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Duties of an Executor

The persons appointed to deal with the affairs of the deceased are known as Executor(s). If no will exists then the person(s) responsible for the administration of the estate will be known as the Administrator. It is typically for banks and other financial institutions to refer to executors or administrators as personal representatives.

The role of the executor

An executor fulfils a very important role when administrating an estate, as effectively all the deceased’s assets will rest with the executor pending the estate administration. Thus issues relating to the sale of property will rest solely with the Executor.

Executor who has died or does not want to act

Sometimes an Executor maybe unwilling to act, if this is the case then the Executor will need to sign what is known as a deed of renunciation, enabling another executor mentioned in the will or someone beneficially entitled to apply for the grant of probate. Alternatively, an executor may sign a power reserved form. This means that whilst the executor does not take part in the administration of the estate may still be entitled to come into the estate administration at a later date.

Executor duties : Common questions

Do I have a choice about being an executor or an administrator?

The simple answer is yes. You are not legally obliged to carry out the work of either an executor or an administrator. You may have many questions or doubts about doing the job. Once upon a time you promised someone that you would be an executor and so they have named you in their will but you still do have a choice. You might no longer feel close to that person or you may have fallen out, you might simply be too busy, you may not feel well enough, your own personal circumstances may have changed since you first agreed, or upon further reflection you may have decided that you do not want the responsibility.

Your choices if you do not want to do the work

If you have been named in a will as an executor and don’t want to do the work personally you have several choices. If you are one of more than one executor named in the will you can step aside and let the other executor or executors do the work if they are willing. In this case you can request that ‘power be reserved’ to you and then the other executor/s carry on with the work but you retain your power to step back into the picture if for any reason it is necessary to do so. Having power reserved to you is a little bit like being on the substitute’s bench – you are still part of the team and can come on and take part if needed.

Deed of Renunciation for an executor

If you neither want to do the work personally nor even have the responsibility of working with a professional you can renounce probate altogether. If you renounce that is an end of the matter as far as you are concerned and you have no further involvement or responsibility. This does not mean that the affairs of the deceased are left in limbo because other people are then entitled to apply for a grant to the estate and who these people are will depend upon the circumstances of each particular case.

Need help with probate?
Call our probate helpline on: 0844 7400948

National Probate Helpline tel: 01482 638400