As long as a will is valid its terms must be followed whether the surviving family and friends are pleased with them or not. The person chosen to make sure that these terms are carried out is known as the executor and is named specifically in the will. In some cases, several executors may be named such as in the case of naming a number or firm of solicitors, though usually no more than 4 executors will be named in any will.
The Executor’s Responsibilities
Being named the executor of someone’s estate, and thus executing the terms of his or her will, is often complex and time consuming. Just a few of the responsibilities that an executor usually undertakes include announcing the death, both to family and in written announcements, obtaining the medical certificate stating the cause of death, registering the death, organising the funeral, burial or cremation, gathering and documenting the estate, obtaining a grant of probate (best done with the help of a solicitor), paying any taxes on the estate, dealing with debts owed by or to the deceased, and finally distributing the remaining contents of the estate in accordance with the terms of the will. If issues come up in the future regarding the deceased’s estate, the executor will still be the person responsible for dealing with them. In fact, once an executor is named, this individual will remain the executor of the deceased’s estate for the rest of his or her life – unless (s)he notifies the Probate Registry to the contrary.
Stepping Down as an Executor
An executor may wish to step down from this role for a number of reasons, such as ill health, lack of time, or even because (s)he is in disagreeance with or bringing a claim against the terms of the will. In fact, if an executor can not remain absolutely neutral regarding the terms of the will and the administration and distribution of the estate, it is better that (s)he steps down and allows another to fulfil this role. If an executor does decide to step down, (s)he must notify the Probate Registry in writing as this event and the appointment of another administrator will need to be documented.
Applying to be an Executor
If an individual wishes to be an executor but was not named in the will, an application can be made to the Probate Registry for an administrative grant. If such an application is successful then a grant of representation will be issued to appoint the individual as a personal representative to administer the deceased’s estate. This grant may also be called a letter of administration with will if there is a valid will be no executor is otherwise acting.
Assistance for Executors
As executing a will can be a long and difficult process, executors should engage assistance from solicitors, professional financial advisors or a Citizens Advice Bureau as needed. Costs that the executor incurs while carrying out the responsibilities of this role may be covered (usually reimbursed at a later date) from the estate.
The role of the executor is integral to wrapping up the deceased’s affairs, dealing with legal issues arising due to the death, and finally distributing the deceased’s estate as (s)he wished. Unfortunately this role can be time consuming, frustrating and sometimes close to impossible to carry out without professional assistance. Consulting an experienced solicitor, professional financial advisor or a Citizen’s Advice Bureau is advised.
My nan passed away this February and my mum is the executor of her will. My mum had a brain illness ten years ago and when my nan passed my brother took upon himself to carry out the duties of the execution of the will. However a solicitor had been appointed by my nan to be present. I was never told about the will or any other information about the execution. In fact I was left wondering what the will said. 2 months later in the April I asked for a copy of the will to be told by my mum that it shouldn't matter as it's all over now,she was referring to the legacy of my darling nan. I was shocked as my brother was in charge of everything along with his girlfriend.My mum sent me a copy of the will,I smelt a rat immediately. Upon lots of research i have discovered that the solicitors my nan appointed never have existed. ..the will is so shabby I know it's forged. My nan had style and class. She paid for her own funeral service through the coop. My dad is claiming that he paid for everything.I must add an essential part of my nans wishes,my dad and nan never got on well my dad was always so disrespectful to her and he was to not have anything to do with the will.7 months down the line my nans memorial hasn't happened. Her ashes are somewhere I don't know. They are silent and I need advice. The will of my nan is a forged will. Please help me. I'm her only granddaughter and a beneficiary of her will. I know and have nothing. They have betrayed my nan and I seek justice and the whole truth.
suki - 29-Aug-16 @ 7:48 PM
I am disabled and have no solicitor!
Jam - 28-Aug-15 @ 11:09 PM
@linilou. This is one for your solicitor to deal with really, sorry.
FacingBereavement - 3-Jun-15 @ 1:55 PM
My mum died in April. She was living with my sister & her husband as she had dementia & was deemed unfit to live on her own. My sister sold her house privately for a very cheap, under priced amount, for some cash up front (split between the rest of the family who signed a letter to say we were happy for it to be sold that way) then the remainder was to be put in the bank. This was done in November. Since my mum died it has come to light that my sister & husband have taken the majority of the money for the house as they said that it was mums' wishes because they were looking after her. My mum had a Will with my sister & my other sister being executors of this.Everything was to be shared equally between all her living children. She hasn'tinvolved my other sister in making any financial payments or even having the Will read. It is still with the solicitor & she has just said that there was a certain amount of money left & has just shared this out herself without showing any statements from mums bank account or savings account. How do I proceed with the fact that they have probably spent most of that money now, & was she entitled to take the money without it being stated in the Will.
linilou - 1-Jun-15 @ 1:44 PM
Hi,my mum passed away last year and left no will,my father made a will which highly favoured me as over my 2 brothers as i looked after him since feb 2014,(mum died in april 2014),both my brothers knew what my dad was going to put in his will and were not happy about it,as my dads health got worse (dec 2014) my brothers took advantage of this fact,and on dec 22nd 2014 my dad moved out of his house (where i too lived as i was caring for him) and into one of my brothers houses,
they had another will made which excludes me,dad stayed at my brothers untill the beginning of march then was put into a home,he passed away in the home on 18th may 2015.
do i have any rights to contest the will as i still have his origional will?
could i place a caveat ? please advise
leeste - 21-May-15 @ 8:51 PM
@sugarplum No she has to comply with the terms of the Will. The will may have been lodged with a local solicitor, so if you know who this was contact them and ask.
FacingBereavement - 15-May-15 @ 12:08 PM
My grandad died 2months ago I know he had a will and I am in it his wife is getting rid of all his things and we have not heard anything of the will is she allowed not to do anything about his will?