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Death of an executor - what next?

(14 Posts)
Helenagrace Tue 12-Nov-13 07:10:15

My mum is a "head in the sand" type who refuses to think about bad things happening.

Her will was drawn up decades ago when my brother and I were minors. She appointed her sister and BIL as executors at the time.

Fast forward about 30 years and her BIL is terminally ill and her sister's health is poor too.

Mum won't get the will redrafted as she doesn't want to think about it.

Does anyone know what happens if the executors of a will are both dead / incapable? DH thinks that the duties will fall to the executors of their will - in this case my feckless cousin who I have had nothing to do with for 12 years after he was put on the sex offenders register. I can't explain how scary this thought is.

The will is very simple 50/50 split of all assets between my brother and I. If my cousin is left as executor I fully expect nothing to be done or assets to disappear.

Can anyone advise?

Alwayscheerful Tue 12-Nov-13 07:14:48

I think your mum could write a letter, known as a codicil? To her will, stating alternative executors, you and your brother would be sensible.

MrsSiba Tue 12-Nov-13 07:22:57

You and your brother could apply for a grant of probate in your capacity as the beneficiaries if the named executors are deceased.

If the executors are still alive but don't want to act, they can sign a deed of renunciation to this effect.

The safest option as mentioned above is a codicil as it will be signed by your mum and legally amend her will but not as scary for your mum as re-doing the whole will.

mumblechum1 Wed 13-Nov-13 09:58:56

Agree with AC and Mrs S. A codicil is really very simple, it sets out the change she'd like to make, ie to replace Mr and Mrs X with you and your brother as executors and trustees. The codicil needs to be witnessed in the same way as the original will.

Although the codicil will be very brief, just two paragraphs and the signing clause, it does need to be drawn up correctly by a solicitor or will writer who has access to a copy of the will.

Once signed and witnessed the codicil must be stored with the original will. Most lawyers will charge under £100.

Alwayscheerful Wed 13-Nov-13 13:33:10

Hello mumblechum, I thought you might come along, it's a bit like waiting for piglet john in DIY grin. I must get you to do our will sometime.

mumblechum1 Wed 13-Nov-13 18:25:05

None taken wink grin

MidnightFeast Thu 14-Nov-13 23:22:23

If the executors are dead, then you as beneficiaries can apply for a grant in your mother's estate. Technical term is letters of administration with the will annexed.

If the executors are alive but don't want to do it, then they can sign a renunciation and you can step in as the beneficiaries.

Best thing to do is to get a codicil made - would your mum be persuaded if you tell her how much easier it will be to do it now, rather than you and your brother having to pay more money once she's gone to try and sort it all out?

TheOneWithTheNicestSmile Thu 14-Nov-13 23:38:43

Is that really what would happen - that the executor of the executors' will becomes executor of the will they were executors of?

Surely not shock

MoldieOldNaiceHam Thu 14-Nov-13 23:42:04

You cannot inherit executor duties. So stop worrying about the cousin thing.

Helenagrace Thu 14-Nov-13 23:43:59

That's helpful thanks everyone. I'll try and talk mum into a codicil but at least I know I won't have to deal with my creepy cousin.

TreaterAnita Fri 15-Nov-13 00:16:50

I think your husband is wrong if that's any relief, executor is not an inheritable role. But midnight has a good point, there are more hoops for you and your brother to jump through if the excecs are deceased or, worse still, incapacitated (as you then have to prove that fact). Can you sell a codicil to your mum on that basis? You could make the arrangements for her and even get it done for a small charitable donation if you pick the right time (there's usually an annual Law Society will writing week, check their website).

MidnightFeast Fri 15-Nov-13 09:29:52

It's a Will writing month! Check out You're in luck because it's this month. If you can get your mum down to a participating solicitor, they will donate their fee to charity. So she's gets something and benefits charity as well.

poshfrock Mon 18-Nov-13 11:10:10

Yes you can inherit executorship duties in certain circumstances. It is known as the "chain of executorship" It only happens where an executor has already been appointed via a grant of representation (probate or letters of administration) and then dies before completing the administration of the estate. In that scenario it would be their own executors who would take on the role.

I am a probate lawyer and we see this happen quite frequently. I am dealing with a case at the moment where the executor of an estate died in 1999 and some more assets have come to light in this estate which he dealt with in the 1970s. We have had to contact his executors to take over the administration of this estate from 30 years ago, about which they know absolutely nothing. It's just how it works.

poshfrock Mon 18-Nov-13 11:14:22

Hopefully this link works which explains what I was talking about.

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