INXS, internationally very famous, well-known rock band. Following the death of their lead singer in ’97, the band still wanted to continue, but they didn’t just rush out and find the immediate successor for Michael Hutchence.
What they did is they put someone in temporarily who was capable of doing the job, who knew all their songs and could see it through until they finally found the one true successor.
How’s that relevant to what I’m talking about today? Well, when someone dies, it’s not a given that their “Will” will be the final Will. There might be multiple Wills. Someone might say, “I have the valid Will. I am the true executor.” Another person might say, “I have an earlier Will. Your Will is invalid. I’m the true executor.”
Then there’s a contested estate, an argument over what is the valid Will and therefore, who is the true executor. Now, until the court grants probate to either of those parties, neither of them has the authority to administer the estate, call in assets, sell properties, things like that. However, there may be a need for that administration to go on whilst this litigation is happening, because these cases might take one or two years or more.
There could be properties lying dormant. There might be need to collect rents or tenant properties, close bank accounts, things like that. In that instance where there’s no authorised person, the court can appoint what’s known as a temporary executor pending the end of the litigation and that’s called pendente lite. Administrator pendente lite. Why does it sound like a Harry Potter spell? It’s Latin and it means pending the outcome of the litigation.
Where there is an instance, and this person knows they’re not the forever ever executor, they know they’re just there for the purpose of seeing things through until the true executor is appointed either by agreement between the parties or by an order of the court. When there’s an instance of conflicting parties and conflicting Wills, subject to litigation, an independent administrator can be appointed, pendente lite.
I hope this has been of some use today. Talk again next time.
Turnbull Hill Lawyers, and specifically Adrian Corbould and Mary Windeyer, have been named in the prestigious 2023 Doyles Guide. Both were also listed in the 2022, 2021, 2020 and 2019 guides.