Family provision claims—the role of personal representatives
Produced in partnership with Edward Hewitt of 5 Stone Buildings
Family provision claims—the role of personal representatives

The following Wills & Probate practice note Produced in partnership with Edward Hewitt of 5 Stone Buildings provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Family provision claims—the role of personal representatives
  • The role of personal representatives
  • What personal representative neutrality means in practice
  • Before proceedings are issued
  • After proceedings are issued and served
  • Alternative dispute resolution
  • The personal representative who is also a beneficiary
  • Discretionary Will trusts

Claims for reasonable financial provision from an estate pursuant to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (I(PFD)A 1975) appear to be on the rise. This increases the likelihood that personal representatives (PRs)—whether executors or administrators—may have to deal with such a claim as part of the administration of the estate. This can be stressful, as PRs can feel caught between the two warring sides, ie the claimant on the one hand and the beneficiaries under the Will or intestacy rules on the other hand.

This Practice Note considers the role of PRs in relation to I(PFD)A 1975 claims. Although it is fairly well known that when faced with an I(PFD)A 1975 claim, PRs should ‘stay neutral’, this gives rise to practical questions such as:

  1. how should PRs respond to requests for information by someone who is threatening to bring an I(PFD)A 1975 claim?

  2. what should PRs do if they are being pressurised by beneficiaries who want distributions notwithstanding an I(PFD)A 1975 claim?

  3. how do PRs remain neutral if they are also beneficiaries of the estate?

  4. what role should PRs take if an I(PFD)A 1975 claim goes to mediation?

The role of personal representatives

In general terms, the starting point is that PRs in their capacity as PRs should stay neutral in relation to an I(PFD)A 1975 claim. The PRs’ role is to distribute the

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