Executor’s duties in a Family Provision Application
Executors have a number of duties when dealing with estates that are the subject of a Family Provision Application. These duties include:
- a duty not to distribute the estate after notice of an application has been given;
- a duty to uphold the terms of the will;
- a duty to maximise the estate – including a duty to compromise proper claims on the estate and not to allow a position where there is no commercial benefit to the parties involved;
- a duty to assist the court generally, and
- a duty to represent beneficiaries whose interests coincide with the duty to uphold the will.
An executor who distributes the estate after notice of a claim (or before the six and nine month time limits have expired), may be ordered to personally pay any award made in favour of the applicant. Most executors wish to avoid this possibility and so distributions in most estates do not occur until at least 6 months from the date of death.