QLD Deceased Estate - What Happens If Multiple Executors Can't Agree?

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22 May 2016
Hi, this query is on behalf of my mother. Her mother (my grandmother - nanna) died 9 months ago.

The executors of her estate are the four siblings, who are also the sole direct beneficiaries (I haven't seen the will myself, but apparently, this is the gist). The estate/will was created by my grandmother's husband who died many years ago. Basically, he stipulated that the main asset the family had (some acreage with a house on it) was to be held in trust and managed for nanna's benefit until she died.

Nanna was in a nursing home for the last 5-6 years of her life, so the property has essentially been uninhabited since then. With virtually no upkeep, the house really needs to be demolished. However, it's sitting on a pretty high-value piece of acreage. This is the main asset of the estate that needs to be disposed of, however, the will states that all 4 sisters have to be in agreement in whatever action they take with respect to the estate. And of course, there's always one sibling that has to have it all her way, because she is completely selfish and self-absorbed. Mainly because of her, no action has been taken on disposing of the estate yet.

She lives next door to the estate in question and seems to regard the property as her own and has issued "directions" to the other siblings that no one is allowed onto the estate without her permission, to give an idea of the attitude.

That's the background. My questions are: Where can I read up on the specifics of time limits on disposing of assets/distributing the proceeds of a deceased estate in QLD? And are there any special laws that might apply in this case where one of the multiple executors is clearly acting in her own self-interest to the detriment of the other executors/beneficiaries? Is there any way the 3 other siblings can have this pill removed as an executor (if not a beneficiary)? Are there any actions (mistakes) this pill can do in the eyes of the law that would effectively cause her preclude herself as an executor of will? No other parties/solicitors have been involved yet.

Thanks in advance.


If the executors absolutely can't work it out on their own, they can seek directions from the court as to how to proceed. The application can be made by only one of the executors.

In circumstances where one of the executors has a conflict of interest, has failed to account to the other executors, is guilty of some misconduct or where there has been a complete breakdown in communication leading to delays and extra costs the court has the power to make orders to remove a co-executor. This order will only be made though in exceptional circumstances. The court will not lightly deprive the testator of his or her choice of executor(s) however it must also have regard to the due and proper administration of the state and the best interests of the beneficiaries.

Generally executors have 12 months to distribute an estate provided there are no major obstacles, however this is merely a principle or a guide, not a hard and fast rule that can be enforced.