Family with baby after learning about annexed meaning in a Will.

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Annexed Meaning in a Will: What You Need to Know

What does “with will annexed” mean? Learn more about the meaning of “annexed” as it relates to wills, trusts, and estate planning documentation.

Patrick Hicks

Patrick Hicks, @PatrickHicks

Head of Legal, Trust & Will

Traditionally, Wills are responsible for naming the executor of an estate plan — the representative in charge of overseeing everything. If for nothing else, who better to delegate such a fragile process than a person of the decedent’s own choosing? With a knowledgeable executor, estate plans are facilitated efficiently and respectfully. It is worth noting, however, that some Wills neglect to nominate an executor or the desired individual is unable to serve. 

Nonetheless, Wills need someone to carry out their decedent’s final wishes, which begs the question: What happens when the original executor can’t participate in the process? The Will is annexed meaning it is handed over to another administrator. 

Instead of blindly trusting your Will to a subsequent administrator, educate yourself on the annexed meaning, at least as it pertains to final estate plans. This guide should tell you everything you need to know, including:

Annexed Definition

The term “annexed” refers to the act of attaching to or building on something that is already in existence. The annex of a building, for example, is often used to describe a new wing or addition. That said, the annexed meaning diverges slightly when contextualizing Wills and their respective administrators. When a Will is annexed, it is simply referring to the addition of a new administrator in the unforeseen absence of an executor.  

What Does “With Will Annexed” Mean?

“With Will annexed” means additions have been made to the Will. More specifically, “with Will annexed” refers to the replacement of the existing executor with a new administrator. There are several reasons a Will may be annexed, but the most common reason is that there is no current executor. Therefore, more often than not, an annexed Will indicates the probate court has made the decision to appoint an administrator to the Will. That way, the administrator can do what they do best: facilitate the final wishes and obligations of the estate plan.

What Does “Administrator with Will Annexed” Mean?

“Administrator with Will annexed” means the addition to the Will was an administrator. Instead of carrying on without an executor, the court will appoint an administrator to fill the role. Otherwise known as an administrator with the Will annexed, the newly appointed administrator will replace the executor to the best of their ability.

The absence of an administrator would mean the Will (the decedent's final wishes) has nobody to see it through. Consequently, debt obligations would remain, taxes would still be owed, and beneficiaries wouldn’t receive their inheritance. Only when an administrator is attached to the Will can each of the line items be completed.

What Does it Mean When a Will Has Been Annexed?

When a Will is annexed, it means there has been an addition made. That’s not to say filing for probate can change the decedent’s final wishes, but rather that it needs an executor or administrator in place to proceed. Therefore, if no executor was named, or they can’t (or won’t) fulfill the role, the probate court will annex the Will and add an executor to oversee the process. Then, and only then, can an estate plan proceed according to the decedent’s wishes.

Learn More About How to Create A Sound Will With Trust & Will

In the event a Will makes it to probate court without a named executor, or the named executor can’t fulfill their duties, the legal system will appoint a new administrator. Otherwise known as “administrator with Will annexed,” this process is specifically put in place to ensure the decedent’s estate plan has someone to oversee its execution. With an administrator in place, important tasks like distributing assets to beneficiaries and managing debt obligations won’t go unattended. As a result, it’s in your best interest to understand the annexed meaning; the sooner you do, the safer your estate plan will be.

If you want to make sure your Will has the best chance of being executed by someone you trust, you’ll want to make sure you have a sound Will in place. Here at Trust & Will, we’re here to help keep things simple. You can create a fully customizable, state-specific estate plan from the comfort of your own home in just 20 minutes. Take our free quiz to see where you should get started, or compare our other estate planning and settlement options today! 

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