PROCEED WITH CAUTION Executors and Administrators Responsibilities – Claims Against an Estate

Posted 6th June 2023

This article covers the legal duties of executors and administrators regarding claims against an estate, including creditor and beneficiary claims. It emphasises the importance of managing these claims properly to avoid legal consequences and potential risks and liabilities.

Executors appointed under a Will of a deceased and Administrators appointed under the Rules of Intestacy (when there is no Will) should consider and be aware that claims can be made against an Estate within 6 months from the date of issue of a Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration.

The Executor/Administrator should caution against distributions out of an Estate from being made for the first 3 months and to be aware that claims can be made within the 6 month period.

Examples of Claims against an Estate

Reasonable Provision claimed by:-

  • Any spouse or civil partner.
  • Any former spouse or civil partner, provided they have not remarried or registered a new civil partnership, and provided no court order was made at the time of their separation that specifically precludes them from bringing such a claim.
  • ny other person with whom the deceased was cohabiting continuously for the two years immediately preceding death as spouse or civil partner.
  • Any children (which includes illegitimate, adopted and adult children, and children conceived but not yet born at the time of death, but not stepchildren unless they have also been adopted).
  • Any person who the deceased treated as a child of the family in relation to any marriage or civil partnership and who was dependant (eg a former spouse’s child from a former relationship).
  • A person the deceased may have maintained ( making a substantial contribution towards their reasonable needs up to death), on the basis that he or she had assumed responsibility for them.

Other reasons of challenges to a Will may include :-

  • If there has been ‘undue influence’ on the deceased at the time the will was made.
    Mental incapacity of the deceased.
  • All or any of the Will not being correctly signed, dated or witnessed

Liabilities of the Estate
It may be that the Revenue (HMRC), the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) or any other unknown creditors (Creditors may have a claim against an Estate). Full enquires should be made by an Executor/Administrator and consideration of the placement of Statutory Advertisements.

Heald are here to provide legal advice and take instructions from Executors/Administrators (our client) to assist with Grants of Probate/Letters of Administration and to deal with Estate administration (ie. Grant application, taxation gather in assets, settlement of liabilities and distribution) on behalf of our Client.

If you have been appointed as an executor or administrator of an estate, it is crucial to be aware of the potential claims that can be made against the estate and the timeframe in which they can be made. Take caution against making any distributions from the estate for the first three months and be prepared to handle any claims that may arise within the six-month period. This includes claims related to reasonable provision and challenges to the validity of the will.

Additionally, there may be liabilities of the estate to consider, such as taxes and creditor claims.

At Heald, we are here to provide legal advice and assist with estate administration to ensure that you fulfill your responsibilities as an executor or administrator properly. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you navigate the complex process of estate administration.

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The above information is for general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice. Heald Solicitors disclaims and excludes any liability in respect of the contents of this article or for action taken based on this information. If you need legal advice, please contact a solicitor.