Holding the PRs to account

Posted by Stephanie Walls, 17th August 2018
You know that you have been named as a beneficiary under a Will or are entitled under a relative’s intestacy. After the initial emotions experienced in learning this news have bedded in, you feel that you have been waiting for ages and ages to find out more. What exactly will you receive and when?

You have contacted the personal representatives (PRs) but are still waiting for information. As a beneficiary you are entitled to request an account from the PRs which they should properly provide within a reasonable period. Lay PRs cannot rely upon the excuse that they are not familiar with producing accounts: they can, if necessary, instruct a solicitor or accountant to assist them.

You should always in the first instance contact the PRs (or their solicitors) direct but if you are getting nowhere then there are two main courses open to you.

1. You can make an application under the Non Contentious Probate Rules to the Probate Registry for an appointment at which you may request that the Registrar make an order requiring the PRs to provide what is known as an inventory and account (what the estate consists of and a summary explanation of what the PRs have been doing in the administration of the estate). This is a relatively straight forward procedure and a cost effective method of compelling the PRs to provide information about the estate.

2. It is also possible to apply to the Court for an order requiring the PRs to produce and provide accounts. This is a more costly exercise and is more likely to be appropriate in circumstances where you are seeking some other type of remedy from the Court as well, for example, the replacement of the PRs. There are also more significant costs risks in pursuing this route.

The Contentious Probate and Trusts team at Blake Morgan is available to provide advice to you on this and on other aspects of estates and trusts.

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