The Role And Appointment Of Executors In Wills

The executor is an individual named in the testator’s Will to take responsibility for the administration of their estate upon death. The role can be a complicated and time consuming task to undertake with the process often lasting several months. Whilst the specific duties of executorship vary depending on the Will in question, there are essentially four primary responsibilities that each executor can expect to carry out during the administration process:

  • Ascertaining the value of the Deceased’s Estate.
  • Obtaining Authority from the Probate Registry.
  • Pay any Inheritance Tax due.
  • Distributing the Estate to the Beneficiaries.

Carrying out these duties can be a real challenge and it is therefore useful, though not compulsory, to appoint as executor an individual experienced in administrative tasks and who knows their way around legal, tax and property issues. Appointing a family member is a particularly common method and ideal in many situations in order to save money. If a family member is chosen however, it is important to make sure that they have expressly agreed to the role, as a refusal will result in the Will having to be changed. Likewise, it is important when appointing an executor to think carefully before choosing a husband, wife or partner, as the role could be a burden on top of the grief they may already be suffering.

An ideal situation is to appoint two executors; one as a family member and the other as a solicitor who can give specialist bespoke knowledge on how to administrate the deceased’s affairs. Whilst solicitor fees can be paid for by the estate, family members cannot be paid for their services unless expressly stated in the Will. However, if the family member suffers a loss of earnings as a result of carrying out their responsibilities, these losses can be claimed back as part of the administration of the estate.

At Seatons, our team of highly trained solicitors have a wealth of experience in Estate Administration and provide clear, easy to understand legal advice at low sensible fees. For more information, feel free to give us a call on 01536 276300.