Personal representatives

Produced by Tolley in association with Higgs & Sons

The following Trusts and Inheritance Tax guidance note Produced by Tolley in association with Higgs & Sons provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Personal representatives
  • Executors
  • Administrator ― Will in place
  • Administrator ― where there is no Will
  • How many personal representatives are required?
  • Capability and willingness to act
  • Minors
  • Incapacity
  • Bankruptcy
  • Dissolution of marriage or civil partnership
  • More...

Personal representatives are those who are authorised to administer the estate of someone who has died.

The appointment as personal representative will either be as an executor, where the deceased appointed one or more persons named in his Will to deal with the estate, or as an administrator where a Will fails to make a successful appointment or where there is no Will.


The deceased’s Will usually makes an express appointment where the executors are named. There may also be an express appointment of a substitute executor who will only act should the first named executor(s) predecease the deceased or alternatively is unable or unwilling to take up the appointment.

There may however be a nomination in the Will which is where the Will authorises an individual to name an executor.

A trust corporation could be appointed and is defined by the Senior Courts Act 1981, s 128.

Finally, the deceased may have appointed partners in a trading firm, members of a limited liability partnership or directors of a company. For example, most common would be solicitors in a law firm or accountants in an accountancy practice. The Will may contain specific reference to named partners to be appointed as executors. If the Will refers to unspecified partners in a firm, then all the partners in the firm at the date the Will was executed are appointed as executors (unless the Will states that it is to be the partners in the firm at the date of death). If the firm no longer exists, partners in any successor firm which is practising at the date of the deceased’s death may (depending on the wording of the appointment clause in the Will) become the executors. It may be worth contacting the appropriate professional body to identify the successor firm.

Administrator ― Will in place

It may be necessary to appoint an administrator as personal representative, even where there is a Will, in the following circumstances:

  1. the appointment of executor is invalid for

Popular documents