Executor Dispute / Removal of Executor – Khan v Crossland [2011]

8 March, 2012
by: Cripps Pemberton Greenish

This case considered an executor dispute and the circumstances that are necessary in order to successfully seek the removal of an Executor under section 116 of the Senior Courts Act 1981.

In this case the beneficiaries were of full age and had full capacity. They were united in their desire for the executor to step down and they were in agreement as to the disposal of the deceased’s estate. The fact that the relationship between the executor and beneficiaries had also broken down was another relevant factor.

The defendant executors, who were a will writing firm appointed as executor and able to charge for the work undertaken, applied for the application to be struck out on the basis that for an executor to be removed they must have done something to disentitle themselves. They also claimed that the application was an abuse of process since it had been funded by a rival firm and pursued for an ulterior motive.

The court found in favour of the applicants and ordered the executors should be removed. The court’s discretion is wide and they stated that it was not necessary for an administrator to be discredited before an order for his removal could be made.

There was found to be no ulterior motive at work as the applicants had proceeded even when the indemnity that was in place with the rival firm ended. There was therefore no reason for the matter to be struck out.

The court found that the deceased had had no real connection with the executor and the relationship with the beneficiaries had broken down, and although these were not conclusive factors, all matters considered together allowed the court to find in favour of the applicants.

Please see our website for more information