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What Does Being an Executor of a Will Entail?

By: J.A.J Aaronson - Updated: 4 Oct 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Executor Executors Will Probate

One of the most fundamental elements of any will is the naming of the executor or executors. These should be trusted individuals who have been consulted prior to their nomination. Crucially, they must be prepared to do some practical work with regard to the settling of the deceased individual's estate.

Responsibilities

In the terms of the law, the executor is required to 'collect, get in, and administer according to law the estate of the deceased'. In more specific terms, it is their duty to execute the wishes of the deceased. In this way, their first responsibility will be to settle any outstanding debts which are owed by the estate, and to assess any such claims made by banks or other financial institutions.

Following this they will be required to arrange for payment of any inheritance tax which may be owed by the estate and, of course, to carry out the disbursement of the remaining assets to the named beneficiaries. Finally, it will also fall to the executor to investigate the possibility of any further heirs.

It is possible for a solicitor or professional executor to be named in a will. However if, as is generally the case, a family member or friend has been nominated, they may choose to enlist the help of such a third party to aid them in their work. In these cases, the named executor has a substantial amount of choice as to how much of the work he or she carries out; a solicitor could be employed to carry out almost all of the work or, alternatively, only a small proportion of it. The executor's decision as to whether or not to enlist such help will of course be affected by the complexities of the affairs in question; in many cases, their duties will be no more than the disbursement of the contents of a bank account.

Minimum Commitment

Whether or not help from a third party is arranged, the named executor will be expected to carry out at least some of the work. Most frequently this entails performing the initial tasks associated with locating and valuing the deceased individual's assets. Again, depending on the size and complexity of the estate, this can be a very simple or a very complex task. Similarly, it is often expected that the executor will make the appropriate funeral arrangements, in line with the directions given in the will.

At a very minimum, the executor should assume that they will be required to lend their signature to a variety of documents.

In the first instance, and before any other action is taken, the executor must receive legal ratification of his or her right to take control of the assets in the estate. This requires them to apply for a Grant of Probate from the Probate Registry, which it will be necessary to produce before any bank or other relevant institution will hand over control of assets.

Although executorships can be a significant amount of work, it should be noted that the individuals in question are legally entitled to be reimbursed their expenses from the estate. The task should not, therefore, be to their financial detriment.

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kevino - Your Question:
Hi my dad died in aug 2017.my step mum of 5 yrs has collected dads will from a solicitor his solicitor wont give me any info.we know we are in his will she wont speak to us anymore ,her friend has helped her empty his accounts just before he died and after with 10 death certificates advised dad to move £25000 to another account as interest in the bank was low 2 years ago.I asked him where it went his sarcastic reply was I only advise them.my stepmum did this to her only daughter 20 yrs ago and they havent spoke since.we don't know where to go tried every where.her friend was heard a few weeks ago on loud speaker saying ive drew you £1500 out for her holiday suspect they have a new bank account some where he never denied any of this.need help please

Our Response:
Can you not employ a solicitor of your own? They will be able to find out whether there was a Will and to contact the legal professional that help to execute it.
TheWillExpert - 4-Oct-17 @ 2:55 PM
hi my dad died in aug 2017 .my step mum of 5 yrshas collected dads will from a solicitor his solicitor wont give me any info .we know we are in his will she wont speak to us anymore ,her friend has helped her empty his accounts just before he died and after with 10 death certificatesadvised dad to move £25000 to another account as interest in the bank was low 2 years ago .I asked him where it went his sarcastic reply was I only advise them .my stepmum did this to her only daughter 20 yrs ago and they havent spoke since.we don't know where to go tried every where .her friend was heard a few weeks ago on loud speaker saying ive drew you £1500 out for her holiday suspect they have a new bank account some where he never denied any of this.need help please
kevino - 4-Oct-17 @ 6:33 AM
Teg - Your Question:
My friend of a considerable amount of years has asked me to be an executive of his will , what does this entail. will it cost me anything and how am.I protected if they occur debt

