I was reminded again this week of the importance of having at least one backup executor, especially in a situation where only one executor is appointed in the first instance.
In this case the will maker appointed her husband as sole executor and beneficiary and her children as further beneficiaries in the event that her husband predeceases her (admittedly it involved a family friend preparing the will). In rather unfortunate circumstances, her husband passed only 4 months prior to her and even though her children at that time became aware of the problem in her will there was little they could do as she was diagnosed with dementia and lost capacity over 2 years ago.
As the will maker had not appointed any backup executor and the executor that she had appointed had died, the children not only had to deal with the loss of both of their parents but also had to deal with unnecessary estate issues including something as simple as obtaining the original will, as the financial institution who had it in their safe custody would only release the original document to an executor.
In hindsight, this stress and expense could have been easily avoided with the appointment of a backup executor. We understand that sometimes you just don’t know who to appoint as a backup executor and that is why it is important to seek legal advice from a solicitor that specialises in this area, as they will be able to provide you with recommendations and help you find a solution.