Responsibilities of an executor

Being appointed as someone’s executor can seem like a daunting undertaking so we’ve set out some simple and easy to digest information to help you out.

Please note that this is by no means an exhaustive list of what may be required, and we can cannot be held responsible for any liability that arises from mistakes you’ve made during the probate process. If you have any questions, ring us and speak to our friendly and professional team.

What is an executor?

An executor is appointed in a Will to manage the estate after the Will maker (the testator) has passed away. It’s common for this to be a close family member, friend or a professional like Philip Anthony Associates.

Who should I pick as my executor?

Great question. You need to give careful consideration to who you choose as your executor/s as they will have a number of responsibilities after you’ve gone. Choose someone who you expect will outlive you, that can shoulder the burden of the probate process at what will undoubtedly be a difficult time, make sure this person has the mental aptitude to deal with some of the complexities involved, and choose someone who you trust.

If you have any doubts or don’t feel your have anyone who will be able to assist, consider picking a professional executor like PAA. Remember, where you choose a professional, they will levy charges upon the estate for the work they undertake. At PAA our charges are always reasonable and transparent. If you would like an indication of the charges, speak to us in advance.

You can appoint up to 4 executors but this might not always be practical. Consider appointing people who live in either England and Wales (not abroad). Also consider appointing one with a reserve in case they cannot or will not act.

What are their duties?

In short, the responsibilities are to apply for the grant of probate (the power given by the court to deal with the estate), to draw in assets, to pay off any liabilities and to distribute the estate in accordance with the Will. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Sadly it’s not quite that simple.

Firstly you need to understand that as an executor you could be financial liable for any mistakes made when managing the process. This means you’ll need to complete all the necessary tax forms correctly and then double check. You’ll need to satisfy yourself that you’ve drawn in all the assets, that you’re dealing with the last Will and Testament, that you’ve set up any trusts and registered them (that are instructed in the Will), that you’ve dealt with the Land Registry in respect of any property, and that you’ve paid the correct people at the correct time.

Dealing with an estate can take a while and isn’t a five-minute job.

What if I have questions?

The good news is that we’re on hand to help. If you’re dealing with an estate and you have questions, call us and we’ll help where we can. If you’re writing your Will and you’re not sure who to appoint, speak to us and we’ll talk through your options giving you pros and cons to think about.

Call us on 0800 970 0649