What happens if there is no named executor in a Will?
February 22, 2023
When someone makes a Will, they usually choose who they want to be responsible for dealing with their estate and distributing the assets to the beneficiaries when they’re no longer around. This person is known as an executor and could be a family member, friend, or even solicitor. But what happens when there is a Will but no named executors?
If there is a Will with named executors, they will need to show the court they are the named executor in the Will to obtain a Grant of Probate. This gives them the legal right to deal with the probate process. If there are no named executors, it is not possible to get a Grant of Probate.
If there is no valid Will, it is an intestacy. In this case, under the intestacy rules, usually the spouse or family members are allowed to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration, instead of a Grant of Probate.
If there is a Will but no named executors, or the executors have died or are unable to act for any reason, the process is different. Despite having no named executors, the Will is still valid, but someone will need to be appointed to administer the estate. Whoever is entitled under the intestacy rules can apply to be the ‘administrator’ of the estate and they will need to apply for a ‘Grant of Letters of Administration with the Will’. This gives them the legal right to act as an administrator of the estate, but they are only allowed to act in accordance with the terms set out by the deceased in the Will.
If no one applies to the court to become an administrator, the court may ask someone. The person always has the option to decline the request. Taking on the role is a big responsibility, putting that person in charge of gathering, managing and distributing the assets. They will also be held personally financially liable if something goes wrong.
It is therefore vital, when making a Will, that you have confirmed with your chosen executor that they are willing to take on this responsibility. You should also try to appoint someone who is likely to outlive you. Get further advice in our free guide for executors.
Find more answers to some of our most frequently asked questions in our free probate guide.
If you need help with making or amending a will, or dealing with probate, contact Beth King on 020 8313 1300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information contained in this article is intended for general guidance only. It provides useful information but it is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice as the articles do not take into account specific circumstances. So do please Contact US for legal advice on the issues raised.