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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26069
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I am one of six beneficiaries of an estate of about£110,000.

Customer Question

I am one of six beneficiaries of an estate of about£110,000. The deceased death was in April 2013. There is a legal will and two appointed executors. One is a solicitor and the other is a lay person, also a beneficiary, who was a good friend to the deceased for over 30 years. There is no property involved just two bank accounts. premium bonds and a savings bond. Probate was obtained at he beginning of November 2013 by the Solicitor. Provisional Accounts were produced by him on 27th January. Both executors have agreed the Accounts this week. The solicitor has now stated that he will need to write to all the beneficiaries to obtain their approval of the Accounts before he can commence the distribution of the assets of the estate to the beneficiaries. I have seen the Accounts which all look to be in order. Is it a legal requirement to obtain the approval of the beneficiaries if both the Executors are satisfied that all matters are correct ?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.

Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

Do you believe any of the residuary beneficiaries will either challenge the accounts or be slow in responding please?

Joshua :

Thanks. Residuary beneficiares have a right to see accounts and a right to challenge matters in the accounts. For this reason an executor as a matter of best practice should at the very least show the accounts to residuary beneficiaries before distribution and ideally obtain their signature thereto in order to signify acceptance. Whilst lay executors frequently dispense with this requirement, professional executors typically do not as they want to ensure that thy have no potential liability to any beneficiaries.

Joshua :

Accordingly a professional executor will typically require every residuary beneficiary to sign the accounts to guard against a residuary beneficiary complaining after distribution and making a claim against the executor.

Joshua :

It is not an absolute legal requirement but is normal practice for the above reasons.

Joshua :

Would you forgive me - a client has just arrived and I have to step into a meeting with them. If you have any follow up questions, with your permission may I assist you with them in circa 20-30 mins? I hope the above is of assistance in the meantime?

Customer:

No. I am not aware that any of the beneficiaries are likely to challenge but one has just gone to Australia for an extended holiday and is likely to be unavailable for several weeks. Another beneficiary is about to do the same..

Joshua :

I am back...

Joshua :

If you believe there is likely to be an extended delay by any beneficiary, you could sign and reutn your copy of the accounts if happy with them, and ask the executor to consider an interim distribution to you...

Joshua :

This is where the executor makes a payment of a percentage of your entitlement to you pending the final settlement. In principle there is no reason he should not do so because providing he keeps back a balance, then in the unlikely event of any challenge, which necessitates the adjustment of the accounts in some way he would still have a balance from which to make such an adjustment.

Customer:

Joshua I think you have given me all I need. The whole process for such a simple estate has been very slow and this almost looks like a way of further extending the time. One of the beneficiaries is in poor health and the legacy would be of real help to him as soon as possible.

Joshua :

It does seem a rather drawn out affair for such a simple estate but unfortunately it is not untypical. Interim distributions as above could be considered if necessary. In addition you could ask about the payment of interest on the money that has presumably been sitting in the solicitors client account for some time.

Joshua :

I would hope from the sounds of it you are on the final straight now in any event.

Customer:

Thank you Joshua. Very helpful comments and gives me a way forward if there is again undue delay which I feel is very likely.It really is the man in poor health that I am most concerned about rather than myself but we will wait and see how it progresses. I will ensure your rating is appropriate. Again many thanks.

Joshua and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

All resolved. Distribution has taken place. The solicitor involved practices on his own, is very pedantic, reluctant to talk top people on the phone and everything has to be dealt with by the use of long winded letters. He is therefore very slow and charges more than most efficient solicitors.


I considered making a complaint to the SRA and advised him of that possibility. Matters moved slightly more quickly after that.


Thanks for your help.