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What is an executor of a will?

An executor of a will is an individual who has been appointed to take responsibility of someone’s estate in the event of their death.

Your estate is everything that you own at the date of your death. This can be anything from money, your house to a car, pet or even smaller items like a piece of jewellery.

Executors will then take on the responsibility of carrying out the deceased individuals last wishes, making sure they are fulfilled. This will include making sure everyone who has been identified as a ‘beneficiary’ of the estate, receives their inheritance.

What does an executor of a will have to do?

Following the person's death the executor must deal with a number of matters concerning the estate. These issues will include:

  • Establishing any special directions by the deceased as to how they wish to be laid to rest or if they wish for their body to be donated for medical research
  • Collecting all of their assets
  • Evaluate the size of the estate and the amount of any liability to inheritance tax
  • Paying outstanding debts incurred by the deceased
  • Making sure the will is filed in the appropriate court
  • Setting up a bank account for the estate
  • Identify the beneficiaries and the nature and extent of their entitlement
  • Keeping the assets safe until they can be distributed to the right people.
  • Paying the final income taxes

Who is usually an executor of a will?

The executor of your will can be anyone you see fit and competent to take on the responsivity of handing your estate. This can include a firm of solicitors.

If you appoint a spouse or civil partner and the marriage or civil partnership ends, their time as your executor will also desist unless you otherwise state so within the will.

Why do I need an executor of a will?

If your will does not mention an executor, then one of the beneficiaries will have to step forward as a personal representative of the estate. If it cannot be decided who will be the personal representative then the probate court will appoint someone to be your personal representative. There are a list of priorities a court will take into consideration when appointing this person and it may not result in being the individual you would have chosen.

How do you appoint an executor of a will?

Executors are appointed by stating their name in a valid will. Before appointing the person in the legal document you should notify them to make sure that they are happy to be appointed and that their contact details are up to date.

What can I do if there is a dispute over the executor of a will? Can I challenge it?

A solicitor can help you try and resolve a dispute informally, keeping it out of court. If disputes cannot be informally resolved then executors may apply to the court for directions. The court has the power to revoke or issue a grant in favour of one executor over the other.

If the beneficiaries are not satisfied with the executors dealing with the estate the court can, in extreme cases, cause the executor to be replaced. If there are two or more, the court may decide to terminate one or more but not all of the executors.

Precious Igbokwe is an associate solicitor in our wills team at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in London.

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They formed pressure groups, organised petitions, marched and took physical action in their fight for equality.

Yet it still took another ten years for them to get the vote on the same terms as men.
Forty years after that, in 1968, it was the strike by the sewing machinists at Ford Dagenham that led to the Equal Pay Act in 1970.

There’s no doubting there have been many achievements in the battle for gender equality over the years and we’ve certainly come a long way.

But sadly, while inequalities were obvious 100 years ago – women knew they had a poor deal with no right to vote - the struggle isn’t over and the fight for many of us nowadays is to banish more insidious forms of discrimination and inequality.

From shining a light on the gender pay gap and sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace, it’s important to keep the dialogue going and remind women that being treated the same as their male counterparts is a right and not a privilege.
While the law can provide a framework for equality, what we need is real equality that matters on a day to day basis.

We need to tackle unconscious bias and stereotyping, which often starts at early age in our school years.

For example, the subjects that girls are often encouraged to take and study, and the career paths that they are encouraged to follow, and more importantly it is how women are perceived in the workplace once they decide to have children.

Today, women have the right to request flexible working. They don’t have a guaranteed right to work flexibly. More often than not, it is a woman who sacrifices her career to raise children or take on caring responsibilities.

Whilst the last 50 years have seen the women’s movement push through The Sex Discrimination Act making it illegal to discriminate against women in work, education and training and The Equal Opportunities Commission came into effect to oversee the Equal Pay Act and Sex Discrimination Act, there is still much more we need to achieve.
Today is certainly a day to celebrate how far we’ve come but it is imperative that we continue the fight. 

Equal Rights for Women | What needs to change for an equal workplace? - YouTube

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Why did the KFC restaurants run out of chicken?

The great chicken crisis was caused by the failure of new delivery contractor DHL to get the chicken out through its distribution networks in time. This caused up to £1 million per day of damage to the company and its franchisees. KFC recently changed its delivery contract from Bidvest to DHL in an attempt to cut costs. The GMB Union has claimed that the crisis has arisen as a result of the attempt by DHL to run its delivery service out of a single distribution centre.

It has been reported that the employees who are generally on zero hours contracts will be compensated by KFC as a result. This may not have been the case if this was not so heavily publicised in the media. The question is where does this leave francisees who are left at a loss as a result of the decisions of KFC which they had no control over?

What was the impact on KFC Franchisees?

The crisis also demonstrates the dependence of franchisees on their parent company for support. Franchisee agreements are often standard form documents that are heavily weighted towards the parent company.

KFC franchise owners are asked to put up as much as £1 million cash up front to run a franchise and then hand over up to 10 per cent of their revenue to KFC. The franchisee is then completely reliant on their parent for essential services such as marketing, training and, of course, chicken delivery.

