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Do the executors of a will have to agree?

Do the executors of a will have to agree?

It is common for a person to appoint more than one executor of their estate. It makes practical sense and helps to share the burden of administering the estate. Of course, executors may not always agree as to what is the best course of action in a certain circumstance, which can cause difficulties in making decisions. It is important that in the first instance, all executors do everything they can to come to an agreeable solution. Where this is not possible, disagreements must be dealt with quickly. Failure to deal with disagreements at an early stage can mean missing deadlines and incurring extra costs for the estate.

Do executors need to agree unanimously?

Executors do not need to agree unanimously to come to a decision. It is often recommended that you appoint an odd number of executors. The reason for this is that executors in Scotland are able to make decisions by majority.

Having an odd number of executors can avoid coming to a standstill and can make decision making easier at what can be a very challenging time. When executors need to make a decision about estate administration by a majority, all executors must have the opportunity to have their views on the matter heard before a decision can be made.

What if executors cannot come to a majority agreement?

Of course, this circumstance only applies if there are an odd number of executors or enough of the executors agree to reach a majority. However, where two executors disagree, they will need to make a decision about how best to proceed. 

Appointing an independent executor 

The existing executors may decide to appoint an independent executor who can take over the administration of the estate, and the existing executors will resign. An independent executor may be a person who is not directly affected by the decision, or perhaps a solicitor.

Appointing a Judicial Factor 

If the executors cannot agree on who to appoint as an independent executor, they may wish to apply to the court for the appointment of a Judicial Factor. A Judicial Factor can incur a significant cost for the estate, and as a result, the executors should try to resolve the matter without using this option. 

“I used Wilson and Fish to get Confirmation for my late fathers estate. They provided a friendly and efficient service. Good communication throughout the process and everything clearly explained. I would happily recommend Wilson and Fish. Thanks to Donna for making it so simple.”

– Gavin Laird, Scotland, December 2019 5stars

Court intervention 

Where an executor feels that the other executors are making decisions by majority and these decisions are not in the interests of the beneficiaries of the estate, they could raise a court action. The court will only make the decision to intervene if the majority’s decision would not be in the best interest of the beneficiaries or would most likely have a negative impact on the estate. 

Contact our Expert Executry and Probate Solicitors Glasgow, Scotland

At Wilson & Fish, our team understand that the role of an executor can be daunting and stressful, which is why we are on hand to help. If you would like to discuss how our solicitors can assist you in preparing to act as an executor, or any other executry matters, please contact us by telephone on 0141 222 7951 or via our online form.