Acting as an Executor - Q & A

We took part in #SolicitorChat on Twitter this morning. Today, it was all about being an Executor.

Some of the answers we gave are set out below:

What are the key things to think about if you’ve been asked to be an executor of someone’s will?

If you are asked, you should make sure you have the time to commit to the task, that you fully understand your role and responsibilities and you should consider taking professional advice.

What are the main responsibilities of an executor?

Executors are the people who do what the Will says. They obtain a Grant if needed, collect the assets of the estate, pay any debts and taxes due and then distribute the estate in accordance with the Will.

Does the person making the will need your permission to name you as executor?

They do not need your permission and you may not know about it until after the person has died. But as long as you don’t get involved in dealing with the estate then you can choose not to act as executor.

In the event of someone dying, how is the executor notified that they're the executor of the will if they haven't previously been made aware?

This isn't straightforward as there is no unified formal system in place. It is helpful to tell someone they are executor and where your Will is stored during your lifetime. If your solicitors store your Will they will contact the Executors once they are notified of your death.

Who can be an executor and does being one mean you can’t be a beneficiary?

It is an urban myth that you can’t be executor if you are beneficiary; in fact beneficiaries are often the best executors as they are motivated to get the job done! Any adult can be an executor but it’s best to choose someone with relevant skills.

Can you change your mind about being named executor?

You can renounce the role of executor on the person’s death. If someone has asked you at the time of making their Will and then you change your mind, you should tell them so they can make a new Will, or a Codicil, changing who they appoint as executors.

If you want advice about making a Will or acting as an Executor then contact our specialist Wills & Probate solicitor, Carolyn, on the details below.

Carolyn Snellgrove

Nelson Myatt Solicitors LLP

01492 588200

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