Avoiding Costly Mistakes: The benefits of appointing professional executors in complex estates

1st February 2021 Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning

If death was the final taboo, the Covid-19 pandemic has shattered that idea and brought home our own mortality. Whilst thinking about making a Will isn’t necessarily an enjoyable task, it is essential in order to ensure loved ones receive the benefit from your estate.

One key consideration when drafting a Will is deciding on who to appoint as executors. Executors are the people that you choose to administer your estate and make certain that your wishes are carried out. Therefore, deciding on who to appoint as your executor is an important decision.

In the majority of cases, close family and trusted friends will be happy and willing to act as executors. However, there may be cases, particularly when the estate is large or complex, where choosing a professional executor to administer the estate will present significant advantages and help avoid potential costly mistakes.

One such regrettable case which caught our eye recently was that of the late Veronica Cadogan. Veronica died in September 2011 with an estate containing fourteen UK and international properties worth in the region of £2.4 million. Kirsty and Kevin Cadogan, two of her five children were appointed as the executors of the estate.

Unfortunately, Kevin continued to run the family business from five of the estate properties, without paying rent or accounting for the profits made. Further, Kevin did not account for the rental monies incoming from the other nine properties. Because of this, a claim was brought against him by Kirsty and in January 2021, the Court ordered that Kevin Cadogan must now repay the estate £1.7 million due to his wilful negligence. A professional administrator was appointed in their place to manage the estate going forward.

The case illustrates the potential problems in appointing family members or friends, rather than professional administrators to act as executors in high value, complex, international estates. There are stringent rules and timescales that must be adhered to when acting as an executor, which can prove to be complicated and costly for individuals lacking experience in the probate process.

JMW Solicitors’ Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning team are experts in the field. We can assist in relieving family and friends from the burden of administering your estate, and ensure that costly mistakes, such as in the case of the late Veronica Cadogan, are avoided.

For more information on appointing JMW as professional executors, or to speak to a solicitor about a free initial consultation, call us on 0345 872 6666. Alternatively, you can fill in our online enquiry form and we will get back to you.

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Joe Cobb is a Partner and Head of Department located in Manchesterin our Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning department

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