Find out what happens when an executor dies, and who can help you with the role of executor..
When someone makes a Will, they name an Executor whose role it is to distribute the contents of the Will once that person has died.
Usually the Executor of a Will is a family member or close friend; often they are the next of kin and a beneficiary in the Will. When a person makes their Will, they do not need to inform or ask the permission of the person they have named as Executor – although they normally would, out of politeness.
It is not uncommon for someone to name more than one person as an Executor in their Will to share the responsibilities of distributing the Will and to have a ‘back-up’ in case one of the Executors dies too.
What happens if an Executor dies?
If all of the named Executors have died, someone else will be appointed by the court using The Non-Contentious Probate Rules 1987. This could be a beneficiary or a relative/friend.
If the person who made the Will (the testator) is still alive when their Executor dies, they can simply amend the Will and choose a new Executor.
If more than one Executor is named in the Will, the co-executor simply carries out the duty of Executor.
If the testator has named a successor Executor, they would take over the duties. A successor is someone who is named as Executor in the event that the first Executor cannot, or will not, take the responsibility.
Who can help you with the role of Executor?
If you are an Executor of a Will and a bit overwhelmed about what to do now – or just too busy with everything else – you can get help.