Do All Executors of a Will Have to Agree?

Author:
Jonathan Maskew
Head of Probate, Wills and Trusts
Date:
06/01/2021

Yes, otherwise the administration of the Estate can’t continue. All the named Executors have to reach some form of agreement so the Probate process can go ahead.

But it isn’t always that simple and Executors can sadly disagree on a number of things, or face other challenges that slow the process down.

It could be that they:

  • Disagree on what to do with the deceased person’s property e.g. whether to sell it or let a beneficiary buy it
  • Disagree on how soon to sell the property e.g. some may want a quick sale so they can get their inheritance quicker
  • Face geographical challenges e.g. delays in signing documents because they live in different countries
  • Can’t agree on who takes on what responsibility e.g. some may want to take on more or less of the Estate administration
  • Already have existing issues with each other that continue to affect their relationship

Ideally, Executors should try to resolve any disputes between themselves first so they can avoid delaying the Probate process which in some cases can take over a year without any disputes.

How Many Executors Can You Have?

In England and Wales, you can name up to four Executors in your Will to take on the administration of the Estate. They can all choose to apply for Grant of Probate together, which gives them the legal right to deal with the deceased person’s Estate.

If you don’t want to take on the responsibility of Executor, and there are other Executors named in the Will, you have two options:

  • You can pass the responsibility on to one of the other Executors
  • You can choose to have Power Reserved to you – this means you’ll still be named as Executor and can resume the role at a later time if you decide to do so

If you’re the only named Executor in a Will and you don’t want to act as one, you have the option to officially renounce (resign) your role. To do this, you need to submit a Deed of Renunciation to the Probate Registry (Court) and once this is accepted, you officially lose all responsibility over the Will and can’t get it back.

Dealing with Disagreements

Most disagreements can be avoided if Executors communicate with each other regularly and begin the discussions early on.

But if any issues do arise, it’s best to deal with these as soon as possible by communicating with each other calmly so you can hopefully reach an agreement. This might even lead to an Executor renouncing their role voluntarily so the others can continue without them.

If you can’t reach an agreement together, all Executors can get independent legal advice so you don’t have to communicate with each other directly. Our Probate Solicitors are on hand to support you if you’re struggling to come to a formal agreement with other Executors - get in touch if you’d like free initial legal advice about this.

If a formal agreement still can’t be reached, it’s possible to apply to the Court to have an Executor removed. The Court has the power to relieve an Executor of their duties or substitute them if they think it’s in the Estate’s best interests, but most conflicts between Executors are unlikely to end up in Court.

Get Help from our Probate Solicitors

Another option you have is to get one of our Probate Solicitors to carry out the administration of the Estate for you. This can ease conflict between Executors who may be find dealing with Probate overwhelming and stressful.

Our experienced Probate Solicitors offer a Full Probate Service where we’ll handle the Estate administration and deal with HM Revenue and Customs for you, so you don’t have to worry about a thing. We’ll also keep you and the other Executors informed every step of the way to make sure you’re all in agreement with every decision made.

If you’ve got any other concerns, such as whether you want to take a step back from your duties as Executor, then we’ll be happy to discuss this with you and offer free initial legal advice.

Get in touch today to see how we can help you.

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