Sudden illness of Hilary Clinton reminds us to choose our executors wisely.

Hilary Clinton becomes suddenly unwell! That was unexpected! What lessons can we learn in the context of a probate?

When you choose your executors, you will usually use one or more people you know and trust to take care of the administration of your estate when you die. Someone organised and capable and in good health. Someone like Hilary Clinton (assuming she is a close relative or friend).

What happens if the worst happens and your executor dies? There are numerous scenarios:

Your executor dies before you do (the other executors act alone or if sole executor an administrator is appointed under probate rules (NCPR 1987 rule 20));
Your executor dies after you and before applying for probate (the other executors  take over or an administrator is appointed under probate rules, as above);
Your executor dies after having obtained probate (if he has an executor that executor becomes your executor, provided the “chain of representation” is not broken, otherwise an administrator is appointed under the probate rules (as above))

It is clear that the choice of executor should be thought through carefully.  Their own health is important, but also you need to spread your risk.  Appoint more than one executor.  Include some alternates, to act if for any reason the appointed ones do not wish to or cannot act.  Think about appointing a firm of solicitors either as primary executor or as alternate.

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