What does an executor do?

The executors of your will have the authority to settle your legal and financial affairs after you die. It will be their job to carry out the wishes in your will, transferring your property, money, assets and belongings to the people you’ve chosen.

Even if your estate is very simple, this can be a complicated task. Even small estates can take months of work.

Some examples of tasks your executors might need to do are:

  • Gathering together all your financial paperwork to understand the size of your estate
  • Contacting all the different organisations and businesses holding your funds and assets
  • Calculating the total worth of your estate, considering any debts or tax owed
  • Applying for a grant of probate, a legal document that can help them access your accounts
  • Arranging for insurance on any property left empty
  • Transferring deeds or selling your property for a good price
  • Paying all your debts, income tax and inheritance tax, filling out all the paperwork
  • Closing all your accounts, redirecting post where needed
  • Setting up trusts for pets or underage beneficiaries
  • Communicating well and often with your beneficiaries to avoid conflict
  • Transferring all your funds and belongings to the right people in a timely manner

…among other things. You can find out more about the duties of an executor here.

Executors need to keep very detailed records of their work. Your main (‘residuary’) beneficiaries can ask to see these anytime. If it turns out that an executor has made a mistake, they will be financially liable