Appointment of personal representatives
Appointment of personal representatives

The following Wills & Probate practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Appointment of personal representatives
  • Appointment
  • Acceptance of office
  • Executor de son tort
  • Number of PRs
  • Maximum of four PRs
  • Minimum of two PRs in specified circumstances
  • Power reserved
  • Renunciation
  • Passing over the person entitled
  • More...

Appointment of personal representatives


Executors may be appointed:

  1. expressly by Will

  2. impliedly by Will (according to the terms of the Will)

  3. by a person nominated in the Will to appoint executors. If so, the nominated person may appoint themselves

  4. through the chain of representation, or

  5. by the court

Acceptance of office

Methods of accepting office of executor include:

  1. obtaining a grant of probate

  2. performing acts that constitute acceptance of office, eg the release of a debt of the testator

An executor who has accepted office cannot subsequently renounce.

An executor cannot accept office in part and refuse in part: they must accept or refuse the office as a whole.

Executor de son tort

This is the term used when a person acts as if they were an appointed personal representative by intermeddling in the deceased’s estate.

They may be held accountable to:

  1. creditors

  2. beneficiaries, and

  3. the proper executors

Certain acts of humanity and necessity are not regarded as intermeddling, eg arranging the deceased’s funeral.

For further information, see Practice Note: Intermeddling in an estate.

Number of PRs

Maximum of four PRs

A grant of probate or administration'>letters of administration will issue to a maximum of four PRs.

If the deceased’s Will appoints more than four people as executors, then the grant will issue to the first four to apply with power reserved to the others. This will often be the first four named executors, but the executors

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