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I’ve been named as an executor. What does this mean?

Around six million people have experience of acting as the executor of a Will but just 4% realise that they are legally responsible for the accurate distribution of the estate that is entrusted to them. 

So what does the role of the executor entail? 

An executor is responsible for administering the estate and is accountable to Her Majesty Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the beneficiaries. The process of administrating the estate can be daunting given the legal paperwork, tax calculations and various administrative tasks that need to be accurately completed.

The main duty of an executor is to ensure that the assets and liabilities associated with an estate are managed and dealt with efficiently.  This normally involves collating information on all assets such as property, investments and personal possessions, and liabilities such as outstanding debts or mortgages.  The executor is responsible for valuing the assets, settling all liabilities and then distributing what is left to the nominated beneficiaries in line with the instructions left in the deceased’s Will.  If an executor breaches their duty they can be held financially and legally liable for the consequences, even if they were unaware of their wrongdoing. 

The time that it takes to administer an estate varies according to its size and complexity, but on average it takes between 9 – 12 months. Administering an estate can be overwhelming, particularly as you will also be dealing with the loss of a loved one. However, executors can chose to appoint a specialist firm to do the work on your behalf. 

Tom Curran, Chief Executive of estate administration specialists Kings Court Trust, said: “We are well aware that being an executor can be challenging, with potentially serious ramifications for you and your family if you get things wrong. At Kings Court Trust we offer a comprehensive estate administration service and we take full legal responsibility for administering the estate from beginning to end. This offers peace of mind to our clients and means that they have one less thing to worry about at an already challenging time.”

Kings Court Trust offers their estate administration service with a guaranteed fixed price that is agreed up front with the family.  For more information on our services or if you have any questions relating to the estate administration process, contact our client services team on 0300 303 9000.