You may already have known that you were appointed as an executor under a Will, or it may have come as a surprise to you. It is often a long time between someone making their Will appointing executors and their subsequent death- circumstances may have changed a lot in that time, and acting as an executor is a considerable undertaking (see our article HERE).
So, what are your options?
You can take up the appointment and act as executor
This will usually mean applying for (and being named on) the Grant of Probate and dealing with the administration of the estate.
You can have power reserved to you
You postpone your right to obtain the Grant so you are not named on the first grant and are not involved in the administration of the estate, however you do not relinquish your right to obtain the grant meaning that you could take out a further grant in the future if, for example the estate was not being properly administered. This does not affect your position as a beneficiary of an estate, unless any legacy to you is contingent on your acting as an executor.
You can renounce your appointment as executor
You give up your right to apply for the Grant. You will therefore not be named on the grant and will not have any legal authority in administering the estate.
You can appoint an attorney to act on your behalf
You can either put in place, or you may already have a Power of Attorney which allows your attorneys to act on your behalf in administering the estate. This will change the form of application for a Grant and there are sometimes time limitations on the Power of Attorney.
Does my decision have any effect on my inheritance in the Will?
No, unless any legacy to you is contingent on you acting as an executor, then your entitlement under the Will would not change whether or not you choose to act as an executor.
I don’t know how to deal with probate or the administration, can you help?
The executors are able to instruct professionals to assist them. Our probate and estate management team can advise and support executors through all aspects of probate, including ascertaining the value of the estate, obtaining a grant of probate, ensuring inheritance tax is accounted for and ensuring that the estate is correctly distributed. Get in touch with us to discuss how we can assist with the process of applying for probate and administering an estate by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01329 282841.
For more information, you can read our latest Probate article here.
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute, legal advice, and should not be relied upon as advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. All content was correct at the time of publishing. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.