Duties and Responsibilities of an Executor
The Duties and Responsibilities of an Executor include administering all the affairs of your estate when you die. If the will does not appoint an executor or if the Executor or Executors who are appointed have died then your next of kin will usually be appointed by the intestacy rules. They are then called Administrators but their duties are almost identical.
Executors and administrators are both personal representatives but whilst executors have the power to deal with the affairs of the deceased from the moment of death. Administrators must wait for the Registry to grant them Letters of Administration before they are able to take action. This may cause delays to the Funeral arrangements and to the administration of the estate.
Once the administration of the estate has been completed by releasing the assets, paying the taxes and debts and distributing, the estate the executor’s job is finished.
Executor Duties are not just formalities. There is a great deal of work involved. They are responsible for:
- Collecting all the assets of the estate.
- Dealing with the probate paperwork and calculations.
- Paying all the debts, liabilities and taxes and various expenses such as Funeral costs and administration costs.
- Distributing all the property that remains in the estate in accordance with the terms of the will. This will include; paying the legacies, transferring particular items of property to the beneficiaries, paying out the residue of the estate to one or more specified beneficiaries or holding the property in Trust on the terms specified in the Testators will.
Taking Care of the Estates Asset’s
When you take on your role as executor you are responsible for making sure the estates assets are kept in in good order an to ensure they are not put at risk. This could include securing and insuring an empty property, making sure any financial investments the estate has are monitored and continue to deliver the returns they did when the testator (person named in the will) was alive. This may include share portfolios and other invested funds.
As an executor of a will, you will be responsible for paying any outstanding taxes owed by the estate. Failure to follow the rules around taxation could lead to fines being levied by the HMRC. You can not claim fines back from the estate and if imposed, for example for late payment, they will become your personal responsibility.
As well as distributing assets in accordance with the will, you will also need to distribute assets in accordance with the law. If one of the beneficiaries has been declared bankrupt you will need to be aware of the bankruptcy order and pay the creditors prior to distributing any assets to that beneficiaries. You should always conduct bankruptcy searches prior to distribution and there are many on-line agency’s that can supply them. If there is no will you have to be sure that the family tree you have put together is accurate as the appearance of an unknown beneficiary will cause problems later on. We would recommend that you take out executor liability insurance to help guard against the financial loss this could cause.
You can find more information about duties of an executor of a will in the DIY probate section.