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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26577
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I am an executor but not beneficiary of a Will that has

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I am an executor but not beneficiary of a Will that has already gone to probate, now a claim has now been made on the estate by the deceased previously estranged partner, who was not mentioned in the Will. Am I personally liable for costs if he makes a claim against the estate and he wins?

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

  1. May I ask if any assets have yet been distributed from the estate please?
  2. Are you the only executor?
  3. Is the claim made under the Inheritance Act, or is the person challenging the validity of the will?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
1, the assets in the property have not been distributed, the only asset was 50% share which was to be distributed to her two children, who are both executors and beneficiaries.
2, As mentioned her two children are Execturtors and beneficaries.
3, the claim is under the Inheritance act 1975.I have received advice that suggests even though the claimant is taking the Estate to court, we have been told that we have to defend separately and that we will be personably liable for their costs if the judge supports his claim.

Thank you. I am afraid I dont agree with the advise you ave received on the privos that you have not yet distributed any of the estate assets. Under an Inheritance Act claim, under your role as executor, you are expected to adopt a neutral stance on the claim. You will be a defendant to proceedings if they have to be issued, and will have to file a witness statement setting out specifics of the net estate, but you will not be expected to go much further or to actively defend the claim. You may be asked to give further evidence – for example where the claimant wants further information about assets or liabilities of the estate – but as a general rule, the executor is expected to simply abide by any order of the Court.

So long as you remain neutral, they will be entitled to your reasonable costs of the matter out of the estate on an indemnity basis as per the decision in Alsop Wilkinson v Neary [1995] 1 All ER 431. accordingly, subject as above, you should not be personally liable for any costs yourself

You will however I would suggest wish to give consideration if you have not already done so to appointing a solicitor in the matter as it is unlikely I imagine you would wish to deal with the claim personally. If you do so, you will be entitled in principle to recover reasonable costs associated with the appointment from the estate but any solicitor you appoint will be able to give you early advice in respect of his fees.

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