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Can A Beneficiary Challenge My Decisions?

Being an Executor often involves making decisions in order to pursue the administration of the Estate which are not always universally popular amongst all beneficiaries.  

As an Executor do you need the approval of beneficiaries to actions which you take? 

The answer to this is usually no but in practice it is sensible to take beneficiaries views into account even though it is not compulsory for them to sign off every decision. 

What is important is that you act in accordance with the terms of the Will and in the best interests of the Estate and it is important that you can always justify your actions. 

The most common dispute that can arise is with regard to the selling of the family home especially if there is someone living in it or one of the beneficiaries wants to buy the others out.  

Many arguments can arise in such a situation and different beneficiaries with different interests may have a different view regarding how matters should proceed.  There can be arguments about notional rent and accusations of selling the property at an undervalue. 

Indeed if beneficiaries feel that you take a decision to sell the property at an undervalue or if for example you fail to dispose of a wasting asset resulting in loss then they can bring a claim against you personally, not the Estate, and can try to remove you as Executor.  

In all cases it is a case of showing that you have acted properly for example in ensuring that the property is sold at a value in accordance with an independent professional valuation.  

If you are accused of acting inappropriately with regard to the administration of an Estate you should seek legal advice. 

If you wish to know more about this, then please contact Grahame Henry at grahame.henry@clough-willis.co.uk or 0800 083 0815.