Definition of a personal representative
Definition of a personal representative

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

  • Definition of a personal representative
  • The PR's role
  • The need for a grant
  • Who may be appointed as a PR?
  • Minors
  • Mental incapacity
  • Bankrupts
  • Dissolution of marriage/civil partnership
  • Executor described by relationship to the deceased or by other description
  • Appointment of professional executors
  • more

Executors and administrators are referred to as personal representatives (PRs).

An executor is a person appointed by a valid Will or codicil to administer the testator’s property and carry out the provisions of the Will.

If the deceased left a Will but there is no executor able or willing to act then an administrator with Will annexed may take a grant of letters of administration in the order of priority set out in the Non-Contentious Probate Rules 1987 (NCPR 1987).

An administrator is a person appointed by the court to administer the property of a deceased person.

An executor’s appointment may be limited to particular property, eg literary works.

An executor de son tort is a person who acts as if they were the appointed personal representative by intermeddling with the deceased’s estate. They may be held accountable to:

  1. creditors

  2. beneficiaries

  3. the proper executors in accordance with section 28 of the Administration of Estates Act 1925 (AEA 1925)

Note: a person acting in the UK in reliance on a grant or its equivalent obtained outside the UK may become an executor de son tort.

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

The PR's role

This is to:

  1. collect in the deceased’s assets

  2. discharge their liabilities

  3. distribute the balance in accordance with the Will or rules of intestacy