Q&A What options do Executors have to administer an estate if they are uncertain?

Q:      I am one of two executors appointed by a friend of ours in his Will. He has dementia and is now nearing the end of his life. The problem is that we executors are both older and neither of us are in the best health. In honesty we regret having agreed to be executors, but as our dear friend is no longer of sound mind and therefore unable to appoint new executors, it seems we may be stuck with the job. Do we have any other options?

A:       You will have various options when the time comes to administer your friend’s estate. You could appoint a solicitor to guide you through the probate and administration process and stay as executors. An alternative is to renounce, i.e. give up your position as executors and allow an administrator to be appointed, but this would be a certain order of person and you would have no input. You could also appoint an attorney on your behalf to carry out the work for you.

Most people chose to appoint a solicitor to help them if they do not feel confident in managing the estate. The costs of having to use the Courts to correct a mistake, or recover inadvertently misdirected funds, could be substantial. You would be guided by your solicitor through each step to avoid any uncertainty on your duties which can be helpful if the Will is any way unclear or open to interpretation.

Executors are often appointed in Wills when they are still young. When the time comes for them to carry out the tasks involved in administering an estate, they feel less able to cope and the responsibility can not only be daunting but even damaging to their own health. Regularly updating a Will to reflect changes in circumstances can take away worry, and solicitors can be appointed as executors in a Will initially to take the pressure off family or friends.  

This question has been answered by Lisa Jones, a Senior Solicitor with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients.  Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194