What happens if an executor dies?

If an executor of a Will dies before the person who made the Will, then it is down to any other named executors to take on the responsibility of administering the estate. If the testator (the one who made the Will) only appointed one executor, then it is a good idea to draft a new Will. If the testator has died and therefore is unable to amend the Will, then different rules apply depending on when the executor dies. 

What happens if the executor dies whilst administering the estate?

If the executor dies when the deceased’s estate is being administered when assets are being collected and distributed to the beneficiaries, then if there are no other executors in place, the beneficiaries will need to refer to the deceased executor’s Will. The executors named in the original executor’s Will have the responsibility to administer both estates, this is known as the “chain of representation”.

However, once the estate is at the stage of being administered, this means that the executor has already applied for probate to give them the authority to gather and distribute the assets in the estate. Therefore, the new executor will need to revoke the original grant of probate and make a new application to give them permission to administer the estate instead. 

If no Will was left by the original executor, then the Non-Contentious Probate Rules (NCPR) 1987 will need to be referred to. This will determine who is able to administer the estate. For instance, the responsibility could fall to the beneficiaries. 
What if the executor dies before the grant of probate?

If an executor dies before the grant of probate has been made, then the Non-Contentious Probate Rules (NCPR) 1987 apply. This will outline who is responsible for administering the estate depending on the circumstances. For example, the role may go to any trustees under the Will or beneficiaries.

How can I best prepare in case an executor dies?

It is a good idea to name more than one person as your executor in your Will just in case something happens. You can choose up to four executors in your Will. The only potential problem this may cause is that all executors must act jointly and consent to any decisions made. This may cause complications when administering your estate because the executors may disagree or be difficult to contact to gain consent. You will also have to choose people who you know will work together well. It may be more feasible to choose two executors instead. 

When appointing executors, it is important to check that they are able to take on the role and responsibility of administering your estate and that they are in good health. You should also speak with the individuals first to ensure that they are happy to take on the responsibility and that they understand what must be done. 

How Can GloverPriest Help?

At GloverPriest, we provide friendly and transparent legal advice. If you would like further advice on your Will, please don’t hesitate to speak to one of our expert lawyers today. Complete our enquiry form. 

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