An executor appointed by a will or a person entitled to apply for grant of letters of administration (i.e. a personal representative), is not legally obliged to accept the role and can renounce their right to act. Sometimes however, the personal representative refuses to act but does not renounce. In such cases, a person with an interest in the estate can issue a citation (the citor). A citation can be one of three types:
- Citation requiring the personal representative to take a grant of representation.
- Citation requiring the personal representative to accept or refuse a grant.
- Citation requiring the personal representative to propound a will or other testamentary document.
Citation to take a grant
Where the person entitled to apply for the grant has intermeddled with the testator's estate, but has not proved the will within six months of the testator's death, he/she may be cited to show cause why he/she should not be ordered to take a grant by any other person with an interest in the testator's estate.
Citation to accept or refuse a grant
Any person who would be entitled to apply for the grant, but for the person with a prior right of entitlement, can cite that person with a prior right to accept or refuse a grant. This form of citation is normally necessary where a person with prior right of entitlement delays applying for a grant but will not renounce his/her right to it.
Citation to propound a will or other testamentary document
Any person with an interest in any estate under the intestacy rules or an earlier will to that being admitted to probate can cite the executors and all persons interested under a later will to propound that will, i.e. to take the necessary steps to prove its validity.
How do I issue a citation?
A caveat must be entered by the citor before a citation can be issued. The citor must swear an affidavit of fact to verify each claim in the citation and the draft affidavit and citation must be settled by a district judge or registrar. There is a fee for settling the draft citation.
The citation must be served personally on the person cited, unless the district judge or registrar agrees to some other method of service. The person cited has eight days from service in which to respond to the citation (known as entering an appearance).
What happens next?
Citation to take a grant of representation
Where a citation is to take a grant of representation and the citee enters an appearance, he/she may apply for an order that a grant be made to him.
Where an appearance is entered by the citee but he takes no further action within a reasonable time thereafter, the citor may apply for an order that the citee may apply for a grant within a specific period, or that in default therefore the grant be made to the citor or any other specified person.
If no appearance is entered to the citation and the time for doing so has expired, the citor may seek an order that the citee do take a grant within a specified time, or for an order that the grant be made to himself/herself or any other specified person.
Citation to accept or refuse a grant
Where the citation is to accept or refuse a grant and the citee enters an appearance and is willing to take a grant, he may apply for an order that the grant be made to him.
If the citee does not enter an appearance or enters an appearance but does not proceed, the citor may apply for an order for a grant to himself/herself.
Where the citee renounces his right, an application for a grant may be made by the citor (if so entitled), without taking any further steps in the citation proceedings.
Citation to propound the will or other testamentary document
Where the citation is to propound the will or other testamentary document and the citee does not enter an appearance, the citor may apply for an order for a grant as if the testamentary document sought to be propounded were invalid.
Where the citee enters an appearance but does not proceed, the citor may apply for an order that the grant be made to the person entitled as if the document sought to be propounded were invalid.
If you would like advice on challenging a will, or indeed on any other inheritance or trust dispute, please contact our Disputed Wills, Trusts and Estates Team by telephone on +44 (0)1884 203 018 or FREEPHONE 0800 0931336 or by email email@example.com.