What to do when an Executor of a Will has died?
1 August 2019 by Natasha Swift
When someone dies leaving a Will, they usually appoint Executors within their Will who are given the responsibility of obtaining a Grant of Probate and administering the deceased estate.
Most people will appointment more than one executor or have substitutes to cover the possibility that the other executor/s are unable or unwilling to act and therefore in those circumstances, the responsibility will fall on the remaining executor/s.
Under the Non – Contentious Probate Rules 1987 (NCPR 1987), Rule 20 (a) gives the executors the greatest entitlement to apply for a Grant of Probate.
However, what happens when all the executors named are unwilling to act due to revoking their power, or are unable to act due to lack of capacity, or have died themselves?
Firstly, it must be established whether Probate was obtained prior to the executor’s death?
If this was the case and any living Executors refused to exercise their responsibility and the deceased Executor held a will then the ‘Chain of Representation’ will take effect. This will mean that, the Executor of the deceased Executor will have the responsibility of administering the estate of the original deceased person thus by default also becoming their Executor. If the deceased executor did not hold a will then the Non – Contentious Probate Rules 1987 (R.20) must be followed.
If Probate was not obtained and all Executors are unable or unwilling to act as Executor, then again the Non – Contentious Probate Rules 1987 (R.20) must be followed.
Rules 20 (b) to (f) address the priority of entitlement where there is an ineffective appointment of executors and categorises, in order of rank those with greatest entitlement to the Grant of Probate based on the deceased Will.
Each Will would have to be looked at on a case by case basis to establish that following the ineffective appointment of Executors who would be entitled to apply for the Grant of Probate and ultimately be responsible for administering the estate.
If Fisher Jones Greenwood can assist you in the planning of your future and the drafting of your Will, then please contact us on 01206 700113 or email [email protected] to arrange a mutually convenient appointment.
Find out more about what to do when someone dies in our information sheet here.
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