Q&As

How does an executor's duty of neutrality interact with their duty to establish the value of the estate where one beneficiary (A) alleges that another beneficiary (B) misused B's power of attorney during the lifetime of the deceased? Does the executor have a duty to investigate/require B to provide an account?

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Published on LexisPSL on 28/05/2021

The following Wills & Probate Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • How does an executor's duty of neutrality interact with their duty to establish the value of the estate where one beneficiary (A) alleges that another beneficiary (B) misused B's power of attorney during the lifetime of the deceased? Does the executor have a duty to investigate/require B to provide an account?
  • The duty of neutrality
  • Procedural points
  • Summary

How does an executor's duty of neutrality interact with their duty to establish the value of the estate where one beneficiary (A) alleges that another beneficiary (B) misused B's power of attorney during the lifetime of the deceased? Does the executor have a duty to investigate/require B to provide an account?

The duty of neutrality

The duties of executors are to establish the value of the estate, collect in the assets and distribute the estate according to law and the terms of the Will (section 25 of the Administration of Estates Act 1925). This is an administrative role, but in carrying out these duties, executors are under a duty to remain neutral and not support one beneficiary against another in any contentious matter.

Such contentious matters can arise in a number of ways and include:

  1. mutual Wills

  2. claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. In such actions, the executors should confine their role to providing evidence in accordance with CPR PD 57, para 16 and complying with any directions to assist the court

  3. claims disputing the validity of the Will, either whether it was

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