Executor Steals Inheritance – How to Avoid the Risk - Williamsons Solicitors Skip to main content

Posted: 08/07/2024

Executor Steals Inheritance – How to Avoid the Risk

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An executor has a legal duty to administer your estate according to your Will and they must comply with all the legal formalities involved with this, such as arranging your funeral, collecting in your assets and distributing the estate to the people named in the Will. Unfortunately, this does not always happen in practice.

An executor was recently jailed for 30 months for stealing an inheritance from the rightful beneficiaries, and her 93-year-old father received a 12-month suspended sentence for assisting her.

The deceased, who died in 2013, appointed her husband and her daughter as the executors and left a bequest of £50,000 to her two granddaughters when they turned 25. The executors were supposed to look after the money until that time; however, the father and daughter pair, who were trustees of the bank account withdrew all of the money in just over a year, spending it on shopping trips. The deception only came to light when one of the granddaughters asked for access to her share of the money in order to buy a house. The Judge who convicted the pair noted that they were “thoroughly dishonest people” who abused their position and acted out of “greed and spite” against their own family. The money is now unaccounted for and a Proceeds of Crime investigation will take place to try and recover it. Please click here for further details: Swansea: Mum stole daughters’ £50,000 inheritance – court – BBC News

If you are concerned about your estate being mismanaged, it is possible to appoint professional executors and trustees to administer your estate to avoid this risk. Indeed, appointing professional executors has many advantages:

  1. Firstly, having an executor who specialises in Wills, Trusts and Probate matters will ensure the estate is administered appropriately and efficiently. This is particularly useful if your estate is complicated or involves inheritance tax.
  2. Secondly, the burden of being an executor can sometimes be too much for an individual, especially when they are grieving. The stress can also be overwhelming as the executor is personally liable for any claims brought against the estate; appointing a solicitor removes this personal liability. This would then create less stress for loved ones at an already difficult time.
  3. Finally, difficulties can arise during the administration of the estate as it is common for tension to build up amongst family and friends, as demonstrated by the Hill family. Appointing a professional Executor will ensure impartiality and fairness whilst administrating the estate as it is the solicitor’s job to remain unbiased and objective.

No-one can know for certain how friends and family with deal with matters after your death. If there is a likelihood of family complications after your death or you simply wish to relieve the stress and burden on family, you can appoint Williamsons Solicitors and have the reassurance of knowing there will be an independent and professional executor acting, regardless of future circumstances.

If you would like further advice or wish to appoint Williamsons Solicitors as your executors to deal with your estate, please get in touch and we can advise you accordingly.


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