The far-reaching responsibilities of the Executor

News Article

Being appointed as the Executor in a friend or family member’s Will can be a daunting and difficult experience, as the role has far-reaching responsibilities and heavy administrative implications.

Under English law, your duties will extend for the full duration of the administration of the estate in question – which could run for several months or more. In many cases, it might be wise to instruct a specialist solicitor to act on your behalf.

An Executor’s responsibilities can be categorised into three key areas; estate administration duties, tax duties and legal duties.

Firstly, in terms of administering the estate itself, it will be your job to notify and communicate with all necessary persons and organisations in order to transfer the deceased’s assets and pay any debts due. This will involve preparing and distributing estate accounts to beneficiaries and other related parties correctly. You will also be held responsible for identifying any of the deceased’s unclaimed or missing assets.

As far as tax matters are concerned, you will be expected to complete and submit an Inheritance Tax (IHT) return on behalf of the deceased, and also handle the payment of any IHT owed. Furthermore, you will need to complete any relevant Capital Gains Tax (CGT) and Income Tax returns and documentation where necessary.

On the legal front, first and foremost, you will need to apply for a Grant of Representation or Grant of Probate before you are legally authorised to administer the estate in question – which may involve attending a Court. In the event that the deceased has no Will, you will need to seek Letters of Administration from the Court. You will also be responsible for identifying, handling and negotiating any claims against the estate.

During difficult times such as in the aftermath of an unexpected death, many individuals find handling such duties on behalf of a loved one an upsetting and overwhelming task. Fortunately, by consulting with Palmers Solicitors, it is entirely possible to appoint an estate administration expert to handle all of the Executor’s duties on your behalf.

Palmers Solicitors advise on all aspects of Wills and IHT. For more information, please contact Tim Steele of our South Woodham Ferrers Private Client team at