What is an executor of a will?
When you make a will in the UK, you are required to nominate an executor to help manage your estate when you pass away – including any money, properties, tax and businesses – and to essentially distribute it amongst your chosen loved ones in line with your wishes.
You can choose anyone to be your will’s executor, including family and friends, but we recommend opting for a professional executor to avoid any mishaps that could easily arise due to the vast amount of responsibilities associated with the role.
What does an executor do?
Well, here’s just a few of the duties usually placed upon them throughout the probate process:
- Help to distribute the estate to the beneficiaries in conjunction with the will
- Registering the death of the deceased
- Gathering copies of the will
- Helping with funeral arrangements
- Valuing the estate of the deceased
- Managing finances, outstanding debts and taxes
- Collecting assets from the estate, including sold properties
- Working closely with legal professionals if a joint approach is chosen
Who to choose as your will executor/executors
You can choose any adult you like to be the executor of your will, but they are of course required to agree to the responsibilities involved. If you feel there is a need to split the responsibilities between a few different people, you are able to nominate up to four executors.
As some of the responsibilities during probate can require expertise surrounding wills and finances, it is recommended that you opt for professional executor services (either working alone or alongside a family member to help the probate process along), rather than placing the entire burden on a family member at a time when they should be coming to terms with your loss.
Due to their experience and expertise in dealing with wills, taxes and finances, a solicitor or professional will executor is the safest option, but you could also nominate one or two family members to work in conjunction with them if you feel it is necessary.
With a professional executor service, your estate will be organised and distributed during probate without legal error and in line with your final wishes.
Keep in mind that if you choose a relative/family member to be your executor and they make a mistake (a beneficiary doesn’t receive an asset that they’re entitled to, for example), that individual would be liable and therefore subject to compensation claims. This can cause legal and financial implications for executors chosen from family members, should something go wrong.
If you choose more than one executor, not all of them have to be involved in the process of executing your will throughout probate. It is entirely legal for one executor to take over all proceedings and responsibilities, as long as they all unanimously agree that this should be the case.
When does an executor notify the beneficiaries?
There is no set law in regards to the timescale of when beneficiaries must be notified of the estate that they are entitled to, but professional executors always aim to do so as soon as possible. This is done so that family members and beneficiaries can understand the legal process and any possible financial implications such as inheritance tax which must be paid, by law.
Our UK-based partners work to contact the relevant beneficiaries at the earliest suitable opportunity to inform them of the assets that they are entitled to, but remain personable and friendly during that difficult period.
Choose us as the professional executor of your will
Here at Wills Services, our friendly advisors are able to discuss your options with you and will help point you in the direction of the best services and most professional executors in the UK. Due to the expertise that our partner solicitors have built over many years of experience in working with wills, your estate and the financial security of your loved ones will be in safe hands.
If you’re an executor already
You might already be an executor for an estate and have found it requires a great deal of work, effort and knowledge you might not have. If you would like some support when carrying out your duties, you can appoint Wills Services to support you as estate administrators.