Will and Estate Planning- FAQ: Executors
What is an executor?
An executor is a person named in a will who sorts out the
estate of the person who has died. The
estate is everything one owns, including money, property and
What are they responsible for and what does an executor do?
An executor has a number of responsibilities including:
sure the property owned by the person who has died is secure, as soon as
possible after the death
all assets and money due to the estate of the person who has died
any outstanding taxes and debts out of the estate
the estate to the people who are named as beneficiaries in the will.
Can an executor be a beneficiary?
An executor can be a beneficiary of the will though they do
not witness the will otherwise they will not be entitled to receive their
legacy under the terms of the will.
What power does the executor have?
Essentially the right to manage and distribute the estate of
a deceased person. They manage the estate and distribute it to beneficiaries.
Who can be/can’t be an executor?
Anyone aged over 18 can be an executor and may apply for
There are some restrictions however if the person lacks
mental capacity, is the former spouse or
civil partner of the deceased, is bankrupt, insolvent or in prison, they cannot
be the executor.
What are executors’ duties to beneficiaries?
the legacies (whether specific items, cash sums or residue)
the residue of the estate to the beneficiaries
the deceased person’s wishes as closely
and distributing estate accounts to interested parties
What is the executor of the will entitled to?
The general rule is that an executor or administrator is
entitled to reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred in relation to the
administration of the estate. This might include travelling and postage expenses but not time off work.
What are key problems with executors and what can be done
From my experience you can have problems with executors not
communicating, not distributing or just simply holding money for their own benefit.
There are some very specific legal measures you can take to
deal with inept or difficult executors, an experienced probate solicitor can
help you with this
Do executors have to follow the will?
Subject to any possible legal claims (such as Inheritance
claims) and there is sufficient money in the estate yes, they do.
What happens if there is no executor?
If there is no executor, it does not affect the validity of
your will. One of the beneficiaries will need to make application for a Grant
of Letters of Administration with the Will Annexed. There is a set order of
entitlement to such a grant. There is a set order but the person who is
entitled to the residue of the estate (i.e. the person who has been left the
remains of the estate) has the prior entitlement.
As has probably been illustrated when it comes to the
execution of a will and dealing with probate matters things can quickly become
quite complicated and it is important to get expert advice in order to for
things to run smoothly.