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QLD Executor of Will - Take Action Against Them?

Discussion in 'Wills and Estate Planning Law Forum' started by lola graham, 16 February 2016.

  1. lola graham

    lola graham Member

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    My husband's stepfather died two years ago. He left the house (which was our family home and in his name) to his wife who still lives there and the remainder of his Deceased Estate land to be divided amongst all beneficiaries ( stepchildren from the previous marriage - all adults - and his half-sister and his brother).

    One of the stepsisters was appointed executor of will along with her brother. There were also some smaller nominated items which went directly to the stepchildren.

    So far they seem to have done almost nothing except to distribute the assets of the Deceased Estate that benefited themselves, yet have still not transferred the house deeds into my mother's name. My mother covers the upkeep of the house and insurance from her income, yet they threaten to sell the house to pay legal fees despite commercial land being available to sell which would more than cover this.

    They have made little effort to sell the commercial land, yet they claim that the lawyer handling the Will has racked up huge fees and we cannot see why or how given what has been done to date. We have not seen any details of the fees agreed.

    Can we take a vote of no confidence in them on the basis that they have looked after their own interests and really abused their power as executors? We have had almost no communication with them but we can see no reason as to why they are failing to deal with the Deceased Estate to the benefit of all beneficiaries and seem entirely intent only on delaying the sale and distribution of the Estate as provisioned, which is stressful and damaging to my mother's security (she is 71).
     
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Hi Lola,

    Difficulties often arise with executors and there isn't always an easy way of enforcing your rights as a beneficiary.

    Executors owe beneficiaries a duty to act in their best interests and ensure that the estate is distributed in accordance with the terms of the will. They do however have a fairly broad discretion to decide how that will be done. They also have a duty to preserve the value of the estate for the beneficiaries. They must keep records of all actions and transactions involving the estate and must account to beneficiaries when required.

    In cases where an executor is not putting the interests of beneficiaries first and is not carrying out their role diligently, beneficiaries may apply to the court to remove the executor and have another appointed in his or her place. However such applications may only be made before distribution of the estate, and are not taken lightly by the court.

    I would do your best to work amicably with the executors and, if necessary, request records of their dealings with the estate.
     
  3. Mushroom

    Mushroom Member

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    Can you please expand on "must account to beneficiaries when required". In the absence of executor providing details of all assets - when is it reasonable for beneficiaries to request a full accounting of the estate?
     
  4. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Executors don't have a specific duty to account to beneficiaries, however, they do have to account to the court. After a grant of probate is made you can access the grant and a copy of the will. If the executor does not distribute the estate assets in accordance with the will they could be personally liable for failing to do this.
     

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