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What can a beneficiary do if there is a delay in the executor/administrator administering the estate?

View profile for Christopher Burke
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The recent case of Gaskin v Chorus Law Ltd & Anor provides guidance for beneficiaries. This is a common problem experienced by beneficiaries

Eileen Gaskin died, intestate, in 2012 and a year later her daughter Marquita Murphy instructed Chorus Law to administer the estate. 

Ms Murphy told Chorus Law repeatedly that she was not living at her mother’s home and was readying it for sale. In 2015 Chorus Law were written to by, Eileen’s son, Trevor Gaskin’s solicitors who complained that the property had not been sold and that Ms Murphy was still residing in the property.

As the administration of the estate had not progressed, in 2016 Ms Murphy and Chorus Law were threatened with legal action to remove them as personal representatives of the estate. Following the issue of proceedings to remove them as personal representatives, the court removed Chorus Law as a personal representative in 2017.

Chorus Law admitted to the slow processing of the estate whereby three years after the death of Eileen Gaskin her estate had not been administered. At the hearing, the Judge stated that if there is a delay of more than 1 year from the death of the deceased the burden is on the representative to show some valid reason for the delay.

Upon her ruling the Judge said that “on any basis [Chorus Law] should have stepped down as administrator before the order was made”. 

The Judge ruled that Ms Murphy and Chorus Law were to each pay half of Gaskin’s costs which came to £180,000, almost equal to half of the estate. 

Accordingly, if you are experiencing long delays in the administration of an Estate you should take legal advice as soon as possible. Please contact Christopher Burke on 0161 684 6941 should you require such advice.   
 

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers LLP or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.