Losing a loved one is traumatising and stressful.

Many beneficiaries appear confused over what rights they have.

Beneficiaries should be kept informed by the executors (the persons responsible for the administrating the estate of the deceased), on the progress of the administration.

Their role is to collect in the deceased’s assets and to distribute them in accordance with the will. Certain persons cannot act as executors; including minors, someone lacking mental capacity, or a former spouse/civil partner.

It is usual for the administration of an estate to take up to a year – often referred to as the “executor’s year”. It can take longer with a difficult to sell asset and /or more complex estates. Executors must generally provide beneficiaries with an explanation where there is a delay of over a year.

As a beneficiary you do not have an automatic right to know every detail of the progress of the estate. However, the executors have a duty to act in good faith. You are entitled to receive a copy of an inventory and account.

If you believe that an executor has failed to adhere to the wishes of the deceased or failed in their duty of acting in good faith you may be entitled to challenge the executor.

You may wish to pursue the executor personally if you experience financial loss in your inheritance due to their actions / omissions or even apply to court to have them removed.