As well as considering how an estate should be distributed, someone making a Will needs to give thought to appointing an executor of the Will, who will be responsible for administering the estate. An executor can be a family member, friend or professional, such as a solicitor. The executor should be chosen carefully and must be willing and capable of carrying out the role.
The Executor’s duties
An executor is responsible for administering the deceased’s estate in accordance with the terms of the Will and the law. The executor’s duties include:
Who should be appointed an executor?
You can appoint one executor and up to a maximum of four. Substitute executors can also be appointed should the original executor be unable or unwilling to act when the time comes.
The executors should be over 18 and not be bankrupt or in prison.
The executors should be organised, business-like, good with financial matters and willing to dedicate considerable amounts of time to the administration of the estate. Probate and Estate Administration typically takes between 9 to 12 months to complete and a lot of work is required during this time.
The executors should ideally be resident in the UK, as it will be difficult for someone living abroad to carry out the required duties in a timely manner. Furthermore the estate administration can potentially become protracted and very cumbersome if too many executors are spread over a wide geographical area.
Executors should not generally be chosen from an older generation as they may not outlive you.
What does it mean if I have been named as an executor?
Being named as an executor in a Will is a big responsibility. There are practical, immediate steps that need to be taken to safeguard the estate, as well as the long term duties of valuing the estate, applying for the Grant, gathering the assets and settling all taxes and liabilities.
As executor, you are responsible for paying all the beneficiaries. However, you need to ensure all taxes are paid and debts are honoured, as an executor can be held liable for mistakes and oversights if things go wrong, even if those mistakes were made in good faith.
You are not obliged to take on the role of executor. As it is a role for life, you should therefore think carefully before committing to taking on the role and before taking any steps in relation to the estate. If you do decide to commit to the role, you can instruct a professional to assist you so that the estate is administered correctly.
The NewLaw Executorship Service
At NewLaw Solicitors we can ease the burden for your loved ones if you choose to appoint us as executors. Our executorship service is carried out through our trust corporation, New Law Trustees Limited.
The benefits of appointing us as executor:
The NewLaw Executorship Service includes:
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