Saturday, November 22, 2014
Beneficiary and executor at a stalemate over signing of Release
Posted by Lynne Butler
"Is there a standard release form ? I have obtained one from my Estate lawyer and one of the beneficiaries will not sign - as the form states "Received" and her take is that she has not received the funds, so her lawyer has changed it to "to be received" and added in codicil items. I don't want to accept it with those changes, as it is not a clear release for me, as executor."
There is no standard release form for everyone. In each province and territory, there is a form of release included in the Rules of Court, and this form is supposed to be followed in order for the document to be suitable for filing in the court. However, it is well-accepted law and practice that all legal documents must be tailored to the individual situation. Lawyers are expected to make the documents fit the case, not the other way around.
The situation you're describing is one that I've encountered before. The beneficiary won't sign a document saying they've received something they haven't received, because they don't trust the executor to deliver the funds. The executor doesn't want to sign something saying that the funds are to be delivered because then there is nothing showing that the funds have been paid, and he doesn't trust the beneficiaries not to sue for the supposedly non-received money.
It's a stalemate if nobody is willing to take a leap of faith.
Parents who appoint one of the kids as executor should think about the dynamics between their children, because this lack of trust in each other manifests frequently between siblings.
The only way to protect everybody in this situation is for you to show up with a) the release that says the funds have been paid, and b) the cheque for the beneficiary. There is a simultaneous exchange. If you have to charge travel expenses or the estate lawyer charges additional legal fees to make this happen, it comes out of the general estate and all beneficiaries receive a little bit less.