Punitive costs orders for executors who fail to lodge accounts or perform their duties
The Administration of Estates Act, 1965 (“the Act”) provides that if an executor fails to lodge any account with the Master as and when required to by the Act or to lodge any voucher or vouchers in support of such account or any entry therein, in accordance with any provision of or a requirement imposed under the Act or to perform any other duty imposed upon him by the Act or to comply with any reasonable demand of the Master for information or proof required by him in connection with the liquidation or distribution of the estate, the Master or any person having an interest in the liquidation and distribution of the estate may, after giving the executor not less than one month’s notice, apply to the Court for an order directing the executor to lodge such account or voucher or vouchers in support thereof or of any entry therein or to perform such duty or to comply with such demand.
The costs adjudged to the Master or to such person shall, unless otherwise ordered by the Court, shall be payable by the executor, de bonis propriis.
Professional indemnity policies generally exclude costs de bonis propriis which means the executor will have to pay these costs out of his own pocket.
Jacqui Smith (LLB)