Executor's and administrator's authority prior to the grant
Executor's and administrator's authority prior to the grant

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

  • Executor's and administrator's authority prior to the grant
  • Executors
  • General
  • Acts done before probate
  • Proceedings taken before probate
  • Executor’s liability for acts done before probate
  • Administrators
  • General
  • Vesting of property pending grant
  • The doctrine of relation back
  • More...



An executor is a person appointed by the testator, usually by their Will or codicil, to:

  1. administer their property, and

  2. carry into effect the provisions of the Will

The office of executor derives from the testator’s Will or other testamentary document. The grant of probate confirms the executor’s authority to act.

In practice an executor can only prove their entitlement by taking a grant of probate.

The testator’s property vests in the executor from the date of death without any interval of time.

A testator may appoint:

  1. different executors for different parts of their estate

  2. certain persons as executors of their property abroad and others of their property in England

  3. separate executors of real estate

The High Court may grant probate or administration'>letters of administration in respect of any part of the estate of a deceased person limited in any way it thinks fit.

Acts done before probate

Before probate an executor may do all things that pertain to the executorial office, including:

  1. pay or release a debt

  2. get in and receive the testator’s estate

  3. assent to a legacy

  4. generally intermeddle with the testator’s goods

  5. exercise commercial rent arrears recovery (formerly distrain for rent)

  6. release an action

  7. make a conveyance or assignment of personalty

  8. make a conveyance or assignment of realty

  9. give a valid receipt for money payable on an assignment

An executor cannot compel a purchaser to complete until after

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