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Frequently Asked Questions

Some frequently asked questions on probate practice and law:

  • Can I pay out sums for moral obligations owed by the deceased? In the executor's oath you promise to administer the estate according to the will, and on an intestacy, according to the rules set down in law. It is often the case that an executor knows that the deceased would have wanted this or that payment to be made, but that is not provided for in the will, or in the intestacy rules, and it is not strictly a legal debt. In such cases the executor must act in accordance with the rules as set down. He can not make such payments as of right. Nevertheless, he can do so if those from whose share that payment is to be deducted agree. Where such a beneficiary is under age, he cannot safely give consent. Similarly, the executor will have to satisfy himself that he will still have enough to pay any debts in the estate after paying out the amounts he chooses to.
    The principle is simple. You are free to make a will, and free to change it. A will is designed to be the sole and only indication of your last wishes. Therefore, the law is most reluctant to allow any other consideration to add any gloss to the will.
Important: Please note that our law-bytes are retained for archival purposes only. The law changes, and these notes are often, now, out of date. You must take direct advice on your own personal situation and the law as it currently stands.
All information on this site is in general and summary form only. The content of any page on this site may be out of date and or incomplete, and you should not not rely directly upon it. Take direct professional legal advice which reflects your own particular situation.
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Copyright and Database Rights: David Swarbrick 2012
18 October 2013 400 18 October 2013