Executor stole money meant for children's charity

Christopher MacKnight, aged 53, has been given a 27 month prison sentence for abusing his position as executor of his best friend's estate to steal money intended for a children's charity.

The Will of Derek Roberts stipulated that £133,000 of his estate should be given to Action For Children, a charity that works with vulnerable and neglected children. However, Mr MacKnight, who was named as the executor in the Will, transferred all the cash to his personal account and spent it all on new cars, paying off debts, and other luxuries. No money was ever passed to the children's charity, and Mr MacKnight evaded efforts by the charity to claim the money.

The theft was discovered because of the system in place to detect when a charitable legacy is not honoured. A confiscation order is being pursued so that the money owed to the charity can be recovered.

Lenore Rice, a solicitor specialising in Will writing and Probate at Wilson Nesbitt in Northern Ireland, commented:

"We have seen quite a few cases reported in the media recently about executors abusing their position of trust to steal from an estate. Most executors carry out their responsibilities earnestly, but this case and others like it highlight the need to choose your executors carefully.

"Having more than one executor, preferably people who are not related or otherwise connected, can help reduce the possibility of dishonesty as it builds in some accountability."

For information or advice about writing a Will, or in respect of another probate matter, contact one of the solicitors at Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast by calling 0800 840 9293, or submit your details online for a callback by clicking here.