Our Response:
The executor is repsonsible for getting the estate valued, assessing any liability for Inheritance Tax (IHT), paying off any debts owed (with the money from the estate) and generally carrying out the wishes of the deceased distributing gift/bequests made by in the Will etc. You are not personally liable for any debt as an executor.
TheWillExpert - 3-Oct-17 @ 10:15 AM
My friend of a considerable amount of years has asked me to be an executive of his will , what does this entail . will it cost me anything and how am.I protected if they occur debt
Teg - 30-Sep-17 @ 12:57 PM
Hi, my Dad died in 2002 and his mum wrote her will when she was not well in 2006. She was at the start of dementia. She died in 2010. My Nan's daughter and her daughter's husband were with her when she wrote her will. All of my Nan's kids were beneficiaries of a certain amount each and the will states if they die before my Nan's then their inheritance goes straight to their kids. My Dad was already dead when this will was wrote and I was not put in the will yet the others are if their parents die which since the will was written 2 of my Nan's children died and there inheritance went to my cousin's, my Nan's grandkids. I have a copy of the will and just want to know is there anything I can do? Its not fair. I feel hurt and I feel like they used my dad's death as an excuse to keep more money for themselves.
Suzie sue - 13-Sep-17 @ 8:36 PM
Looby1lou - Your Question:
My mother is in hospital with a terminal illness. When my mother passes away me and my brother are both executors of the estate. My brother lives with my mum and he has changed the locks of mums house, whuch she owns, to prevent me entering. Can he do this?

Our Response:
If you're both executors, you will both need to be able to enter the property in order to carry out the terms of your mother's Will. While she's still alive, and the property doesn't belong to you, we guess your brother can do as he likes.
TheWillExpert - 13-Sep-17 @ 1:47 PM
My mother is in hospital with a terminal illness. When my mother passes away me and my brother are both executors of the estate. My brother lives with my mum and he has changed the locks of mums house, whuch she owns, to prevent me entering. Can he do this?
Looby1lou - 11-Sep-17 @ 9:19 PM
Sean - Your Question:
I got contacted by an geneolgist and heir hunters they told me my uncle died 12 years ago I told a relative and they went straight to the government and made the claim the relative has just gave me £700 with no paperwork etc ? How can I find out if this is the amount that I entitled to? Is this the correct procedure the relative should follow? Please advise

Our Response:
See responses for similar question below.
TheWillExpert - 14-Aug-17 @ 2:23 PM
I got contacted by an geneolgist and heir hunters they told me my uncle died 12 years ago i told a relative and they went straight to the government and made the claim the relative has just gave me £700 with no paperwork etc ? How can I find out if this is the amount that I entitled to? Is this the correct procedure the relative should follow? Please advise
Sean - 12-Aug-17 @ 1:32 AM
Debb5 - Your Question:
My uncle died 12years ago I was contacted by heir hunters I told my brother and he took control and went straight to bona vacatia he has just put £800 in my account he said that's my share? I have seen no break down of accounts no evidence etc is this correct?

Our Response:
Have you asked your brother? Or could you contact the Bona Vacantia department yourself - bvinfo@governmentlegal.gov.uk
TheWillExpert - 8-Aug-17 @ 10:07 AM
My uncle died 12years ago I was contacted by heir hunters I told my brother and he took control and went straight to bona vacatia he has just put £800 in my account he said that's my share? I have seen no break down of accounts no evidence etc is this correct?
Debb5 - 5-Aug-17 @ 2:17 AM
Andy - Your Question:
My father has past and the content of the estate was to be split between the siblings equaly. But one sibling has completely stripped the estate of all content. Is there any thing I can do about this

Our Response:
Taking legal action is the only way to resolve this if you cannot reason with your sibling.
TheWillExpert - 30-Jun-17 @ 2:10 PM
My father has past and the contentof the estate was to be split betweenthe siblings equaly. But one sibling has completelystripped the estate of all content.Is there any thing I can do about this
Andy - 30-Jun-17 @ 7:36 AM
Jan - Your Question:
My Father made a joint will with my Mother. On his death she went back to the same solicitor and they charged her for a new Will with no codiciles. My Mother had schizophrenia for which she was given injections and was under a S117 and before her death dementia. The solicitors have named themselves as her executors. Myself and my brothers want to do probate ourselves. There are no others to inherit and there will not be inheritance tax. We are furious that they abused their positions, didn't even consider asking that one of us act as executors. We also have one brother who is in permanent mental health care so we need to put in place a trust for his share. Can we dismiss the solicitors on the grounds they misrepresented her interests?

