Do I need to make a new Will if one of my executors dies before me?
There can be some misunderstanding and a bit of confusion about what happens if one of the executors to your Will dies before you, so here we will clear that uncertainty up and explain the effect the death of an executor has on the validity of a Will.
An executor can be a beneficiary of your Will, although they must be over the age of 18. In fact is is very common for someone’s spouse to be made both beneficiary and executor.
However, a word of caution:- people who accept the position of executor often don’t fully understand what the role involves. It can be more difficult than many people think and few realise that they are personally liable if they don’t follow the rules and also that they can be sued by the beneficiaries. That is one of the reasons we recommend appointing a professional firm as either executor or co-executor.
It is usually good practice to appoint more than one executor just in case an executor dies before you. Up to four executors can be named and reserve executors, also known as substitute executors, can also be appointed.
What happens if an executor dies before me?
If an executor dies before you, or ‘pre-deceases’ you in legalese, it will not invalidate your Will. That in a nutshell is the answer to the question do I need to make a new Will if one of my executors dies before me?
However, where an executor predeceases it is important to consider if there are any other living executors. If the Will names another executor and they are still living then it will be possible for that executor to apply for probate. However if all named executors have died then court rules are applied to determine who the executor shall be, such as a beneficiary under the Will. That is another reason that we recommend appointing a professional firm as either executor or co-executor.
So, to summarise, while the death of an executor doesn’t invalidate a Will, you may wish to review your Will and make a new one if you want to have complete control over who your executor(s) will be.