What to do after someone dies

This guide is to provide practical information to your loved ones, on what they need to do after you pass. This can be a difficult and confusing time and we aim to help you understand the procedures you should follow.
This guide is for England and Wales only

What is an Executor?

Importantly, 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. This is commonly known as: administrating the estate.

 

Executor’s Duties

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

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

 

Legal Duties

In order for an Executor to carry out their duties, they will be required to apply for a Grant of Probate. This will give 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

It is important that you 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 fulfil their role as your Executor. This could be 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 it is important for you 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. This results in a smoother process when you pass away.

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.