Problem with finding more than one executor for a will

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My Husband and I are in discussion about preparing mirror wills as we do want the same thing.

We have no children together (and won't be having any) and he is estranged since several years now from his adult daughter by a previous marriage.

We would name each other as executor but I know just naming one is not a good idea, except we have nobody else we feel completely happy about naming at this time.

I have a brother but whilst I am happy to name him, my Husband isn't for himself.

My Husband does not want to name any of his brothers/sisters as he does not want them to know that his estranged daughter isn't going to inherit anything.

We can't think of any shared friends etc. that we trust enough.

Any ideas what we could do? or shall we just name each other, albeit a risky option?

What would happen if we (a) died together, or (b) died within a short time of each other, and therefore there would be no executor alive?
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  • Mojisola
    Mojisola Posts: 35,559 Forumite
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    This is one of those occasions when the best thing to do is name a firm of solicitors as back-up - only to be used if you are unable to take on the role for each other.
  • RnK136
    RnK136 Posts: 68 Forumite
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    Mojisola said:
    This is one of those occasions when the best thing to do is name a firm of solicitors as back-up - only to be used if you are unable to take on the role for each other.
    Do we have to ask them first? or pay any fee now to do that? Or just simply name that as the option if needed?
  • Flugelhorn
    Flugelhorn Posts: 5,721 Forumite
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    edited 14 July 2022 at 3:29PM
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    If you died together or within a short time and there was no executor left then people eligible to administer the estate would do it ie your brother for you and your husband's daughter for him. Sounds like it could be messy so agree better to have solicitor as backup in case. 

    re your husband's siblings - they don't need to know what is in the will until they have to act upon it - so if he died first, you deal with it and they wouldn't be involved in any issues with the daughter
  • Sea_Shell
    Sea_Shell Posts: 9,518 Forumite
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    RnK136 said:
    My Husband and I are in discussion about preparing mirror wills as we do want the same thing.

    We have no children together (and won't be having any) and he is estranged since several years now from his adult daughter by a previous marriage.

    We would name each other as executor but I know just naming one is not a good idea, except we have nobody else we feel completely happy about naming at this time.

    I have a brother but whilst I am happy to name him, my Husband isn't for himself.

    My Husband does not want to name any of his brothers/sisters as he does not want them to know that his estranged daughter isn't going to inherit anything.

    We can't think of any shared friends etc. that we trust enough.

    Any ideas what we could do? or shall we just name each other, albeit a risky option?

    What would happen if we (a) died together, or (b) died within a short time of each other, and therefore there would be no executor alive?
    Other than yourself, who is set to inherit from your husband if you pre-decease him?   His siblings?  Your family?  A mixture?

    If the will has to go to probate, regardless of who the executor is, it become a public document, so the contents of it would become known, if anyone wanted to look.

    Is it because you don't want them to know now, what's in the will, or you don't want them to know ever?


    How's it going, AKA, Nutwatch? - 12 month spends to date = 2.38% of current retirement "pot" (as at end April 2024)
  • RnK136
    RnK136 Posts: 68 Forumite
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    Sea_Shell said:
    RnK136 said:
    My Husband and I are in discussion about preparing mirror wills as we do want the same thing.

    We have no children together (and won't be having any) and he is estranged since several years now from his adult daughter by a previous marriage.

    We would name each other as executor but I know just naming one is not a good idea, except we have nobody else we feel completely happy about naming at this time.

    I have a brother but whilst I am happy to name him, my Husband isn't for himself.

    My Husband does not want to name any of his brothers/sisters as he does not want them to know that his estranged daughter isn't going to inherit anything.

    We can't think of any shared friends etc. that we trust enough.

    Any ideas what we could do? or shall we just name each other, albeit a risky option?

    What would happen if we (a) died together, or (b) died within a short time of each other, and therefore there would be no executor alive?
    Other than yourself, who is set to inherit from your husband if you pre-decease him?   His siblings?  Your family?  A mixture?

    If the will has to go to probate, regardless of who the executor is, it become a public document, so the contents of it would become known, if anyone wanted to look.

    Is it because you don't want them to know now, what's in the will, or you don't want them to know ever?


    After each other if we are pre-deceased, the beneficiaries will be nominated charities.

