Q&As

If a person who intended to sign a contract dies before signing the agreement, can their personal representative (PR) sign on their behalf or are there any other solutions to complete the contract? If a PR is able to sign, is there specific wording to include in the attestation clause?

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Published on LexisPSL on 14/06/2019

The following Commercial Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • If a person who intended to sign a contract dies before signing the agreement, can their personal representative (PR) sign on their behalf or are there any other solutions to complete the contract? If a PR is able to sign, is there specific wording to include in the attestation clause?
  • Powers of the personal representative (PR)
  • When does the authority of a PR begin?
  • General principles of contract
  • Can the PR be compelled to sign a contract that the deceased intended to enter into prior to their death?
  • Contracts for the sale of land

Powers of the personal representative (PR)

A personal representative (PR) has powers, under the Administration of Estates Act 1925, the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 and the Trustee Act 2000 (TrA 2000), to sell, mortgage, lease or charge all the deceased’s property vesting in them. This power would include entering into a contract in respect of the deceased’s property.

These powers are subject to the PR’s common law duties to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries and avoid conflict between the interests of the beneficiaries and their own interests. A PR also has a statutory duty of care in respect of investment decisions under TrA 2000, s 1. For further guidance, see Practice Note: Personal representatives—powers, duties and remuneration.

When does the authority of a PR begin?

The point at which the PR’s authority to deal with the estate property begins depends on whether the PR is an executor or administrator. In short, the office of executor derives fro

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