Who cannot be a personal representative?

While the starting position is that a Will can appoint anyone as a personal representative, there are some legal requirements limiting the possible executors.

A personal representative must be:

  • Over 18
  • Mentally capable
  • Preferably not bankrupt

In addition, the executor cannot be a former spouse or civil partner if the marriage or civil partnership came to an end after the Will was written.

For administrators, the number of people who can be appointed is far smaller as the court follows a set priority list.

How many personal representatives?

Normally people choose to appoint one or two personal representatives through their Will. While there is no limit to the number of executors who can be named in the Will, a grant of probate authorising them to manage the estate can be granted to a maximum of 4. It is usually helpful to have a smaller number as it tends to get the process done faster and limits costs.

The court typically only appoints one administrator, but there are some situations where it is required to appoint two. Two administrators are only necessary where there is no will, the estate is over £250,000 and:

  • a beneficiary is under 18, or
  • a ‘life interest’ is involved (a right to property only granted for the lifetime of the recipient).

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