Our Response:
Probably not, maybe they assumed it would be easier if they were the executors or maybe they just used the same instructions as they appeared in the original joint Will? It might be easier if you discuss this with them. We don't think you can simply dismiss "named executors" - seek a second opinion from another legal professional.
TheWillExpert - 19-Jun-17 @ 2:21 PM
My Father made a joint will with my Mother.On his death she went back to the same solicitor and they charged her for a new Will with no codiciles.My Mother had schizophrenia for which she was given injections and was under a S117 and before her death dementia.The solicitors have named themselves as her executors.Myself and my brothers want to do probate ourselves.There are no others to inherit and there will not be inheritance tax.We are furious that they abused their positions, didn't even consider asking that one of us act as executors.We also have one brother who is in permanent mental health care so we need to put in place a trust for his share.Can we dismiss the solicitors on the grounds they misrepresented her interests?
Jan - 15-Jun-17 @ 8:24 PM
My Mam was named executor of my step Dads will however she passed away first but my Mam named me has the executor of her Will. her will says that everything goes to her children, his will said that his children get £3000 each everything else goes to Mam,, if he didnt change is will between Mam passing n him passing who becomes executor, his oldest or executor named in Mam will. ME ? thanks
Jimbo - 6-Jun-17 @ 7:43 PM
My dad passed away 3 years ago and left no will I have been to a solicitor we have been through probate and my solocator name me the executor but there is also one other person a second party she's not an executor just needed a second party for probate do I have the final say on the sale of the house
JueDrop - 30-May-17 @ 2:39 PM
Buddy - Your Question:
My father died in February 2015. My brother and I have been executors since the 1997 Will was made, when mum and dad severed the joint tenancy and, as tenants in common and became trustees, setting up a deed of trust for me, my sister and brother. On the death of our mother in 2004 my brother and I were also made trustees. We were informed by mum and dad,s solicitors that we now owned the property along with dad. The property has never been registered with land registry. The property is not part of the Estate, and we have an offer on it. Do we need a grant of probate to complete the sale? There is not enough value in the residual estate, although more than £8000in cash is unaccounted for, which I am somewhat worried!As we are over 2 years from dad,s death we do now need to conclude matters in the interests of all beneficiaries

Our Response:
Sorry but we can't answer questions with such a lot of individual influencing factors involved. You'd really be better speaking to a solicitor.
TheWillExpert - 16-May-17 @ 2:28 PM
My father died in February 2015. My brother and I have been executors since the 1997 Will was made, when mum and dad severed the joint tenancy and, as tenants in common and became trustees, setting up a deed of trust for me, my sister and brother. On the death of our mother in 2004 my brother and I were also made trustees. We were informed by mum and dad,s solicitors that we now owned the property alongwith dad. The property has never been registered with land registry. The property is not part of the Estate, and we have an offer on it. Do we need a grant of probate to complete the sale? There is not enough value in the residual estate, although more than £8000in cash is unaccounted for, which I am somewhat worried! As we are over 2 years from dad,s death we do now need to conclude matters in the interests of all beneficiaries
Buddy - 15-May-17 @ 3:38 PM
modycar - Your Question:
My father died in 2012 a few weeks later my brother asked me to sign papers to sign house over to my mum which I did as he walked away he said your a named executor to his will at the time I thought nothing of it.over the last few years everything is cloak and dagger so I asked to see my dads will and now im being accused of trying to get her credit card details my brother has convinced her im only after her money he is her carerer and has convinced her that im up to no good.can someone help me on what I can do.

