Will Executor Duties – Everything You Need To Know

When a loved one or someone you know dies, in amongst the mourning process, it is also essential to take care of important duties, which include clearing any remaining debts, managing their affairs in their absence and of course, distributing their assets and estate exactly how they wished.

Hopefully they left behind a valid Will and if so, they will have enlisted the help of someone they know and appointed an executor of their will. If that person is you, we have put together some information on everything you need to know about your new role moving forward.

An executor is the individual who is legally liable to handle all of tasks mentioned above. However, when it comes to stepping up to the role and dealing with the responsibilities it brings, it is important to bear in mind that it is a rather complex and challenging role.

In the UK, whilst being an executor, you ought to be very careful when managing your loved one’s estate. It is an important role and you will essentially be expected to handle everything relating to their estate – that includes their money, property and possessions.

But fear not – you were chosen for a reason and that is because your friend or loved on thought you were the best fit for the job. Plus, hopefully this won’t have come as a shock as most people discuss their intentions with the person who is potentially going to be their will executor, so it is likely you already knew this was going to happen.

Whilst winding up all the affairs. This is solely because; if in case, you happen to make any slip-ups during the management and distribution of estate you’ll be held legally and financially responsible for it. So, ensure that you’re getting it absolutely right!

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How Much Time Does It Take To Manage The Estate?

Well, the time required to administer the distribution of an estate differs on the basis of its size and intricacy. It isn’t necessarily something that is going to be wrapped up any time soon and the process may end up going on for months and possibly even years.

Distributing someone’s estate entails countless intricate legalities, tax considerations and in all likelihood, a lot of administrative work too. So, as an executor of someone’s will, it’s of paramount importance to be conscious of the important of your role right from the beginning.

To make it easier for you, the team at Legacy Wills, have prepared a guide about what exactly is expected of a will executor and if you follow everything talked about below, the process should run as smoothly as everyone hoped when selecting you for the role.

Lastly, it is worth mentioning that executors can claim expenses from the estate for the work involved as part of the role.

Legal Responsibilities

Being an executor of a Will, it’s your duty to ensure you are doing things properly. The first thing you may need to do is apply for probate. Put simply, a grant of probate will give you the legal right to deal with someone’s estate.

However, a grant of probate is not always necessary. For small estates, there may not be the need. But it is always important that an executor checks first.

To apply for probate, you must complete both the PA1 and the relevant Inheritance Tax (IHT) forms. If you are unsure about how to do this, call the Probate and Inheritance tax helpline for more information.

You’ll also have to collect all important data about the person’s estate, which lists everything about their properties, bank accounts, assets and remaining debt – such as credit cards and loans.

If the information regarding their debts or assets is missed in this phase, then there is a higher possibility that complications will occur later in the process.

Tax Responsibilities

When handling the Will as an executor, you’ve got to ascertain the overall worth of the estate and gauge if Inheritance Tax has to be paid – and if so, exactly how much.

It can be rather difficult to  calculate inheritance tax because there are so many aspects you must take into consideration – such as exempting gifts and beneficiaries or transferring any unused tax-free payments from one partner to another.

Once you’ve determined whether (if any) inheritance tax has to be paid, you’ll have to acquire and complete appropriate forms before you submit it to HMRC.

When applying for Grant of Probate, it is a must to provide evidence that you have either paid the inheritance tax or that there is not any to be paid.  As the executor of the Will, you are now ultimately liable to file income tax returns for the estate.

Estate Administration Responsibilities

If you’re appointed as the executor of a Will, then it is you who has to inform all institutions of the Will owners passing, such as the Department for Work and Pensions, the local council, utility companies and HMRC.

You’ll be held accountable to locate missing or unclaimed property and you must prepare and distribute the estate to the right people, as well as distribute any outstanding assets and belongings to the beneficiaries mentioned in the Will.

Of course, it is understandable if you are feeling more than a little overwhelmed right now. Being the executor of a Will is no easy feat, which is why so many people enlist the help of experts to guide them through.

At Legacy Wills, we can take over the process on your behalf and recommend a professional independent reliable company who will help deal with all the legal responsibilities involved with being a Will executor. This would not only take the burden off your shoulders, but also provide you with peace of mind as you would be sure that your loved one’s estate is being handled exactly as they had wanted.


After my initial enquiry about making my will I had a phone call from a member of LegacyWills team, namely Siobhan O’Toole.She explained everything in simple language so that I knew exactly what I had to do. She was very patient when answering my questions, which made me decide to go ahead with using LegacyWills.

Betty Forny, 5 Days ago

The team at legacy wills have been very helpful and extremely courteous when talking through the full process with me. Would highly recommend.

Miss Jane Adiller, 7 Days ago

I found the advisor extremely helpful, explaining clearly any points which I was unsure about. I received my Will some days later and was pleased that the company followed up to check that I was happy with it. I did not feel pressured in any way and I would recommend this company to anyone wishing for a straightforward and efficient service.

Linda Leary, 9 Days ago

Legacy wills explained every step very clearly and anything you forgot to ask they encouraged you to contact them, they also made you feel that no question was to big or small they would always find the answer.

Juliet Patricia, 20 Days ago

Everything I requested was handled with patience and total professionalism, and the end result was a very simple and straightforward process which covered everything that I wanted. Thank you very much Legacywills.

Ian Slater, Over a month ago

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