Claims to Estate Assets
When dealing with the administration of an estate it is relatively common for claims to be made to assets which would appear to be estate assets.
A detailed consideration of the types of claims that can (and often are) made is beyond the scope of this website but they can include claims such as:-
- Claims to have purchased assets from the deceased prior to their death; and
- Claims that assets pass directly to a third party contrary to the terms of a will by reason of survivorship. This is typically the case where there is property that was jointly owned by the deceased with others:
- Claims that the deceased made promises to third parties to give particular assets to them and where it is said those promises were then relied on by the third parties to their detriment. Claims of this type are often argued in terms that the administrator of the estate cannot deny promises made by the deceased or it may be argued that the assets are only held by the estate under the terms of a trust for the benefit of the third party.
For claims of these types it is important to obtain legal advice on the merits of the claims intimated against the estate.
It is important to seek the agreement of the beneficiaries to any intended course of action should proceedings be intimated against the estate. The agreement of all beneficiaries is obtained or directions from the Court on how to proceed with the claims there is a risk of personal liability to the personal representatives for the costs of the proceedings and a risk of liability to the beneficiaries for breach of duty. For information on when to seek directions from the Court please see here.