The role of an Executor

July 24, 2018

The role of an Executor

Acting as an Executor is a role for life.

When choosing your Executors, careful consideration needs to be given as to who to appoint:

  • It's a difficult and time consuming job.
  • The role carries personal legal liability.
  • Relatives may be too distressed to perform the role. 
  • Decisions could make them unpopular with beneficiaries. 

What is an Executor?
An Executor is appointed to carry out the wishes stated in your Will and it can involve considerable responsibility. We advise to check with your proposed Executors to see if they are willing to take on this role before naming them in your Will.

Your Executors may have to deal with any day to day administration of your estate but any expenses incurred whilst carrying out their duties can be claimed for.

What you should take into account when choosing an Executor:

  • Availability & suitability
  • Willingness to act
  • The possibility of them predeceasing you
  • Any possibility of conflict or dispute
  • The size, nature and location of the estate
  • The costs involved

How many can I appoint?
To cover all bases we always advise to name more than one Executor just in case one dies before you. Multiple Executors will also mean the work and responsibility is shared.

The tasks and duties of an Executor
An Executor has to carry out certain tasks and duties in order to legally fulfil the obligations of the task.
Below are some of the tasks that should be carried out:

  • Register the death at the Local Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (if there are no family willing to do so) and obtain multiple copies of the Death Certificate.
  • Collect the last original Will of the Deceased – location of which should have been disclosed by the Testator.
  • Locate all of the beneficiaries named in the Will.
  • Make a list of all the assets that make up the estate eg.
    - Property
    - Bank accounts
    - Investments
    - Pensions etc.
  • Make a list of all the liabilities (debts) and make sure these are paid before distributing the estate to the beneficiaries eg.
    - Credit card bills
    - Utilities
    - Loans etc.
  • Calculate and declare the value of the estate to HMRC using the appropriate paperwork within 12 months of the death.
  • Pay the Deceased’s Tax. This will be the Executor’s personal liability and failure to submit an accurate account to HMRC may leave you open to personal liability or penalties.
  • Complete and submit an application to the Local Probate Registry to obtain the Grant of Probate.
  • Distribute the contents of the Will.

It could seem that when choosing your Executor(s) it's an insignificant decision however, after seeing the responsibilities and duties that come as part of the role, would you still have the same people you have on your existing Will? Or consider the same individuals you first thought of?

For any appointments to write a Will or review an existing Will call 01656 788922 and we'd be happy to help you through the process.