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Role of Executor and being a beneficiary.

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I'm dual executor in my mum's will with a brother.

He has spent the two months since my mum passed arguing with everybody.

Saying he has had enough.

Hates us all.

Blocked me contacting him for two weeks.


I sorted my mum's funeral and paid for it.

He just walked away from any responsibility.


I started work on closing amenities etc.

Sorting out paper work.

We need to apply for probate.


I realise I need his signature and agreement to move forward.

I asked him directly what he wanted to do.

He said he wanted to remain executor.

I suggested he went and read up about what it meant. 


whilst he was sulking and off the scene.

My uncle was letting himself into the house and rummaging.

I can't prove anything but items remain misplaced at the moment.


I decided to remove the family photos, stamp collection and jewellery and take it to my house for safe keeping.

These things have been left for me in the will.

They have great sentimental value to me.


My brother is now back on the scene and is demanding I return them to the house as he didn't give permission.

He has eventually agreed to the locks being changed and we are looking to increase the insurance to cover a unoccupied house with belongings in situ properly. 


It bothers me greatly that firstly they are going to be left unattended and I also know that he wishes to secure some of the stamps himself.

Regardless of them being left to me. 


Am I legally in my right to refuse to return them or does everything in the house (regardless of what is written in the will) have to stay in situ till probate is awarded?


Thank you so much for any advice.





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I'm only speaking from personal experience on this and don't know all of the legal stuff. I removed things from my mother's house after she died and just told the other executor. Perhaps you could offer to share photos of what you have?


Does the empty dwelling insurance cover valuables? If not, that would help you. There's a website I used for advice who were great, I'll post a link later. On my phone atm. 



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i would certainly not, regardless of them being mentioned to whom by whom in any will

leave any valuable items in an empty house insured or not.


as an exec, you are duty bound to take all steps or actions you feel necessary, including removal, to safety secure such items.

i took everything out, documented it and stored it.

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All valuables should be removed from your late mother's house. Everything of value. One of the legal duties of an Executor is to protect and safeguard the Estate until it is passed to the benficiaries. This summary of that duty is from a solicitor's website, you'll find the same thing on most websites advising Executors:


...a point that is often overlooked is the executor’s duty to secure and protect estate property. This includes any house or other valuable items. Executors should ensure that property is insured (and that insurance remains valid while the property is empty). If not, the executor would be liable for the loss suffered by the estate if the property burnt down, was flooded or suffered damage in any other way. This is a critical point, and executors may find themselves having to pay insurance premiums out of their own pockets very early in the adminstration before they have gained access to estate funds. 


It's irrelevant who the valuables who have been left to. Executors are jointly and severally responsible responsible so you don't need his permission to remove them for safekeeping. You definitely do not have to leave the property in the house until probate is granted and you should not do so.


Re insurance. Almost certainly in an unoccupied house (a) the insurers will exclude valuables and (b) they may not cover theft. So insurance is not a substitute for removing valuables for safekeeping.


It's clearly going to be difficult if your brother is refusing to co-operate and the first step is to try and talk it through with him and agree how you can work together. For your mother's sake as much as yours. Would she have wanted you to work together? I'm sure she would as she made you joint executors.


Bear in mind that perhaps your brother is working through his grief, even if he isn't admitting that to you. That might be why he doesn't want anything to change at your mother's house yet?


Read up on line about submitting Probate. They switched to an electronic system and that + covid have resulted in some extensive delays in Probate being granted.



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Hi Charlie and welcome to CAG


As an Executor, you have a duty to insure the property and tell the currect insurer of the passing of the deceased.


Most insurers will refuse normal contents cover on a house left unoccupied beyond 60 days. So, unoccupied, the home will not be insured against break-in damage, theft, flood, accidental damage, etc.


You may be able to obtain FLEE insurance covering only Fire, Lightening, Explosion and Earthquake. It may cost more than usual contents cover  because the home is unoccupied, even though the level/amount of cover is less than for an occupied home.


As said here already, an Executor would be wise (or indeed have a duty) to remove valuables from the home if you have somewhere safer to store them pending Probate, distribution, sale, etc.


I hope if you can explain the insurance risks to YB and assure him that you are not taking items just for your own benefit, he may see sense.


Please keep us updated ............

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How to remove an executor of a will | The Gazette


"...before you issue an application to court to remove a problematic executor, it is important to try and resolve the issues without court intervention, which should be treated as a last resort."


And it will cost money and the application may be unsuccessful - it needs to be more than just the other executor not co-operating


"An attempt by the beneficiaries to remove the executor is not an easy application. The beneficiaries must prove serious misbehaviour before the court will even consider forcing an executor to step down. In general, the courts will only remove an executor if the beneficiaries can show the following:

  1. the executor has become disqualified since the deceased appointed him
  2. the executor is incapable of performing his duties
  3. the executor is unsuitable for the position."
Edited by Ethel Street
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