The chain of representation
The chain of representation

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

  • The chain of representation
  • Where one of several executors dies
  • A sole or sole surviving executor dies
  • How the chain might break
  • Where the chain of representation is broken
  • Administrators
  • A grant of administration
  • Power reserved

Where one of several executors dies

Section 5 of the Administration of Estates Act 1925 (AEA 1925) states that the office of executor is personal to the executor appointed by the testator. The executor cannot assign or transfer their office to anyone else.

If a person dies after the testator but before taking out a grant, then their rights in respect of executorship die with them.

If a person dies after the testator, after taking out a grant, and the estate administration is incomplete, then the surviving executors continue to act in the administration of that estate.

Note: if a sole executor is left where there is a minor or life interest in the trusts of the estate, the court may appoint an additional personal representative (PR) to act alongside them until the estate administration is complete. However, the additional PR would not be included in the chain of representation if both they and the original sole executor die before the estate administration is complete.

A sole or sole surviving executor dies

On the death of a sole executor or a sole surviving executor where the estate administration is incomplete and there is an unbroken chain of executorship, the appointment of new executors is automatic through the chain of representation, which is also known as the transmission of executorship: no further formalities are required.

The chain of representation passes from proving

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