Our Response:
If you'rethe executor to the Will, then you should be involved in administering it although why it's still an issue after5 is a bit of a worry. Seek advice from a solicitor.
TheWillExpert - 5-May-17 @ 11:43 AM
my father died in 2012 a few weeks later my brother asked me to sign papers to sign house over to my mum which i did as he walked away he said your a named executor to his will at the time i thought nothing of it.over the last few years everything is cloak and dagger so i asked to see my dads will and now im being accused of trying to get her credit card details my brother has convinced her im only after her money he is her carerer and has convinced her that im up to no good.can someone help me on what i can do.
modycar - 4-May-17 @ 3:39 PM
The previous story is mine, everyone keeps telling us that we should challenge probate. Is it possible in any way to do this? We feel that my uncle should have his last wishes, why should they just walk away with everything when they & everyone else knew it is not what he wanted? I would be grateful for any offer of advice. Would we have to pay for a solicitor if this could be challenged? Thank you.
Lea - 13-Mar-17 @ 8:01 AM
My sister, niece & I have taken care of my uncle first the past 15 years. I took care of all his paperwork when necessary & I organised my Aunts funeral when she passed away. My uncle was very wealthy & always said that we would be taken care of. We pleaded with him about making a will as he refused to have any contact with his surviving brother or nephews/niece's, he never did want contact with his side of the family, I don't know why. He told my sister that everything was in order & where to find his documents in the event of anything happening to him. A week ago he was taken into hospital critically I'll & signed a paper naming my sister as next of kin. He gave stricked instructions to the staff that there was to be no contact whatsoever with his family. He pleaded with us not to leave him so we stayed with him & slept beside his bed all week. Sadly he passed away in the early hours of Sunday morningwith us holding his hands. We were devastated. When we went to collect his documents we found he had written his last wishes on a piece of paper, leaving his estate to our family. Unfortunately, he did not sign the paper & there were no witness signatures, I was mortified. My sister has seen a solicitor but under the law my uncles family shall inherit the estate & we shall receive nothing. Again we are devastated on top of grieving, his family think the news is wonderful, my heart is broken. All I can say to you all is PLEASE MAKE A WILL, don't put your loved ones through what we are experiencing. We have no rights & certainly not the money to even try to fight the decision in court. Thanking you for listening & may I wish you all love & good health for the future.
Lea - 24-Feb-17 @ 9:24 PM
Me and my husband find yourselfs in a mess with my sister in laws will, she has dementia and my husband has court of protection and therefore could obtain a copy of her will, it came and to our horror she's not updated her will since 1991, and my husband's ex wife is an executive as well as my husband has they were married at the time, we have been together 22years and we both look after my sister in law and know she wouldn't have wanted this especially since they divorced and she would be horrified at the mistake she's made, she's in a nursing home and my husband's obviously upset has she's also left her jewelery too his ex wife. We are both stunned.
Maggie - 20-Feb-17 @ 7:50 PM
hi can anyone help my sister is refusing to sign the oaththere is no will been found we have been applying to probate with both my sisters and myself as executors but the solicitor has stated that two can move forward as executors we have endless trouble with my sister she refuses to sign an oath.And the solicitor has said myself and my other sister can go forward for probate without her ,but has said that she is still entitledto here equal share of the estate is this correct.
stef - 27-Jan-17 @ 1:20 PM
Our dad passed away august 2016 my step mom passed in 2011 her son bullied my dad n he gave him more than his share of will I'm an executor n my dad tried to get hold of his stepson to get him off will but was terminally ill very quickly now the solicitor I employed to help is trying to penny pinch it's been five month now n nothing n even tho the other executor had a big chunk now he is after half of wats left which isn't alot he's a police officer surely him threatening my dad n takin money is a fraudulent offence can anyone help me understand where this is right n solicitor making it all bout the step brother who is not blood related n all my dad's bank have said he's incompetent as did will people wat can I do now v
Angel - 16-Jan-17 @ 6:57 PM
strech- Your Question:
I want to know if I would be in line for executor if my husband for reason got sick. I am his POA and we are legally married.

Our Response:
The person makes the Will usually names the executor(s).If no executors are named, family members are entitled to apply for a Grant of Probate to allow them to administer your estate.
TheWillExpert - 16-Jan-17 @ 11:15 AM
I want to know if I would be in line for executor if my husband for reason got sick. I am his POA and we are legally married.
strech - 15-Jan-17 @ 4:18 AM
My sister died I understand there was a will. My daughter and our cousin was executors. My brother in law has not included them and said everything went to him. Should they have carried out their excecuters role before the estate went to my brother in law
Helen - 30-Dec-16 @ 8:47 PM
Hi my mum has dementia and I have been caring for her full time for years. My brother has helped for the last few months but has decided he doesn't want to do it anymore and wants me to put her in a nursing home. I want to continue caring for her at home...I live next door but one to her. I am the executor of the will and my brother is named as receiving 30% on her death as he has been absent from our lives for the past 20 years. As I need to sleep at my mums I am never sleeping in my home now I am caring solely for her. I am considering selling both mine and my mums house and buying a bungalow, converting the garage into a bedroom and bathroom for my mum then at least I am sleeping in my own house at night. Will I need to get permission from my absent brother or can I just go ahead and sell without telling him as after my mums death the new house will be solely in my name therefore he won't be getting his 30%. I did say that putting my mum in a home would use all her money and that he would get nothing but he says he doesn't want a penny. I am determined to keep on caring for my mum at home but need to move to make life slightly easier.
Ditzy - 29-Dec-16 @ 3:51 PM
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