Q&A What does being an Executor of a Will involve?

Q:      A close friend has decided to make a new Will and has asked me to be an executor. I have no idea what this involves and despite her saying her Will is straightforward and I would have help from another appointed executor, I am still uneasy about agreeing. Can you explain what being an executor involves?

A:       An executor is responsible for administering the estate of the deceased person who has appointed them, and winding everything up. In simple terms this involves collecting all their assets, paying off any debts and distributing the residue of the estate to the beneficiaries named within the Will.

Whilst this may sound simple, the job is not always straightforward and the executor’s role can be a stressful, time consuming and complex one. However, there is plenty of advice and support available and it is not uncommon for executors to seek help from a solicitor. This could be applying for the Grant of Probate, dealing with the whole administration including settling the inheritance tax and income tax affairs of the deceased, collecting in the proceeds of estate assets, preparing estate accounts, and dealing with distribution of the estate to beneficiaries. 

When there is more than one executor, the executors are jointly responsible for administering the estate and one cannot make decisions without the agreement of the other. Costs associated with administering the estate can be charged to the estate. Authorisation for the payment of professional fees is usually written into a Will.

The first duty of executors is to identify all the deceased’s financial affairs, then obtain valuations of all assets and liabilities in order to prepare a tax return.  Only then will the executors be able to prepare the paperwork for the Grant of Probate application.  Once the Grant is received, the executors can begin to collect in and sell the estate assets, settle all liabilities, and distribute the estate as stated in the Will. 

This question has been answered by Lisa Jones, a Senior Solicitor with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients.  Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194