1 July 2020

What can I do if an executor is not providing estate administration information?

Not receiving the information you have requested from an executor, and feeling that they are not progressing the estate administration, can be very frustrating.

If you are experiencing these difficulties with an executor, there are two options to get matters to progress.

Option 1

You can make an application to the Probate Registrar under the Non-Contentious Probate Rules to request that the executor provide an inventory and account.

This would result in you obtaining an order requiring the executors to produce a detailed account of the assets and liabilities of the estate and details of how they have administered the estate.

Advantages:

  • It is cheaper than making an application to the court, as there is no fee payable on making the application.
  • It is a less hostile process than making an application to the court.
  • It can often encourage the executors to action tasks that they have been delaying, such as selling a property.

Disadvantages:

  • It can sometimes lack emphasis because the Probate Registry’s powers are limited and they cannot force the executors to do things such as make payments to beneficiaries or sell properties.
  • If the estate accounts reveal any discrepancies, the Probate Registry cannot investigate this.
  • The Probate Registry cannot enforce any order that they make and any enforcement would have to take place in the High Court.

Option 2

You can make an application to the court under the Civil Procedure Rules.

The process is effectively asking the court for directions on specific issues relating to the administration of the estate; for example, you could ask the court to order that estate accounts are prepared, a property is sold or information is provided.

Advantages:

  • The court has wider powers to make orders for accounts if it feels it is necessary to enable the administration of the estate to be carried out.
  • Unlike the Probate Registry they are not limited in the orders they can make.

Disadvantages:

  • It is more expensive and a court fee will be payable.
  • It is a lengthier procedure than applying to the Probate Registry.

The best option to take will depend on the circumstances and the overall behaviour of the executor. If you are concerned about an executor’s behaviour, we would be happy to advise and discuss your options in more detail. Please contact Caroline Cowley at ccowley@hcrlaw.com or on 01242 246 410 or 07786 284 119.

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About the Author
Caroline Cowley, Senior Associate

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