It costs money to use an independent solicitor to execute your Will and the temptation may be to use a trusted member of the family or a friend to do this and save some money. Do so at your peril however as the following case demonstrates that this may ultimately be a false economy.
A women left her estate, which included her home of £1.8 million, to be distributed equally between her three children. She also appointed them as executors of her Will. This was in itself straightforward. The difficulties became apparent when two of the sons wanted to sell the property to release the money for distribution, however, the third who was resident in the property argued that as he had looked after their mother and lived with her for the last eight years of her life he should be paid more. He believed he was at a financial disadvantage because of his role as his mother’s carer and should be given a bigger share of the estate.
To enable to distribute the women’s assets the property needed to be sold, and the brothers approached the High Court to have him removed as an executor, they believed he was holding them to ransom to gain a greater share of the estate, which is not the role of an executor.
The Court agreed that there was a conflict of interest between his role as an executor and as a beneficiary of the Will and an independent lawyer should take his place. However, they added that should the dispute not be resolved they might all have to be replaced by independent lawyers to prevent continued conflicts of interest.
This illustrates that even a seemingly uncomplicated Will can prove challenging and that appointing an independent solicitor can save you money in the long term.