The role of an executor after someone dies

This guide is to provide practical information to your loved ones on what they need to do after you pass. We aim to help you understand the procedures you should follow in this challenging time.
This guide is for England and Wales only

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Being Executor?

An Executor is a person who is appointed by you to carry out your wishes after you die. You usually set these out in your Will commonly known as: administrating the Estate.


Executor’s Duties

It is essential to think carefully about who you wish to appoint as an Executor, because the role has essential responsibilities. Those especially relevant include:

  • Corresponding with other parties.
  • Keeping records.
  • Filling out forms.
  • Carrying out your intentions after you pass.


Legal Duties

For an Executor to carry out their duties, they will be required to apply for a Grant of Probate. You are giving your Executor the authority to deal with your assets. Consequently, if there are any claims against your Estate or if other legal issues arise, your Executor will have to deal with them.


Appointing an executor

You must appoint an Executor who is trustworthy, reliable, and, most importantly, capable.

You can appoint a single Executor, joint Executors, or even groups to be Executors in your Will. If you nominate joint or multiple Executors, they should discuss the practicalities of carrying out their duties. All of the Executors should sign the agreement using a wet signature.


What if my Executor is unable to Act?

In some circumstances, an individual may not be able to fulfill their role as your Executor for a variety of reasons:

  • Either the individual does not wish to undertake the role of your Executor.
  • The person you named loses capacity due to sickness or age.
  • Your nominated executor dies before you.
Substitute Executors

As much as you need to name an Executor, It is also good practice for you to name substitute executors in your Will. Therefore if an executor is unwilling or unable to carry out their duties, the substitute Executor can step in for you.

If the named Executor cannot or does not wish to act, and no substitute executor is named, beneficiaries can also apply to administer your Estate.


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