August 29, 2014

Will claims surge highlights value of expert executors

The Law Society Gazette reported on 29 July that data from the High Court’s Chancery Division revealed there had been 368 claims lodged for breach of fiduciary duty in 2013, compared with 107 in 2012.

Fiduciary duty is the legal term for an obligation on one party to act in the best interests of another.

Among the 2013 cases were claims ranging from the theft of assets by an executor to distributing assets so that certain beneficiaries were favoured over others.

Some legal experts have suggested that the increase in the number of claims could be due to more people appointing family or friends to act as their executors of their wills, perhaps in an attempt to reduce costs.

Richard Robert, who chairs the wills and equity committee of the Law Society, the body that represents solicitors in England and Wales, told the Law Society Gazette: “Many wrongly perceive the task to be simpler than it is.

‘There will always be lay executors who can do the job well and are perfectly trustworthy, but there will always be groups of executors who either administer an estate badly through ignorance or administer it fraudulently.”

Royds can provide expert advice to ensure that wills are drafted correctly – to avoid the potential for disputes and challenges at a later date – and in the most inheritance tax-efficient way. We can also act as executors or advise executors in the administration of estates.

For more information, please visit or contact Tony Millson or Deanna Hurst.

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