The Law Society Library helps answer a query about an executor’s rights to dispose of the deceased’s property before grant of probate.

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Can an executor dispose of the deceased’s property before grant of probate? 

Under the Administration of Estates Act 1925 s.1(1), the personal representative has legal title of the deceased’s estate vested in him upon the deceased’s death. 

Sweet and Maxwell’s Conveyancing Practice (loose leaf) para. 6-126 and Emmet on Title (loose leaf) para. 12.149 state that in consequence of the Administration of Estates Act 1925 s.1(1) the executor has the power, before obtaining probate, to contract to sell or convey any part of the deceased’s estate. 

However, in practice, this course of action is not recommended as a purchaser cannot be forced to accept a conveyance until a grant of probate has been obtained. 

Newton v Metropolitan Railway Co (1861) 5 LT 542 and Re Stevens [1898] 1 Ch 162 are cited as authority that a non-proving executor could not force his title upon a purchaser unless he provides a grant of probate.   

Last checked 02/10/17

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While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.