Executor: the role for life

As an executor, it is your job to administer and distribute all the deceased’s assets and have anything specifically mentioned in the will actioned.

Whilst anyone can be an executor it’s normally a person known to the deceased: a family member, friend or colleague. This role is not to be taken lightly as there are a lot of duties to be carried out. The process to be removed from executorship can be rather complicated especially if the administrative tasks have already started being divided up. The only way of getting out of being an executor once the administrative tasks have started is by applying to ‘retire,’ this requires a very good reason i.e. health reasons, this is normally done through the courts and has to be approved by a judge.

A maximum of four executors can be named in the will, normally a minimum of two are asked to spread the duties out.

The main duties of an executor are:

  • Listing and collecting of all the person’s financial affairs, so that companies/individuals can be notified by a death certificate.
  • Collect the most up to date version of the will.
  • Make copies of the will for the other executors for information on the dependents.
  • Organising the funeral, keeping to the will for any wishes to be carried out.
  • Inform the family, friends and colleagues of the death.
  • Entering and securing the person’s property.
  • Have an inventory list made and valued.
  • Pay for any outstanding bills or taxes through the person’s bank accounts.
  • Distribute the estate by the terms of the will, making sure at least two trustees have been named for anything left to children under 18.
  • If anything has been specifically given to someone then they are allowed to receive it before the probate has been granted.

Problems could arise out of disputes between family members who think they should be entitled to some of the property or if the executors cannot reach an agreement with the dividing of the assets. This is where it could be beneficial to have a neutral party added as an executor or have a solicitor present.

It is important to make sure you have appointed an executor that you trust and will complete all the tasks. Have this done sooner rather than later – contact us for help & advice.


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