I am a sole executor. What information should I give to residuary beneficiaries?

I am a sole executor dealing with the administration of an estate where there are two residuary beneficiaries. What information should I provide to them? Would the position differ if there were only lay executors dealing with the administration?

As soon as practicable after ascertaining who the residuary beneficiaries are, inform them of their interest in the estate.

Give an estimate of the time frame for the administration of the estate and any time constraints that will affect this and give an explanation of the frequency of communication.

You should clearly explain in writing to all residuary beneficiaries the basis of charging and all likely disbursements, making it clear whether charges are calculated only on a time basis and/or include a value element.

Where there are lay executors, you may wish to agree with them the information to be given to residuary beneficiaries and advise them on what is appropriate.

This will depend on factors such as the beneficiaries' status and relationship to the deceased, the nature of the questions and the likely costs which would be involved in dealing with them.

It is important to provide information to them as the Legal Ombudsman will accept complaints from residuary beneficiaries of an estate even though they are not clients of the firm.

For more information,  see the Probate Practitioner's Handbook (8th edition).


While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.

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