What to do if the executors of a Will have passed away

By Juliet Phillips-James, Director, Gomer Williams (as featured in the Llanelli Star)

Q: My aunt has recently died and under her will the two executors she has appointed have passed away several years ago. One of the beneficiaries has also died. In these circumstances who is entitled to deal with her estate and what happens to the deceased beneficiary's share?

A: Presuming that your aunt did not appoint any other executors under her Will there is an order of priority of those people who are entitled to take out what is known as a Grant of Letters of Administration with the Will annexed. The order is as follows:
  1. A trustee of the residuary estate, for example, where the will contains a gift of the residue to A and B in trust for C, then A and B can take out the grant.
  2. Any other residuary beneficiary.
  1. Personal representative (e.g. executors) of anyone in (2) above as long as the person in (2) survived the deceased but didn't take out the grant.
  1. A person left a gift in the will, for example a specific amount of money or property.
  1. Personal representative of anyone in (4) above.
With regards to the deceased beneficiary it all depends on whether or not your aunt put a provision in as to what happens to that particular beneficiary's share in the event that he/she predeceased her.
If the will does not contain an alternative provision it will all depend whether the beneficiary was a direct issue of the deceased (e.g. child, grandchild, etc). If this is the case and the beneficiary had children their share will pass to their children or grandchildren.
If the beneficiary is not direct issue and not the beneficiary of the residuary estate (i.e. what is left over once all other gifts have been distributed) then the gift will fail and form part of the residuary estate.
If the beneficiary was left the residuary estate and had children or grandchildren, then again their share of the residue would pass to them. If not, the gift would fail and pass under the intestacy rules.
Ideally you should take a copy of the Will to a solicitor who will be able to tailor the above advice for you on reading the will.

We can help. Contact us today on 01554 755 101 or email contactus@gomerwilliams.co.uk


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