What does Power Reserved Mean in Probate?
20 March 2019
When a Will names more than one Executor, not all of the Executors have to act if they don't want to. If one Executor doesn't want to act, they can have Power Reserved to them, which means that they won't need to take an active role in the administration of the Estate. The other Executor(s) will then take on all of the Probate responsibilities.
Power Reserved – How it Works
If there are multiple Executors named in the Will, and one doesn't want to be involved in the Probate process, then they can choose to have Power Reserved to them. This is where the acting Executor issues a formal notice, stating that they will be taking out the Grant of Probate in their name only. The Court will then issue the Grant of Probate in the name of the acting Executor only, with a note that the other Executor has had Power Reserved to them.
It is a requirement of the Court that any named Executor who does not want to act but has not renounced has Power Reserved to them in this way.
It's important to note that an Executor can only have Power Reserved to them if the Will names other Executors who can step in and act in their place. If the Will doesn't name any other Executors, then the only way the named Executor would be able to not act is if they renounce their role as Executor. This is a different process to Power Reserved. For more information, see Renunciation as Executor of a Will.
When Might Power Reserved Be Used?
Power Reserved can be applied in any situation where an Executor doesn't wish to act, as long as there are other named Executors to take their place. It may be that they live in a different country, for example, and so it's simply not practical for them to take an active role in the Estate administration. In this instance, they may not be available to sign paperwork or carry out tasks such as clearing the property for sale, so it would simply be more straightforward for them to have Power Reserved to them.
Another example could be where a named Executor is in poor health or is in a care home. The role of Executor may be too demanding for this individual, so having Power Reserved to them would mean that the other Executor(s) can go ahead with the administration of the Estate without them needing to be involved.
The role of Executor can be a demanding one, which involves a significant amount of work. For more information of what the role entails, see Executor / Administrator Duties.
Can Power Reserved Be Reversed?
Yes, it is possible for Power Reserved to be reversed. An Executor who has had Power Reserved to them to become involved in the administration of the Estate at a later date if they wish. The Executor has not given up their power, instead they have stated that they agree to the other Executor administering the Estate on their behalf for the time being, but this is not a permanent agreement.
By having Power Reserved to them, the Executor will not need to take an active role in the Estate if they do not want to, but if the need arises at a later date for them to become more involved, then they still have the option to do so.