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The duties of an executor

By z4027672030, Dec 15 2015 03:42PM

Many people make the mistake of assuming a person’s next of kin will administer their estate, or sort out their affairs, when they die, though this may not be the case. The person appointed as executor in the person’s will is instead responsible for carrying out the deceased’s wishes, though this often may well be the next of kin.

As the executor of the will, that person will have the responsibility of the administration of estate, referring to all the property the deceased has left behind. No matter how wealthy the deceased person was, they will still have estates of some sort which need to be accounted for and distributed.

Executors have, as part of their responsibilities, several duties to carry out, including administration and correspondence. Below is a brief summary of some of the duties expected to be carried out by an executor:


• Taking inventory of the deceased’s possessions and debts

• Corresponding with relevant organisations to acquire all of the assets for distribution

• Paying any remaining bills, debts and charges on the estate

• Carrying out searches for unclaimed or missing assets

• Distributing the legacies amongst the named parties, whether it be cash sums or specific items

• Distributing residue of the estate to the named beneficiaries

• Following the wishes of the deceased as closely as possible


• Identifying and dealing with any claims against the estate

• Applying for a grant of probate in order to prove that as executors they have the right to deal with the assets of the deceased which are held by separate institutions and authorities


• Paying any inheritance tax due as well as completing inheritance tax returns

• Paying any outstanding income tax and completing any relevant tax returns

In short, the main roles of the executors are to identify the assets of the estate and assess the value of the assets at the time of death, identify and pay the deceased’s debts, and distribute the legacies among the parties named in the will. If the deceased has no will, the administration of estate should be carried out following the rules of intestacy.

If you’re taking out a will, it may be useful to know that you can also appoint solicitors, as well as friends or relatives, as executors of wills. North Devon’s Taylors Solicitors are here to help, specialising in wills and probate – contact us today to arrange a free initial consultation.

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