Probate and Will, Trust & Estate Disputes

Publish date

11 January 2018

Independent administrator service

Independent administration is a service solicitors and families can use when there are recalcitrant executors, intractable differences of opinion or contested wills combined with a need to protect an element or the whole of a deceased’s estate

This service is best used in an estate where; the parties concerned just do not agree or are contesting the will, where the executors have either not acted at all or acted improperly and confidence has been lost, where there are estate assets at risk that need to be preserved and bills to pay that are accruing on a daily basis?


Mr and Mrs X died several years apart. Mr X’s estate passed to Mrs X and Mrs X’s estate was contested following a long running dispute between the family members which had begun during the deceased’s lifetime and which continued after death. In her latter years Mrs X had made Wills appointing one side of her family and then the other as sole executors and beneficiaries. Each side of the family asserted that the other Will was invalid on various grounds.

The estate included a property which was subject to a lifetime roll up mortgage and which was accruing management and service charges but little else was known by the parties’ solicitors at this stage. There was a serious risk that the debts would outweigh the value of the estate if a grant was not obtained and the property dealt with.

The dispute between the family members seemed intractable and after several years no agreement had been reached to allow an application for a grant of probate by any side of the family, leaving assets unknown, the property gradually falling into disrepair and the estate at risk because of the level of unpaid bills.

The solicitors acting for the parties put it to their clients that an alternative approach may be needed to safeguard the estate assets and approached Thomson Snell & Passmore as a neutral third party to obtain a grant ad colligenda bona (collection grant) to allow the property to be dealt with and outstanding bills paid pending the resolution of the dispute between the parties.

The parties agreed to this and following our appointment we have undertaken the following:

  • Investigated and ascertained the assets liabilities of the estate
  • Obtained a grant ad colligenda bona (collection grant)
  • Dealt with and settled a contentious claim for forfeiture of the lease of the property
  • Marketed and dealt with the sale of the property
  • Dealt with settling the immediate outstanding sums
  • Retained funds on account pending the outcome of the parties’ negotiations/court action as to the validity of the various wills in existence. Ensured that all parties have been fully updated and involved in actions taken and progress on the matter at all times.

Thomson Snell & Passmore Trust Corporation is able to assist in obtaining a grant ad colligenda bona to preserve assets within the estate and pay immediate debts or to deal with an estate or at any stage where there is a dispute between the parties, whether this is between potential beneficiaries or because beneficiaries have lost confidence in the executors or for some other reason.

We have experience in this type of matter and have experts who can provide assistance and support in all areas of an estate administration including:

  • Specialist probate administration team
  • Contentious probate administration team
  • Residential conveyancing team
  • Specialist commercial property team
  • Specialist agricultural property team
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