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What does it mean to be an executor of a Will?

What is an executor of a Will?

An executor is someone named in a Will as responsible for sorting out the estate of the person who’s died.

The person who died will normally have told you if you’re an executor. You’ll need the original Will to apply for probate.

What if there’s more than one executor?

If more than one person is named as an executor, you must all agree who makes the application for probate.

There can be up to 4 executors named on the application.

If only one executor is named on the application they’ll need to prove that they tried to contact all executors named in the will before they applied.

You can contact your local probate registry if you’re having problems finding other executors.

A probate registry cannot help with disagreements between executors. You’ll need to find another way to reach an agreement – this could mean getting legal advice.

If you need help with any probate matter, give us a call on 0800 689 0923

What if I can’t be an executor?

The Will may name a replacement executor for someone who becomes ‘unwilling or unable’ to deal with the estate. We always suggest that you have at least 2 executors in mind when you make a Will.

What to do if you do not want to be an executor

You can do one of the following:

  • completely give up your right to apply for probate (‘renunciation’) – fill in a renunciation form and send it with the probate application form
  • reserve your right to apply for probate later if another executor cannot deal with the estate (holding ‘power reserved’)
  • appoint an attorney to act on your behalf – fill in an attorney form and send it with the probate application

We can advise you on the best course of action, and take care of any paperwork for you.

What is the executor is unable to apply for probate?

A replacement executor should apply for probate if the executor is unable to, for example because:

  • they’ve passed away
  • they do not have ‘mental capacity’ – get a doctor to fill in a mental capacity form and send it with the probate application

If you need help with applying for probate, or have any questions, please contact us today.


This article uses information from Gov.uk under the Open Government Licence 3.0.