Understanding your role as an executor


Wills, Probate, Trusts & Inheritance - 2 minutes read

At one point or another, many of us will be given the task of being responsible for the administration of someone’s estate after they’ve died. It can be a daunting task if you’ve never done it before, but remember you can always get advice from a probate lawyer, at any point in the process – there is no need to struggle alone.

If you’ve been appointed as the executor of someone’s Will, these are the key steps you may need to take:

1. Register the death and get a death certificate.

2. Arrange the funeral, and ensure, where possible, the funeral wishes are followed.

3. Get a clear understanding of the deceased’s assets and liabilities. You should obtain all important documents including Wills, death certificates, marriage certificates (if applicable), tax returns, and insurance policies.

4. Ensure all assets are secure.

5. Notify any relevant institutions, including banks and insurance companies of the death.

6. Check whether the deceased had any outstanding debts. Be aware that debts should be paid off before distributing the estate to the beneficiaries.

7. Value the assets of the deceased. You may need help from a professional valuer for some assets.

8. Apply for a grant of probate from the Probate Registry, if necessary. The grant of probate is a legal document that permits you to manage the estate.

9. Set up a separate bank account for the estate. This will help you manage the estate’s finances and keep track of all transactions.

10. Pay any outstanding taxes (inheritance tax, income tax and capital gains tax) and file tax returns for the year of the deceased’s death. You may need an accountant to help you with this.

11. Pay out any legacies or gifts made in the Will. These may be specific gifts mentioned in the Will or a percentage of the estate.

12. Distribute the remaining estate to the beneficiaries according to the Will. Remember to keep accurate records of all transactions.

Talk to us

If you are unsure of any of your responsibilities or feel overwhelmed at any point in the process, our friendly team can provide you with advice and support. Whether you would like a one off meeting to get some legal advice on the probate process or your role as executor, require ongoing support, or if you want an expert to manage the process from start to finish, we can help.

Our specialist probate team can talk to you online, over the phone or in person in Oxford, Wallingford, and the Cotswolds, or at a location that is convenient for you. Get in touch with them today.