After Dumbledore dies, his will is executed by the Minister of Magic. In other words, the Minister delivers the objects that Dumbledore had bequeathed to Harry, Hermione, and Ron.

If I'm not mistaken, the Minister is the head of the British Magical Government, equivalent in position to the Prime Minister of Muggle Britain, and similar to the President of the US.

Why did such an important person do something so trivial?

Wouldn't it have been more logical for Dumbledore's lawyer to execute the will?

Was Dumbledore so famous and revered that the Minister just felt obliged?

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    (I have no proof of this, hence comment, not answer) I think the minister wanted to have at least the illusion of control over Dumbledore's will. Also, this wasn't the estate of some unimportant hedge-wizard: this was Dumbledore, the greatest magician of the age.
    – Martha
    Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 4:05
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    @Martha: I could see Fudge doing that kind of posturing, but Scrimgeour?
    – Kevin
    Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 6:41
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    He wanted to interrogate the youngsters, to see them receiving the objects and see if they recognise them, or would tell him about their significance. Suffice to say, in the second war with Voldemort, the Ministry is not doing business as usual.
    – AJFaraday
    Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 10:46
  • Also, not really sure whether there are wizard lawyers scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/146726/…
    – user13267
    Commented Mar 2, 2018 at 12:22
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    I think it has to do something with respect. Image WWII wasn't won by the allies but Albert Einstein who built a robot suit and confronted Hitler in an epic standoff, and after defeating him goes back to being a regular scientist. The U.S. government would give him some sort of special treatment, even after death, no? And Dumbledore is the one who defeated Grindelwald and opposed Voldemort, so that is something.
    – SK19
    Commented Mar 2, 2018 at 12:35

3 Answers 3


The Ministry had kept the items Dumbledore left for inspection.

Before actually giving out the items specified in Dumbledore’s will to the people they were supposed to be given to, the Ministry kept them to inspect them first. The Ministry could only legally keep the items for thirty-one days before having to pass them on if they couldn’t prove the objects were dangerous, so when that time was up, they had to give them on.

“Dumbledore died over a month ago. Why has it taken this long to give us what he left us?’

‘Isn’t it obvious?’ said Hermione, before Scrimgeour could answer. ‘They wanted to examine whatever he’s left us. You had no right to do that!’ she said, and her voice trembled slightly.

‘I had every right,’ said Scrimgeour dismissively. ‘The Decree for Justifiable Confiscation gives the Ministry the power to confiscate the contents of a will –”
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 7 (The Will of Albus Dumbledore)

The Ministry might not handle all wills, though - they wanted to inspect Dumbledore’s items specifically.

Scrimgeour also wanted to question them about the items.

When giving out the items, Scrimgeour also questioned Harry, Ron and Hermione about why Dumbledore would leave them these particular items. If he left someone else do it, he couldn’t question the intended recipients like he did. In addition, he thought there might be something hidden in the Snitch, so wanted to see Harry open it.

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    I think the last paragraph of your answer is actually the more important point. He wanted the opportunity to question the Trio (though primarily Harry) about what they were doing and why Dumbledore had left them those specific items. Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 10:22
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    @AnthonyGrist : and this also answers why those very important items were disguised as memorabilia of only sentimental value.
    – vsz
    Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 14:23
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    On top of questioning, he wanted to be there personally to hand Harry the Golden Snitch. He was hoping it would open or do something mysterious once Harry touched it. Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 14:53
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    I knew Harry was a crybaby. I didn't know he was greedy too. Patience, child! Commented Mar 1, 2018 at 19:49
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    @DCOPTimDowd Well, he did try to buy a solid gold cauldron on his first trip to Diagon Alley. He only just found out he was rich and already trying to buy nonsense!
    – Obsidia
    Commented Mar 1, 2018 at 20:19

The size of the UK wizarding population is small. Estimates vary, but it generally believed to be in the range of 3000-15000. See: During the events of the Harry Potter series what is the total population of Wizards/Witches globally? (which discusses the UK population as well as the global population)

That is, at most, the size of a small town, so the analogy that Minister of Magic = President doesn't work. A closer example would be that the Minister of Magic = Town Manager of Provincetown, Cape Cod. Even if the Ministry had not had a particular interest in examining Dumbledore's property, it would not be surprising for a town official, who knew the Headmaster personally, to take an interest in executing the will, especially in the situation that the headmaster has died a violent death.


You asked,

Why did the Minister of Magic execute Dumbledore's will? ... Wouldn't it have been more logical for Dumbledore's lawyer to execute the will?

Your premise -- that Dumbledore could have appointed a person (possibly, but not necessarily, a lawyer) to serve as the executor of his Will -- seems plausible at first, but it's not supported by the information provided in chapter 7, "The Will of Albus Dumbledore", of DH. In that chapter, we learn -- mostly in the form of a tense exchange between Hermione and Scrimgeour -- that the Ministry of Magic (a) has the authority to examine all wills, ostensibly to give it a chance to confiscate dark and/or dangerous objects, and (b) has up to 31 days to perform such an examination, before the contents of the wills must be shared with any beneficiaries. While not conclusive, these details strongly suggest that the Ministry of Magic might as well be considered to be the initial or even primary executor of a witch's or wizard's will.

Incidentally, executing a person's Last Will and Testament involves a lot of activities. Scrimgeour's service narrated in Chapter 7 -- reading a portion of the Will to the beneficiaries and handing over the objects specified in the Will -- is just one of these activities. Presumably, employees of the Ministry of Magic handled all other aspects of executing the Will during the 31-day period between Dumbledore's death and the day the Will was read by Scrimgeour to the Trio.

From the narrative of Chapter 7, the main -- and possibly even sole -- reason for why Scrimgeour performed this particular service was that he wanted to find out for himself why Dumbledore had chosen to bequeath some objects to the Trio: the Deluminator to Ron, Beadle's book to Hermione; and the Golden Snitch and the sword of Gryffindor to Harry.

Dumbledore provided absolutely no such information in his Will. He omitted this information precisely because (a) he anticipated that his Will (and the objects to be bequeathed) would be scrutinized carefully by the Ministry of Magic and (b) he couldn't afford to share any explicit information about the objects' purposes and powers with anyone at the Ministry, lest this information fall into the hands of Voldemort and the Death Eaters, who had thoroughly infiltrated the Ministry.

Recall that it was crucial to his plan that nobody but the Trio could know about Horcruxes and how they could be destroyed. If Dumbledore had provided a statement of the form "I bequeath the sword of Gryffindor to Harry because it can be used to destroy Horcruxes", Voldemort would have been tipped off that Dumbledore had learned about the Horcruxes.

An important aspect of the structure of DH is that the Trio has to learn, over a period of several months, what the deeper purposes and functions of these objects are and hence why Dumbledore bequeathed them.

  • This would be an excellent answer if you provide the source for the point made in your first paragraph (that the MoM is the executor of all wizards' wills).
    – Blackwood
    Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 14:04
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    @Blackwood - Thanks for this. I've rewritten the first paragraph substantially, to emphasize that my conclusion is based on inference rather than on a direct, unequivocal statement that may be found in the book.
    – Mico
    Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 17:02
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    I think that, with the edit, you make a good argument. Nice answer!
    – Blackwood
    Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 17:30

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