That arrangement can leave franchisees exposed if something further up the chain or beyond their control goes wrong. In this case, it’s difficult to put an exact figure on the financial cost suffered by the failure to deliver chicken over a week, but each franchisee impacted is likely to be nursing significant losses.

If 555 stores were closed on Monday 19 February 2018, this means the total losses might reach as high as £1million for that day. Some estimates put the cost as high as £2,000 per day, per franchise.

What can franchisees do to be compensated for the loss of earnings?

Many franchisees will now be wondering what, if any, action they can take against their parent company for this debacle. Crucially, the answer will lie in the franchisee agreement.

While franchisee agreements often favour the franchisor, there can be scope for franchisees to take action or seek redress in the event of a crisis. Franchise agreements will set out very carefully who is responsible for which part of the process of getting chicken from the farm to the customer, so check yours to see if you are entitled to compensation if there is a delivery failure by a KFC or a contractor.

It is also worth checking if KFC have ‘indemnified’ you for any losses that are caused by the failures of their contractors. Check any indemnity clauses to see if this is the case in your agreement. You may be able to claim compensation for breach of contract. If you are not sure and would like a lawyer to look at this confidentially please get in touch for an initial free consultation.

The jokes about these chickens having trouble crossing the road might make great twitter material, but for 900 franchisees out there, the KFC chicken crisis is not a joke.

If you are a KFC franchisee who has suffered as a result of the KFC chicken shortage and would like to confidentially investigate the possibility of seeking compensation you should call the team at Slater and Gordon lawyers who will work with you to see if we can fight for this on your behalf. For an initial free consultation call [[CallbackNumber]] or contact us online

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However, new technology could be helping to reduce accident rates. According to research conducted by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and JATO Dynamics, the increasing use of driver assistance systems is helping to make the roads safer. Accidents down by 10% in five years

The study suggested that nearly seven in 10 new cars in the UK (66.8%) are available with at least one self-activating safety feature, such as autonomous emergency braking systems, blind spot sensors and parking assistance. These systems help to mitigate driver mistakes, thus reducing the risk of a wide range of accidents.

Nearly 1.8 million vehicles a year are now available with warning systems designed to prevent collisions, while over half of new cars (53.1%) are available with autonomous emergency brakes.

Alongside these advances in vehicle safety systems, the rate of road accidents has been falling. Figures cited by the SMMT show that road accidents in the UK have dropped by nearly 10% since 2012. The organisation suggested this decline is set to continue as car manufacturers strive to create increasingly sophisticated systems to enhance safety.

A report by SMMT and KPMG released in 2015 claimed that automated safety systems and self-driving vehicle technology could lead to a reduction in the number of serious accidents of 25,000 and a reduction in fatalities of 2,500 a year by 2030.

Safety the ‘number one priority’ for car manufacturers

Commenting on this trend, chief executive of the SMMT Mike Hawes said: “Safety is the number one priority for vehicle manufacturers and the pace of technological change is faster than ever before, with driver assistance technologies now available on the majority of vehicles.”

He went on to say that while completely autonomous cars may still be some way off, millions of drivers are already benefiting from technology that’s helping to make the roads a safer place to be.

Basic safety tips

Although improvements in vehicle technology might be reducing the level of danger, it’s essential that you don’t fall into the trap of becoming complacent about safety when you’re on the roads. For example, it pays to bear the following pointers in mind:

  • Never use a handheld mobile behind the wheel. This is illegal and could result in you receiving six penalty points on your licence and a £200 fine. You may also be taken to court, where you could get a driving ban and be fined £1,000. Even though using hands-free phones is permitted, don’t use these devices in situations where they may distract you and pose a danger.
  • Stick to sensible speeds. Did you know that a pedestrian is twice as likely to be killed if they’re hit by a vehicle travelling at 35mph than one travelling at 30mph?
  • Don’t drive tired. Fatigue really does cause accidents on the roads. In fact, research commissioned by the Department for Transport found that around one in six crashes resulting in injury and death on A roads and motorways are related to fatigue. If you start to feel tired when you’re behind the wheel, take a break. You should also plan to stop every couple of hours for at least 15 minutes if you’re on a long journey.
  • To give yourself time to react when you’re driving, make sure you leave a minimum of a two second gap between your car and the vehicle in front.
  • Pay extra attention when you’re driving near schools, buses and ice cream vans. Children often behave impulsively around roads and they may appear without warning.
  • Make sure you wear your seatbelt at all times when in a car even if you’re in the rear of the vehicle. In a collision, a rear passenger who isn’t wearing a seatbelt can seriously injury the front seat passenger or driver.
  • Ensure you’re always aware of what’s happening around you when you’re driving, and use your mirrors regularly.
Making a personal injury claim

Even if you’re careful, there’s always a risk that you’ll suffer an accident on the roads. If you’ve experienced an injury and you believe someone else was partly or fully to blame, you may be able to make a road traffic accident claim. You can seek compensation if you suffered an injury while driving, as a passenger or a pedestrian, or if you were riding a bike, motorbike or horse at the time of accident.

The personal injury solicitors at Slater and Gordon can advise if you have a case for compensation. Simply call us on on freephone [[CallbackNumber]] or contact us online to find out more. The majority of our road traffic accident claims (98%) are funded on a No Win, No Fee basis, meaning you don’t have to risk your finances to pursue justice.

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