I have been asked to be the executor of a will. Should I agree?

An executor is a person appointed under a will to administer the estate or in simple terms, carry out the wishes of the will.

An executor is normally chosen because the person making the will has confidence that they will carry out their wishes but also thinks that they are capable of handling the responsibility.

Whilst you can offer a person a great deal of peace of mind by agreeing to be their executor, you need to consider if you are happy to take on the roll.

An executor has the option to instruct solicitors to support them in carrying out the administration of the estate. This ensures that there are no delays, the proper procedure is carried out and because the executor has a personal liability to the estate (meaning if they get something wrong they may have to rectify the mistake from their own pocket) the appointment of a solicitor offers protection to the executor.

An Executor will need to:-

  • List all of the assets, debts and utility bills.
  • Settle all the deceased’s debts.
  • Calculate the value of the estate and obtain professional valuations where necessary.
  • Arrange payment of any inheritance tax due by the HMRC deadlines – payment of tax becomes an executor’s personal responsibility and may leave you open to personal liability or penalties.
  • Locate all the heirs and distribute the contents of the estate in accordance with the will.

It is always beneficial for the executors and often the beneficiaries to seek independent advice on the will as in certain circumstances, a Deed of Variation can be set up in order to vary the will. This process would effectively ensure that the beneficiaries of the will receive as much of their inheritance, as well as making arrangements to protect the inheritance from being depleted by care fees, further inheritance tax, divorce, creditors and bankruptcy.

If you have any further questions regarding acting as executor or would like to discuss making or updating a will, please contact Melanie Byrne on 07939 121341 or melanie.byrne@psg-law.co.uk or Paul Baker on 07964 354451 or paul.baker@psg-law.co.uk or by visiting our Altrincham office.