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Do I need to be an executor?

A person is able to entrust their estate to relatives, friends or organisations – like banks or a firm of solicitors – when deciding who they would like to administer their final wishes.

A person making a Will also has the right to appoint as many executors as they feel necessary to administer their estate effectively and properly.

However, as a maximum of four people are able to apply to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Probate, this figure tends to be the maximum number.

If the deceased has named more than one executor to help administer their estate, there are many positives in applying for a Grant of Probate as a unified team. This can help provide a level of equality and ensure that all voices are heard. Preventing disputes is really important to ensure an efficient and swift administration of the estate and ultimately distribution of assets to beneficiaries.

Some people may not feel comfortable with this responsibility and may not want to undertake the role. Whilst it is important to consider the deceased’s wishes, there are various routes a person can take.

Creating a Power Reserved Letter

Any executor named in the Will who does not want to apply for probate or who cannot practically help with the administration of an estate will need to inform the Court of this via a Notice of Power Reserved.

The power reserved letter will effectively mean that you relinquish your responsibilities and entrust the administration of the estate to the executors applying for probate but allows you the right to rekindle your responsibilities in the future.

The Grant of Probate, once issued, will name the executors who had applied but will also state that an un-named executor has the power reserved. This can be useful if the executor in question is ill or living abroad and therefore unable to deal with the administrative obligations.

Given the current situation involving Covid-19, increased levels of illness and travel restrictions, this option may be needed.

Renunciation – resigning as executor

An executor has the right to resign from the position at any point and can renounce their right to apply for probate via a Deed of Renunciation.

This process can only take place if the Will executor has not had any formal dealings in administering the estate up to the point they decide to renounce their role.

This process is usually binding. Following the submitted Deed of Renunciation to the probate registry, the executor will sever all ties with the estate.

Services from legalmatters during Covid-19 pandemic

Here at legalmatters, we continue to do everything we possibly can to service our existing and new clients during these very difficult times.

Our ability to provide remote services makes us stand out from the crowd. This means that you can deal with your will, power of attorney, probate, trust and tax advice etc all over the phone or by email and documents are sent to you by post. We are also advising our clients on signature processes bearing in mind social distancing measures.

Meanwhile, the office continues to operate with minimal skeleton staff for the protection of our staff, clients and visitors, enabling us to still process physical documents for our clients. If you do find that you need to call into the office for instance to have documents witnessed when it is otherwise difficult for you to arrange that with family and friends then do please get in touch.

If you would like to speak to one of our expert Wills and Probate lawyers, ring us on 01243 216900 or email us at

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