An executor is a person named in a will that is responsible for administering the deceased estate. The executor’s role is always to administer the estate in the best interests of the beneficiaries.

In circumstances where the executor has deceased, unable or not willing to act, there are multiple avenues for the estate dependant on each circumstance.

Here are the general steps to be taken in such a situation:

Check the Will – multiple executors:

    • Review the deceased person’s will to see if there is a named successor or alternate executor. If such a person is designated, they can step in and assume the role.

Apply to the Supreme Court of NSW:

    • If there is no named successor or alternate executor, or if the designated person is unable or unwilling to act, an application can be made to the Supreme Court of NSW to appoint an administrator. This process is known as Letters of Administration with will annexed. This individual will then take on the responsibilities of administering the estate.

If the Letters of Administration with the Will Annexed is uncontested, it will be dealt with in the typical course. However, if there are issues or concerns in respect to the application, the applicant administrator may be required to attend upon the NSW Supreme Court.

Legal Assistance:

    • Seek legal advice with Catron Simmons Lawyers to ensure compliance with NSW laws and regulations. An attorney can assist in preparing and filing the necessary documents for the court application and guide you through the probate process.

Notification of Beneficiaries:

    • Inform the beneficiaries and other interested parties about the change in executorship or the appointment of an administrator. Keeping open communication is important throughout the process.

Probate Process:

    • The probate process in NSW involves filing a probate application with the Supreme Court, which includes providing details about the deceased person’s assets, debts, and beneficiaries. The court will issue a grant of probate or letters of administration, depending on the circumstances.

Assets and Debts:

    • The new executor or administrator will need to identify, gather, and manage the deceased person’s assets and settle outstanding debts before distributing the remaining estate to beneficiaries.

Court Approval:

    • The appointment of a new executor or administrator may require court approval, and the court will ensure that the person is suitable for the role.


    • Maintain detailed records of all actions taken during the estate administration to provide an accurate account if required.


What if the executor dies after probate is granted but before disbursements of the estate?

If the executor dies after a Grant of Probate from the Court, and there are no other Executors with the Grant of Probate, then the deceased Executors own Executor become the Executor of the original deceased (Probate matter) with all rights, duties and responsibilities.


It is crucial to consult with a solicitor at Catron Simmons Lawyers, 0407 171 626 in probate and estate administration in NSW to navigate the specific requirements and procedures in that jurisdiction.

Need legal advice? Catron Simmons can help.