The Role of an Executor/Administrator

Being named as Executor in a Will or being appointed as an Administrator of an estate can bring with it complicated, difficult and time-consuming duties which often take up to a year to complete. This short guide aims to give you a very brief overview of the type of issues involved.

If you have been asked to be an Executor, you will be named as such in the deceased’s Will. Where there is no Will, the position of Administrator is determined in accordance with a strict legal order of priority, commonly referred to as the Rules of Intestacy/Intestate Succession Rules. These rules also set out how the estate will be distributed.

The role of an Executor/Administrator is an onerous one and In England and Wales an Executor, Personal Representative or Administrator can be held personally financially liable for any loss resulting from a breach of duty, even if a mistake is made in good faith. Therefore, it is always important to get professional advice.

The duties of an Executor/Administrator can include, though are not necessarily limited to:

  • Applying for and obtaining the Grant of Representation (Probate if there is a Will or Letters of Administration if there is no Will)
  • Identifying and dealing with any valid claims against the Estate
  • Completing and submitting the Inheritance Tax return and paying any Inheritance Tax due
  • Notifying and corresponding with all relevant organisations in order to cash or transfer the deceased’s assets and pay the debts and liabilities of the Estate
  • Searching for unclaimed or missing assets
  • Preparing and distributing Estate accounts to relevant parties
  • Correctly distributing the residue of the Estate to the beneficiaries

An Executor/Administrator can be held personally liable for any loss resulting from a breach of their duty, even if the mistake was made in good faith. Furthermore, disappointed family members or dependants have up to 6 months to make a claim after the Grant of Representation has been issued while the deceased’s creditors can potentially make a claim against the Personal Representative for up to 12 years after the death.

This is why we would always recommend instructing a professional to handle the administration of the estate. If you require any help with a Probate/Estate matter, please call our offices on 01695 574 201 or email us.

Our People

Photo: Alexandra J Kenyon

Alexandra J Kenyon

Partner, Family and Divorce Read Bio
Photo: David H Lunn

David H Lunn

Partner, Commercial Property Read Bio
Photo: Michael Prendergast

Michael Prendergast

Partner, Private Client Read Bio
Photo: Katherine Greenwood

Katherine Greenwood

Solicitor Read Bio
Photo: Allison McCormick

Allison McCormick

Solicitor Read Bio
Photo: Samuel Seagraves

Samuel Seagraves

Solicitor Read Bio
Photo: Jennifer Wall

Jennifer Wall

Solicitor Read Bio
Photo: Leanne Reeman

Leanne Reeman

Solicitor Read Bio
Photo: Carole Connell

Carole Connell

Probate Executive Read Bio
Photo: Grainne McGuinness

Grainne McGuinness

Conveyancing Executive Read Bio
Photo: Rachael Leather

Rachael Leather

Conveyancing Executive Read Bio
Photo: Peter Caffrey

Peter Caffrey

Trainee Solicitor Read Bio