Often clients will want their lawyer to act as the executor of their will. While most lawyers honestly and faithfully act in that capacity, unfortunately there have been a number of instances where the conduct of the lawyer has left much to be desired.
Generally when a lawyer is appointed to act as executor, it is when there is no close family member able to carry out that role. That can lead to a lack of oversight and accountability, particularly where there is no co-executor. It can also mean that lawyers’ rates are being charged for a lot of basic work, such as sorting through possessions and mail.
These situations can give rise to overcharging. In a recent matter, we acted for a client making a claim to the Law Society fidelity fund to recover quite significant overcharges made by a lawyer in the administration of an estate. Of over $42,000 charged by the lawyer and deducted from money paid into the lawyer’s trust account in the estate, over $30,000 was accepted to be in excess of an appropriate fee, and this was compensated by the fund. In other words, over $42,000 was charged for work accepted to be worth around $12,000.
Our wills and estate lawyers recommend that there are two executors if it is intended to appoint a lawyer as one. For further information, look at our page https://www.qbmlawyers.com.au/estate-lawyers-gold-coast/who-should-be-the-executor-of-my-will/