In a recent case, a widow drafted her own will using a shop-bought form, leaving her estate (valued at around £300,000) to her son and daughter equally and appointing them her joint executors. The widow disliked the legal profession and insisted before her death that lawyers should play no part in the administration of her estate. However, in the absence of independent advice, the administration had not progressed at all due to the siblings’ inability to see eye to eye and work together. Almost four years after she died, the siblings fought it out at the High Court and ran up legal costs bills estimated at £40,000.
Criticising their constant bickering, the Court found that there had been a complete breakdown of trust and communication between them. In the circumstances, the Court took the unusual step of removing both of them as executors of the will. If the siblings could not agree on their replacements, the Court would appoint independent executors to push forward the administration of their mother’s estate.