Three executors in dispute over their mother’s will

A man who looked after his mother in the years before her death has been removed as an executor of her will following legal action by his two brothers.

The man was the woman’s younger son. He had lived with her and cared for her, along with two full-time carers, for several years. He continued to live in the house after his mother died.

His brothers sought to administer a will made in 1971 in which all three sons had been appointed executors and were equal beneficiaries.

They also sought to remove the younger son as an executor, saying he had refused to sign paperwork, or otherwise co-operate, unless he was given a greater share of the estate.

The older brothers alleged that he had used their mother’s money to pay himself for looking after her and to make a loan to a third party under power of attorney.

The younger son denied the claims and said he deserved a greater share of the estate because there had been an implied contract with his mother that he should be recompensed for the years of caring for her. During that time, he had been restricted in his ability to earn an income from his freelance writing.

He also alleged that the mother had made a later will leaving all of her estate to him.

The judge found in favour of the two elder brothers. The court was unable to determine whether the second will existed and although there was no evidence that the younger son had done anything wrong, his potential claim for compensation gave rise to a conflict of interest with his role as an executor.

The judge added that the younger son’s interests would still need to be protected and that a solicitor with no connection to the family must be nominated as an executor.

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Case featured:

HEATH v HEATH (2018)
Ch D (Carr J) 17/01/2018