring the executors carry out the wishes as written?
The non-executors could issue a caveat.

http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/probate/caveats
Not in my experience Prudie- it's always been handled without solicitors in cases I have known personally.
The executors have a responsibility to follow the terms of the will. They don't decide the basis of apportionment
Question Author
No solicitor
Oh, I've only been personally involved in 3 wills, executor for 2 of them and there was an overarching solicitor in all cases.
What are the main duties of an executor?
The law says an executor should carry out his or her task ‘with
due diligence’. Executors who act wrongly may have to pay
compensation to beneficiaries out of their own money. For this
reason, it is wise to protect yourself by having the professional
help and advice of a solicitor.

The law expects executors:
• to put the interests of the beneficiaries before their own interests
• not make a profit from their position unless authorised
• to scrupulously account to the beneficiaries for all the money passing through their hands
• to act reasonably and prudently in relation to the estate property
In order to obtain probate, the Executors must first obtain details of the deceased person's assets and liabilities. They are then required to swear an oath (or to 'affirm') that they have provided the correct information to the Court of Probate. Only then can a Grant of Representation be issued.

Once the Grant is issued it becomes a public document, so that anyone can see the value of the estate and to whom it should be distributed.

If the executors were, for example, to deliberately omit to include the assets of a bank account in their statement to the Court of Probate, they'd be committing a serious criminal offence (quite probably leading to a substantial prison sentence) by swearing an oath (or affirming) that they'd provided full and accurate information. Further, if they then used that false information to retain monies that should have been distributed to the other beneficiaries, they'd be guilty of 'fraud by false representation', which carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence.

Additionally, the beneficiaries who'd not received their full share of the estate could also use civil law to sue the Executors for compensation.

In the circumstances you describe, it's essential that the beneficiaries who aren't Executors get hold of a copy of the Grant of Representation, in order that they can
(a) read the exact contents of the Will ; and
(b) see what the value of the estate was declared to be by the Executors:
http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/probate/copies-of-grants-wills

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