How Many Executors Can I Appoint In My Will And Will They All Have To Apply For Probate?
Posted on 18th May 2020
Quite often in Wills, people will appoint more than one Executor. This isn’t just because they have more than one person they would want to act and they can’t choose, there can also be practical reasons for appointing more than one Executor. In our latest blog, our Probate Solicitors in Lancaster explain how many Executors can be appointed in a Will, how they would act together, and whether all of them need to apply for Probate after you’ve died.
What Is An Executor?
An Executor (or Executors, if more than one person is appointed) is the person appointed by the Testator (the person making the Will) to deal with their Estate after they have passed away. This person has the legal authority to deal with the deceased’s affairs (such as selling property, paying any liabilities and dealing with the funeral) and ensure that their Estate is dealt with legally and fully.
Who Can I Appoint As My Executors?
Quite simply, you can appoint whoever you want as your Executor, providing that they are over the age of 18 and have mental capacity themselves.
However, practically, you will want to think about what the role of an Executor is (which you can read about in our Probate Solicitors in Lancaster’s blog, here) and whether the person you are choosing is ‘fit’ for the role, so to speak. Now, we’re not talking about physically (although, if the Executors are clearing your house, this attribute may be slightly beneficial!); your Executors should be able to carry out your wishes contained in your Will, and ensure that they are legally able to finalise your affairs correctly. Of course, there’s nothing stopping your Executors from contacting our team who specialise in Probate to assist them with the administration of your Estate.
You may feel that you don’t want anyone you know dealing with your Estate, in which case you may decide to appoint a professional Executor, such as our team of Probate Solicitors in Lancaster, Longridge (Preston) or Garstang.
How Many Executors Can I Appoint In My Will?
Any local solicitors for Wills who are worth their salt will always advise their Wills clients to appoint at least two Executors.
There’s a number of reasons for this:
1) If any of your beneficiaries are minors, two Trustees will be required to make decisions about your Estate on their behalf. This helps to protect the minor, and acts as a ‘checks and balances’ system. Unless you decide to specifically name separate Trustees, our local solicitors for Wills would include a clause in your Will appointing your Executors to be your Trustees. However, we could discuss this with you in more depth during our initial consultation.
2) If you only appoint one Executor, and they are unable to act (for example, if they predecease you, or they become ill), you could be left without an Executor. In which case, the process of obtaining a Grant of Probate could take longer, and could be more costly for your beneficiaries.
3) Obtaining Probate and dealing with a person’s Estate can, in some cases, be a time consuming and long process. Therefore, if there’s more than one Executor, it can take the pressure off one individual, as the work load can be shared equally between them.
4) As an Executor of an Estate, a person has a duty to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries. Therefore, if there is more than one Executor appointed, it can alleviate the pressure off one Executor, as they are able to run any decisions that they may have to make by another person.
So, although our team of local solicitors for Wills would advise appointing more than one person, how many Executors should you appoint?
The simple answer is that you can appoint up to four. However, this isn’t always necessarily the most advisable option (as having four Executors can, in some cases, be more complicated): you should always consult a local solicitor for Wills before deciding how many Executors to appoint. You can contact our team online, here, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will All My Executors Need To Apply For Probate?
Our Probate Solicitors in Lancaster would usually assess each matter on a case-by-case basis. If all the Executors live close-by and can all act alongside each other easily, then all of them could apply for Probate. If the Executors all live on other sides of the country (or world), it may best that one of them applies for Probate, to make the administration of the Estate easier. Legally, it’s not necessary for all of the named Executors to be involved.
If one Executor is applying on behalf of all of the named Executors, the application for Probate can be made with power reserved to the other Executors not named on the application. This way, the Executors who have not applied can always become involved further down the line if it’s required.
Alternatively, if an Executor absolutely does not wish to act, they can ‘renounce’ as Executor (i.e. they give up their right to act as Executor and apply for probate in the future).
Our team of Probate Solicitors in Lancaster could advise you on how it’s best for the Executors to apply for probate.
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