    Yes, I know wills become public documents after probate but I guess he might be trying to avoid his family going against his wishes that his estranged daughter isn't inheriting anything.
  • lincroft1710
    lincroft1710 Posts: 17,726 Forumite
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    The simplest and easiest method is to have the wills drawn up by a solicitor and the solicitor to act as second executor of the will of the first to pass and as sole executor of the will of the second to pass. The solicitor will know exactly how to word this. 
    If you are querying your Council Tax band would you please state whether you are in England, Scotland or Wales
  • Sea_Shell
    Sea_Shell Posts: 9,518 Forumite
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    If charities are involved, as residual beneficiaries, I wouldn't want to be a "lay" executor, as I understand they can be very pushy as to squeeze every last penny out of an estate.


    Best to arrange to put the whole thing in the hands of solicitors, let them argue as to how large their fees should be!
    How's it going, AKA, Nutwatch? - 12 month spends to date = 2.38% of current retirement "pot" (as at end April 2024)
  • Flugelhorn
    Flugelhorn Posts: 5,721 Forumite
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    Sea_Shell said:
    If charities are involved, as residual beneficiaries, I wouldn't want to be a "lay" executor, as I understand they can be very pushy as to squeeze every last penny out of an estate.


    Best to arrange to put the whole thing in the hands of solicitors, let them argue as to how large their fees should be!
    absolutely - the lay executor could have quite a hard time as at every stage they will be looking for more money. If a will naming a charity goes to probate they will not let anyone go against the will and give the money to your husbands daughter.

    It is possible for some charities to act as executor - though they would probably just appoint a solicitor which is an option for you anyway 
  • p00hsticks
    p00hsticks Posts: 12,979 Forumite
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    Sea_Shell said:
    If charities are involved, as residual beneficiaries, I wouldn't want to be a "lay" executor, as I understand they can be very pushy as to squeeze every last penny out of an estate.


    I know this gets said quite a lot on these boards, and I guess it varies from charity to charity, but in my experience so far this hasn't been the case.
    If / when a will goes to probate, apparently there is a service that the charities can subscribe them that will alert them to the fact that they are mentioned.
    In the case i'm dealing with as executor, there are three fairly major charities that are named in the will - two as residual beneficaries (and also named as two of many nominated beneficaries of the deceased's pemnsion pot, which we managed to get distributed early on in the process) and one that will receive a fixed sum of money if it something else mentioned in the will doesn't happen.
    The last of these contacted me by post as soon as the probate was granted. I e-mailed back to them explaining exactly what conditions were related to the bequest and given them a rough timescale of eighteen months for us to be able to confirm if they would be receving anything, which they acknowledged and I've not heard from them since.
    I received a letter from one of the other two just a few weeks ago, soon after the first anniversary of getting probate granted - I imagine the charity had made a note of my details when probate was granted and they were mentioned, and flagged to chase it up in a year if they hadn't heard from me in the meantime. They expressed their condolences, explained that they knew they had been mentioned in the will, thanked me for the money they had already received from the pension pot, and politely asked 'for their records' if this was to be the only bequest or if there was more due from the will. Again I replied via email, explaining that most of the estate is tied up in a house, the sale of which is taking an age and that  as soon as the sale completed and I settled the final bills assicaited with it I'd be in a position to dsitribute the estate. Again, they've politely acknowledged this and have made a note to get in touch withe me again towards the end of the year if they've heard nothing further.
    The first I've not heard anything from at all - either they're not aware that they've been mentioned, or they are waiting even longer before chasing up with me.
    Of course, I may be speaking prematurely, and find when I actually distribute the estate that they'll all go through the accounts with a fine toothcomb, querying every little cost and expenditure, but I somehow doubt it. The charities were named in the will because they had been a great help to the deceased while he was alive ,and so far they have been polite, sympathetic and understanding since his death, so I think they will just be grateful to have been acknowledged in the will at all.

  • theoretica
    theoretica Posts: 12,348 Forumite
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    If you are leaving your estate to a large charity it is possibly to name them as the executors. You probably want to make sure they don't become executor if, for instance, a spouse is inheriting and named as first executor, but is unable to act, but only for the second death. 
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