Book review of Williams, Mortimer & Sunnucks – Executors, Administrators and Probate – 22nd Edition

 In Book Reviews for Private Client practitioners

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Book review of Williams, Mortimer & Sunnucks – Executors, Administrators and Probate – 22nd EditionThis is a book review by Gill Steel of Williams, Mortimer & Sunnucks – Executors, Administrators and Probate – 22nd Edition.


This book is designed to provide a comprehensive text on the process of estate administration from whether a Grant is required through to distribution of the estate whether testate or intestate, solvent or insolvent.

This book is a companion to Theobald on Wills. The detailed treatment of the law on the validity of Wills has been incorporated there instead and in an effort to keep this edition of Williams, Mortimer and Sunnucks as concise as possible there is just a brief summary of the law on validity included in this edition.


There are eight parts to this text:

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  • Part 1 covers preliminary matters
  • Part 2 covers Executors and Administrators
  • Part 3 relates to Obtaining a Grant
  • Part 4 deals with Devolution and Liability
  • Part 5 covers the Administration of Estates
  • Part 6 looks at Family Provision
  • Part 7 covers Administration and other actions
  • Part 8 deals with Distribution of Assets

The text takes into account the development of online probate applications whilst retaining details of the paper procedure, which is still required for the more complex cases. There is also a whole chapter on digital assets. Following Brexit, cross-border estates have become even more complex, and this text helps the practitioner find a way through all the difficulties.

Structure & Layout

Within each part of the book is a number of chapters each of which is sub-divided by topic. There is an extensive table of cases, a table of statutes and a table of statutory instruments. Each sub paragraph within the book has a heading and is numbered for ease of reference.
The text runs freely with references referred to in footnotes on each page.

Clarity & readability

Dealing with tax and the administration of estates can be both baffling and complex. This book approaches such difficult topics like the Residence Nil Rate Band by succinctly explaining the rules and providing a logical progression through all the terminology.

There are some oddities, in that the reference in the index to Insolvent estates does not direct you to the part of the text which covers the detailed treatment of such an estate. Instead, this is located in the chapter dealing with the payment of debts. But this is to be picky.

The text is so comprehensive it is easy to see why it was difficult to shave hardly any pages off its length despite switching some content to Theobald on Wills.

Relevance to practitioners

This book is relevant to all practitioners handling estate administration and should form part of a firm’s private client bookshelf whether in paper form or electronic.


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