Mishandled Estate Claims up by 300%
According to figures released by the High Court, claims for mishandling estates have more than tripled over the past year. The claims range from the theft of assets by executors to fraudulent distribution of assets to favour certain beneficiaries over others under the Will.
This rise in claims is probably attributable to people appointing friends or relatives as their executors and trustees under their Wills rather than professionals. Unfortunately, this can be a false economy. Many families believe that they are potentially saving money but find that it costs much more than they bargained for when they have to go to Court to pursue an executor for the theft of assets or to recover assets when a mistake has been made.
It is not unheard of for amateur executors to take matters into their own hands and to distribute the assets as they see fit, even if that means acting contrary to the terms of the Will. The risk of mismanagement increases as more people try to deal with the administration of estates themselves. Many people think that the job of being an executor is a lot easier than it actually is. Although some people will be able to do the job well and are completely trustworthy, there will always be others who either administer an estate badly because they do not know what they are doing or administer it dishonestly.
You should always consider carefully the appointment of executors when you are making your Wills and, if you have been named as an executor of a Will, please consider using our estate administration services to ensure that no allegations of wrongdoing can be levelled against you.
On the other hand, if you are the beneficiary of an estate where you feel that the executors are not acting properly, please contact a member of our Wills, Trusts and Probate Team for advice on how things should be resolved.