The Executor is taking a long time, what can I do?
You may be concerned that an Executor of an estate that you are involved in is causing undue delay. Stephanie Rendell, Associate Solicitor and Head of Wills & Estates at RNG Lawyers, explains how long it takes to act in an estate and what you can do when an Executor is taking too long.
Beneficiaries and Executors of an estate are often surprised at how long it takes to obtain a Grant of Probate or Administration and then distribute the assets to the ultimate beneficiaries .
Even in the most straightforward estates, it is not uncommon for it to take a couple of months from the date of death before an Application for a Grant of Probate or Administration can be completed.
Once an Application is filed, the Grant is generally issued relatively quickly.
In a complicated estate, it is not uncommon for it to take many months to collate all the necessary information required to file the Application for the Grant.
Once the Grant has been made, Executors are likely to be advised to withhold distribution of the Estate for 6 months. This is because any eligible person wishing to make a claim for Testator's Family Maintenance must do so within 6 months of the date of the Grant of Probate. After the expiration of 6 months, the right to make such an application ceases unless the Court grants leave.
An Executor may nonetheless be causing undue delay and there are some estates where the Executor really does take too long. There are steps that can be taken when an Executor is not performing their role including obtaining a Court Order to have them removed as Executor in the most serious cases.
It is often the case however that the issue can be resolved by communicating with the Executor (or the lawyers acting on behalf of the estate) to understand and perhaps even resolve the delay. It might be that the Executor does not have the ability to take on the role and requires some support. Alternatively, it may be that they are willing to step down from the role of Executor and/or Trustee subject to the terms of the Will (if there is a Will).
RNG Lawyers has experience in acting for estates and also for beneficiaries that are concerned about the way that estates are being handled. We can advise you in detail about your rights. We can also take action where necessary on your behalf including Court action to remove Executors in serious cases.
If you would like to speak with the RNG Lawyers Wills & Estates team, please do not hesitate to schedule an appointment