Home / The Rix & Kay Blog / Who applies for Probate if there are multiple Executors?
Josephine Busharra

Probate Executive - East Sussex (Uckfield)

1st September 2023

Who applies for Probate if there are multiple Executors?

A testator (the individual who writes the will) chooses who they want as the executor of their will. This could be a family member, a close friend and even a professional body, such as a solicitor or a bank. The executors named in the will, when the testator dies, will have the authority to apply for a Grant of Probate. Each executor holds equal authority and power in managing the estate and their primary goal is to carry out the wishes outlined in the will.

How many executors of a will can you have?

There is no limit as to how many executors a testator can have. However, a Grant of Probate can only be issued in the names of 4 people. Therefore, it is best to avoid appointing too many as it may lead to disputes that may slow down the process of obtaining a Grant of Probate.

When multiple executors have been appointed, the question arises as to who should apply for the Grant of Probate. The simple answer is if there is more than one executor, then they must all apply for a Grant together. A joint application fosters a collaborative approach to the administration of the estate and ensures transparency and accountability throughout.

Appointing multiple executors can have its advantages as each individual will bring their experience and perspectives to the table. The workload can also be distributed between the executors to speed up the process of applying for a Grant of Probate.

However, working with multiple executors can also pose challenges. Differences and disagreements may arise between the executors which may cause a delay to the process and hinder decision-making. Therefore, executors can explore the option of appointing a lead executor to take charge of the application process and acts as the primary contact. The lead executor must keep the other executors informed.

As it may not be practical for all of the named executors to apply for the Grant of Probate together, they have the option to either reserve their power or renounce entirely.

What happens when an executor can’t carry out their duties?

When an executor is not able or willing to carry out their duties as an executor and participate in the full administration of the estate but also does not want to lose all authority, they can have their power reserved. The executor who has their power reserved has the right to participate in the administration at a later date if they wish to do so.

This option can be useful where one or more of the executors do not live in the same country as the assets but the remaining executors do. This will remove any complications when dealing with the administration process.

Renouncing the position as executor

If an executor does not wish to act or is unable to, they have the option to renounce their position. This essentially means that they will be resigning their right to act or be involved in the administration of the estate, which allows someone else to take their place.

The renouncing executor will need to formally renounce their position by signing a Deed of Renunciation to confirm their choice to not take part in the administration. However, in order to be able to do this, the executor must not have “intermeddled” in the deceased’s estate. If they have already handed the deceased assets or taking any action in the administration of the estate, they will not be able to renounce.

Contact us

If you need support through the probate process, reach out to Josephine Busharra, a probate Executive on our specialist probate team on t. 01825 744491 or via e. josephinebusharra@rixandkay.co.uk.

Or reach out to our Wills, Estate Planning and Trusts team for guidance on setting up your will and choosing the executor(s) of your estate.