Executor of Will Duties | A Complete Guide

by | Oct 15 2021 | Wills & Probate

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Being chosen to be an executor of a will can be very daunting. You will be personally liable for various responsibilities that you will have to carry out. Therefore, it’s crucial that you understand your role as an executor.

If you need help with administering a loved ones estate, we can help. Give us a call on 020 3795 9020.

What is the executor of a will? 

An executor of a will is the person who handles the estate after an individual has died. A person can have up to four executors to manage their estate. 

Typically an executor will be: 

  • A relative of the deceased or someone they had known for a long period.
  • Someone that the deceased trusted will be able to take the legal and practical responsibilities of the role. 

Please note an executor must be over the age of 18 and have mental capacity. Furthermore, they can be a beneficiary of your will as being the executor. 

Executor of will duties - LGBT Lawyers - Complete guide

The executor of a will duties 

The are many responsibilities that the executor will need to fulfil after a death. Therefore, to make the process easier we have created an 8 step guide that you can follow: 

Step One: What to do after someone dies

Executor of will duties step one

The first step of the executor of will duties is to register the death with the registry office (usually appointment only) within five days. To register the death, you’ll need either: 

  • A medical certificate from the GP or hospital 
  • Permission from the coroner confirming that they can register the death

After you have registered the deceased death, you will receive a certificate for burial and cremation. Upon receiving these documents, you can arrange the funeral. Be aware that the deceased may have funeral plans in their will. Therefore, you should locate the deceased will. 

Step Two: Locating the deceased will

The second step of the executor of will duties is to locate the deceased will. Typically, this is done by: 

  • Searching the deceased house
  • Contracting the deceased solicitor
  • Asking the deceased bank
  • Contacting the office of the NSW trustee and guardian. 

If you cannot find the will, the estate will follow the process of intestacy. This process involves the distribution of the estate by pre-determined formula and allocations. For more information on intestacy please our blog titled intestacy.

Step three: Managing inheritance tax as an executor of a will

executor of will duties step three

The third step of the executor of will duties is to deal with inheritance tax (IHT) via HMRC. As executor, it is your responsibility to assess the estate, complete the appropriate IHT forms, and pay any required IHT. 

You should seek legal assistance when attempting to estimate the value of an estate as doing it yourself can lead to complex issues if you undervalue the property as HMRC will challenge you.  

Please note, the value of the estate at the date of death affects the IHT. Furthermore, the date of death must also be submitted to the Court. 

Step four: Applying for a grant of probate as an executor of a will

Executor of will duties step four

The fourth step of the executor of will duties is applying for a grant of probate online via gov.uk or by post. To do this, you will need to be the executor and you: 

  • Must have the original will
  • Have the original death certificate or an interim death certificate from the coroner. 
  • Have reported the estate’s value to HMRC unless the estate’s value is below the tax threshold. 

When you apply for a grant of probate online, you will need to complete the IHT400 form.

The cost of the probate application is £215 if the value of the estate is £5,000. If the value of the estate is below £5,000, there is no fee. 

Please note, it is essential to obtain several court-stamped copies of the probate to enable you to deal with asset holders. The extra copies of the probate cost £1.50 each. 

If you need help adminestering your esate, we can help. We can put you in contact with a probate solicitor today.

Step Five: Managing the deceased’s finances as an executor of a will

Executor of will duties step five

The fifth step of the executor of will duties is dealing with the deceased’s financial liabilities. Typically this will include dealing with the following: 

  • The income position of the deceased from the date of their death
  • Capital gains tax liability of the disposal of assets

If there was an IHT liability, you must seek confirmation from the HMRC that there are no further enquiries.

Please note, if there are insufficient assets in the estate to settle the overall liabilities, the estate will become insolvent. If this happens, there is a prescribed order that you will need to the following when settling liabilities. 

Step 6: Placing a deceased estates notice as an executor of a will
Executor of will duties step six

The sixth step of the executor of will duties is to place a deceased estate notice in The Gazette and at least one local newspaper to the deceased.

This step is vital as placing a deceased estate notice presents that you have attempted to locate the creditors before distributing the estate to the beneficiaries. 

As an executor, you are personally liable, meaning you should attempt to do everything you can to protect yourself. Therefore, you should always wait at least 9 months from the date of the grant of probate to ensure that there are no claims by anyone who thinks they may have been unfairly disinherited or not provided for by the will.

Step 7: Administering the estate as an executor of a will
Executor of will duties step seven

The seventh step of the executor of will duties is administering the estate. Once the probate registry has permitted you to distribute the estate, you can begin. You will need to sell assets such as shares and investments or property and evenly distribute it to the will’s beneficiaries. 

Please note that you will consider who benefits under the will and discuss how they would like to receive the inheritance. It may arise that some of the beneficiaries will be happy to receive assets rather than have the assets sold. If this is the case, you will need consent from all the beneficiaries. Furthermore, if there is trust in the will, you will need to consider what to do with assets considering their future duties as trustees. 

Step 8: Documenting the estate accounts as an executor of a will
Executor of will duties step six

The eighth and final step of the executor of will duties is to ensure there is a comprehensive record detailing the estate’s accounts. The accounts should present to the beneficiaries a breakdown of distribution. Furthermore, you should seek to have them approve the final document. 

How can LGBT Lawyers help? 

Handling estate administration after a loved one’s death can be very stressful and complex. Therefore, we always recommend using a lawyer. 

There are many benefits to seeking legal advice after being named an executor, for example: 

  • They can advise you of your legal responsibilities as executor
  • Provide you with advice regarding inheritance tax
  • Make an application for the grant of probate on your behalf
  • Provide service for full estate administration

Here at LGBT Lawyers, we partner with various law firms that specialise in estate administration, probate, and wills. Whether you need advice on your duties or require a lawyer to administer an estate on your behalf, we can help. 

If you would like more information regarding wills and probate, please visit our wills and probate page.

Are you looking for lawyer that can help you administer an estate?

If you have been named an executor and need assistance, we can help.

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