If you’re an executor
The person who died will normally have told you if you’re an executor.
An executor only receives assets if they’re also named as a beneficiary.
If there’s more than one executor
If more than one person is named as an executor, you must all agree who makes the application for probate. Up to 4 people can apply.
Every executor who applies for probate must:
- legally declare that the information in the probate application is true
- sign the will and any updates (‘codicils’), or photocopies of them
If only one executor applies they’ll need to prove they tried to contact all executors when they apply.
You can contact your local probate registry if you’re having problems finding other executors.
A probate registry cannot help with disagreements between executors. You’ll need to find another way to reach an agreement - this could mean getting legal advice.
If you do not want to or cannot be an executor
The will may name a replacement executor for someone who becomes ‘unwilling or unable’ to deal with the estate.
Contact your local probate registry if no executors are willing or able to apply for probate.
You do not want to be an executor
You can do one of the following:
- completely give up your right to apply for probate (‘renunciation’) - fill in a renunciation form and send it with the probate application form
- reserve your right to apply for probate later if another executor cannot deal with the estate (holding ‘power reserved’)
- appoint an attorney to act on your behalf - fill in an attorney form and send it with the probate application.
When an executor is unable to apply for probate
A replacement executor should apply for probate if the executor is unable to, for example because:
- they’ve died
- they do not have ‘mental capacity’ - get a doctor to fill in a mental capacity form and send it with the probate application