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What Is a Citation? Definition, Uses and Importance.

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A citation is legally served to a will executor to act after the death of a testator. If he or she fails to act as soon as possible, they are removed as the will executor and the court replaces them with a more willing individual. 

The new executor, in turn, applies for a grant of probate for the beneficiaries of the deceased. To be qualified for the issuance of a citation, the court will need to confirm that the citor has an interest in the estate. They also need to be sure that the testamentary documents of the estate are in actual possession of the will executor.

Also, the executor must receive the citation in person. After the executor receives the citation, he or she has a maximum of 14 days to reply. 

The executor can delay the estate administration process due to certain factors like fraudulent behaviors, family politics, and a host of other unavoidable delays. Check out all you need to know about the powers of your executor.

During the creation process, the person who has filed the citation is known as “the citor” while the person being served is referred to as the “citee”

Why is Citation Important?

Citation is important because it allows the beneficiaries to take actions against them and ensure that they are allowed to apply or receive probate grants when due. 

Did you know you could also receive your inheritance even before the probate process is concluded? See how you can do that.

How is Citation Structured?

After being served a citation, the executor has three available options to act on:

  • Apply for a probate grant
  • Write a statement or explain to the court why the beneficiaries are yet to apply for the grant or received the grants (if they have applied for it). or,
  • They can simply renounce their position as the will executor.

To start the citation process, the executor must have issued a caveat that prevents the probate grant from being issued. Then, the beneficiaries will draft a citation, prepare and register it with the district probate registry. The documents must contain the will, the witness’s statement to support the application, other necessary documents, and a fee of at least £12.00.

The primary reason for the citation is to state the reasons for the interest of the party issuing the citation. 

After the documentation, the court goes ahead to serve the executor the citation in person. The affidavit of service follows suit – it must be filed in the probate registry to signify that the citee has been served the citation.

The citee has a specific number of days to show up in the district probate registry.

Lifespan Of Citation

Usually, an executor will be given 14 days to act upon the citation that they have been served. This does not indicate that they must apply for a probate grant immediately after being served the citation. Rather, it means that they need to take action in a way to encourage progress and the distribution of the deceased’s estate. 

If the major purpose of the citation is to force the executor to give the citor some of the testamentary documents, then they need to act within 14 days. 

If the citation is about the current status of the estate’s probate, then the timeframe is extended to six months from the day the executor was served a citation by the registry. The executor, however, needs to take the required action in 14 days after receiving the citation. 

How is Citation used?

As a will beneficiary, it is quite daunting to wait for the will executor to show up and fulfill the terms of the “grant of probate” application. If you are unlucky, your executor might be one of those who wait and delay the application and distribution process on time – they fail to start and complete all the necessary actions. 

Once the executor is starting to show signs of delay and incompetency, beneficiaries are bound to lose faith and the ability to move on with the entire process. In this case, a citation is used by most people to correct the occurrence and make sure that the executor accounts for the delays. 

Synonyms for Citation

Citation can also be called summon.

What will happen if the citee doesn’t take action after receiving a citation?

If the citee doesn’t show up at the registry even after receiving a citation, the citor can file for an order asking that the citee removes the grant within a specific time. In other cases, they can file a court order to apply for the grant of probate themselves.

Also, the citor has the right to move a motion that the executor be permanently removed for failing to live up to the expectations of the beneficiaries.

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