Q&As

(A) has just died and there is one named executor. One of the assets in the estate is a property currently being let by a commercial and residential tenant. The executor wants to take possession prior to administering the estate. Apart from the fact that an executor needs a grant to administer the estate (except when it is of minor value), is a grant required to take preparatory steps and then obtaining possession (ie service of notices, possession proceedings)?

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Produced in partnership with Chris Bryden of 4 King’s Bench Walk
Published on LexisPSL on 18/02/2016

The following Private Client Q&A Produced in partnership with Chris Bryden of 4 King’s Bench Walk provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • (A) has just died and there is one named executor. One of the assets in the estate is a property currently being let by a commercial and residential tenant. The executor wants to take possession prior to administering the estate. Apart from the fact that an executor needs a grant to administer the estate (except when it is of minor value), is a grant required to take preparatory steps and then obtaining possession (ie service of notices, possession proceedings)?

This Q&A is relevant where there is no surviving joint owner of the property. A surviving joint owner would be able to take all steps necessary to obtain possession.

The role of an executor is to execute the provisions specified by the deceased in their Will. Ordinarily, in order to carry out the provisions of the Will, the executor will gather in all of the assets, settle the liabilities and then distribute the proceeds of the Estate in accordance with its provisions. To facilitate this process, the executor requires recognition of the legitimacy of that role, and this is done by way of a grant of probate. Save where the estate is straightforward and of minimal value (usually less than £5,000), a grant will be required to enable the release of funds, for example, from banks and other institutions. That said, the authority of the executor derives from the will; the effect of the grant of probate is to formalise that authority and to allow the signature of the executor to be accepted in place of that of the deceased.

See Practice Notes: Executor's and administrator's authority prior to the grant and Personal representatives—powers, duties and remuneration.

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