What is an Executor of a Will? 

Whether you’re an executor for someone’s estate, or you’re looking to pick executors of your own, the rules and responsibilities associated with them can be complicated and confusing.

The role as executor involves carrying out the deceased’s wishes and ensuring that the whole estate is dealt with correctly. Appointing an executor is one of the most important decisions involved in writing a will and plays a crucial part in the smooth running of the administration of an estate.

Legacy Wills & Probate is a specialist provider of will writing services, in addition to long-term bloodline planning and probate applications. Our experienced team can work with you to offer a diverse range of services to suit your needs, in addition to practical advice and support.

We cover everything there is to know on executors, including what an executor is, what they do, and who can be one:

What is an Executor?

In short, an executor is the person who administers and distributes a deceased person’s estate. This includes everything they own, such as money, property, and assets. The executor is usually chosen by the testator before they die, but a court will appoint them if a person hasn’t left a will.

It might sound relatively straightforward to carry out the wishes of the deceased based on instructions written out in their will, but ensuring that assets are divided out to the rightful beneficiaries can be a complicated task with its own set of potential issues. For instance, it may fall on the executor to decide when a property should be sold for the heirs to gain the most proceeds.

Moreover, there are many other responsibilities involved in being an executor than just distributing an estate, including paying off the deceased’s debts, closing accounts, and making sure that the right amount of inheritance tax is paid.

All of this can take several months, even if the instructions laid out in the will are quite simple.

What Are The Duties Of An Executor of a Will?

To help you better understand the role of an executor, we have listed the key duties involved in being an executor once the testator has passed away:

1 – Registering The Death

The first thing an executor will be expected to do is to register the testator’s death. In doing so, they will be permitted to arrange the funeral, apply for probate, and administer the estate.

2 – Accessing The Will

Once the executor has been given the death certificate, they will then need to access the will wherever it was stored by the deceased – this could be in a safe or at a solicitors.

3 – Arranging The Funeral

The funeral is normally held within two weeks of someone’s death. The testator may have left their funeral wishes in the will so that the executor can arrange it as they desired.

4 – Informing Organisations About The Death

The executor can freeze the accounts and cancel the direct debits of the deceased to stop any further payments from being taken out of the estate by alerting banks and building societies.

5 – Valuing The Estate

Once the funeral has been arranged and the assets have been secured, the executor will then be required to value the estate to find out if probate is necessary.

6 – Applying For Probate

If necessary, the executor will need to apply to the probate registry to be given grant of probate. This is usually where you’ll want to engage the services of an experienced probate solicitor. Probate solicitors can speed up the entire process, allowing you to move through the process as quickly as possible.

7 – Distributing The Estate to The Beneficiaries

Once probate has been granted, the executor will legally have the authority to administer and distribute the estate in accordance to the will.

Who Can be an Executor of a Will?

It is common for people to choose their spouse, civil partner, or one of their children to be an executor of their will. It is a good idea for two executors to be chosen in case one of them dies before the testator does or if they renounce probate.

However, it is worth noting that at least one of the joint executors must be aged eighteen or over at the time probate is applied for.

The important thing to remember is that they must be able to act jointly in a harmonious, civil way so that the estate is administered as quickly and easily as possible. If the testator is not sure about choosing executors who would work well together, then they can opt to appoint a professional as executor instead.

How Legacy Wills and Probate can Help

If you are in the process of choosing an executor for your will, you can save a great deal of time, trouble, and expense by seeking professional advice.

Legacy Wills and Probate are here to ensure that your estate is dealt with in the best way possible. We offer will writing services and secure will storage, as well as professional support in all matters relating to wills and probate.

With our years of expertise, our team will make sure that you choose the right executors for your will.

For more information on how we can help, don’t hesitate to get in touch today. Reach our team on 0333 344 4325 or email us directly at sales@legacywillsandprobate.com.