What are my duties as an Executor?

15 June, 2016

Have you been named as the person to administer a person’s estate under the terms of their Will? If the answer is ‘yes’, you have been named as an Executor. Importantly, as an Executor, you are entitled to apply for the grant of probate. Amongst other things, a grant authorises you to collect in the deceased person’s assets, pay any debts and taxes and distribute the estate to the people who are entitled under the Will (known as beneficiaries). As you will be responsible for the deceased’s assets, you will have a number for duties to fulfil. Amongst others, these include:-

  • duty to provide information for inheritance tax purposes; 
  • duty to keep estate accounts; 
  • duty to identify and collect in the deceased’s assets; 
  • duty to settle the deceased’s debts and liabilities; and 
  • duty to invest the deceased’s assets (in the event that the estate may not be administered for some time).

In most cases, Executors are entitled to take legal advice and to recover the costs incurred from the Estate. This may be limited to seeking advice on a particular issue, for example regarding inheritance tax or in connection with a dispute, or instead as an Executor you may wish to instruct a solicitor to act on your behalf generally. All Executors would be well advised to seek legal advice where there is a dispute. This might be a dispute with a debtor or creditor of the estate, a beneficiary dispute (for example if a beneficiary is challenging your conduct as an Executor) or if there is a Will dispute, such as a claim that the Will is invalid or a claim is made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

If you are an Executor or a beneficiary and would like to discuss your circumstances in more detail, please contact Philip Youdan at philip.youdan@crippspg.co.uk.