Hello John, I am Keith, one of the experts on Just Answer, and pleased to be able to help you with your question.
a) I suggest that the solicitor is not prevaricating in the slightest. It is normal for tax to be paid before an estate is distributed.
b) No, it would be most improper and could lay you. as executor, open to actions by other beneficiaries not to mention the taxman, but see below at d.
c) The fluctuations in foreign exchange effect us all and frankly one just has to lump it.
d) The solicitor is, in my opinion, quite correct to hang on to funds until the taxation position is confirmed and settled. An interim distribution could, however, be made, but that is entirely at his discretion and might, indeed, involve the consent of other beneficiaries not to mention Irish succession law and the terms of the will.
I am so sorry to have to rain on your parade.
It is normal for the executor to hold the deceased fonds. One of the duties is to collect all the deceased's assets and realise or distribute them as appropriate in accordance with the will if any or if not, according to the rules for intestate succession.