Probate and Will, Trust & Estate Disputes

Comprehensive assistance offered to executors who were penalised for their conduct in a 1975 Act claim

Our clients were joint Executors of a multi-million pound estate which consisted of company shares and a property portfolio. The estate had previously been the subject of multiple Inheritance Act claims, which were unsuccessfully opposed by the Executors, and cost orders had been made against the estate as a result of the litigation as well as under Part 36. Personal costs orders had also been made against the Executors for their conduct in the litigation.

The Executors required assistance with settling the ongoing administration of the estate as well as negotiating and structuring payment of the various litigant costs. We were able to take over the estate administration from the existing advisors and advise the executors on how best to raise funds for meeting the significant cost orders. Matters had been complicated by the imposition of payment deadlines and interest penalties which, given the value of the estate was tied up in capital assets which could not easily be sold, made a number of options commercially unworkable.

In a joint effort between the Contentious Probate, Private Client team and Corporate and Commercial teams, we were able to tailor a suitable offer to settle the outstanding costs orders of the previous litigation, ensuring that the best interests of the estate, and that of the beneficiaries, remained protected.

A secondary claim was made for recovery of professional fees paid by the estate in association with the failed litigation, which mitigated the loss to the estate in meeting the costs liabilities.

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