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Can an executor dispute a Will?

View profile for Jordan Davies
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Case law examples - lack of due execution of a Will

When appointing an executor, the testator (person who makes a Will) is choosing that person to action the contents of their Will and their role comes with a variety of duties that must be adhered to.

An executor is required to action the terms of the Will, as it is written. They are also bound by a variety of duties such as collecting in the estate’s assets, settling the estate’s liabilities, and acting in the best interest of both the estate and it’s beneficiaries.

But what happens if they are appointed as the executor of a Will, and wish to challenge the terms of the Will? Is this still possible considering the executorship duties they are bound by?

Fortunately, for executors, they are still able to challenge and/or dispute a Will, regardless of their appointment. However, doing so would of course result in a breach of their executorship duties and so it would first be necessary for the executor to renounce their appointment.

Once their appointments as executor has been renounced, they are no longer bound by their duties and can pursue a challenge against the Will accordingly.

A  Will often appoints more than one executor. In such instances, the remaining executor can continue with the executorship appointment and undertake the necessary administration. However, if only one executor is appointed under the Will, the executor will likely need to arrange for a professional to take over the executorship role and this can sometimes be more complex and costly.

If an executor is considering renouncing their appointment, it is important that they do not undertake any executorship duties or partake in any way. If they do, this could be considered to be ‘intermeddling’ and can make stepping down as an executor more complex. An executor must also ensure they do not apply for the grant of probate, which would likely detail their name as executor, if they wish to renounce their role.

In summary, if an executor wants to dispute the Will under which they are appointed, they must ensure they renounce their appointment as soon as possible to ensure no action is taken to impact their ability to step away.

If you are an executor and wish to dispute the contents of a Will, or you are in a position whereby you need to defend the due execution of a Will, please get in touch with our specialist inheritance dispute solicitors on 0161 696 6178.