Scullion News & Resources

You’ve been named as an Executor in a Will, entrusted with important responsibilities in the settling of a loved one’s estate. Now, what next? This role is often complex and time-sensitive. Having guidance on where to start can provide much-needed clarity. With our experience and expertise, we can help you demystify the key duties you will need to handle, prioritise critical tasks, and navigate what is most likely unfamiliar territory. With the right information, this role is very manageable, allowing you to properly honour your loved one’s wishes. To help you understand what you need to do, we’ve put together this list of our top tips for Executors.

Understand your duties and responsibilities

Being an Executor is a very involved process, which can be rather stressful, not to mention time-consuming. You are responsible for administering the estate and dealing with all matters involved in the estate. This includes liaising with financial institutions, paying debts, calculating and paying inheritance tax, accounting to the beneficiaries, and distributing the estate.

Unless you are used to dealing with this type of work, we would always recommend that you seek our advice to ensure you keep yourself right. An Executor can be sued and can be held personally liable on some occasions if matters aren’t dealt with correctly. Don’t chance it; let us help you!

Find the Will

As an Executor, ideally, you should already know where the Will is held. If not, it is your responsibility to conduct a search to locate the most recent Will of the deceased to ensure their wishes are adhered to. It is important to locate this, as financial institutions will likely require a copy of it, along with a copy of the death certificate.

Again, the responsibility lies with you as Executor to locate the Will. Helpfully, if asked to deal with an estate, we have various partnerships whereby we can assist in locating the Will.

Engage with Beneficiaries

If there is a Will, you have a duty to inform the beneficiaries of their entitlements under the Will. If a beneficiary has moved addresses, you will be required to undertake a search to find them. In the absence of a Will, you will be required to instruct a genealogist to inform you to whom the estate should be made payable.

There may well be times when beneficiaries are at loggerheads regarding their entitlement, and it is important that you balance this tension and manage family expectations. 

Implement the terms of the Will

It is imperative that, as an Executor, you follow the terms of the Will to the letter. If family members begin to quarrel, it can be tempting to deviate from the Will to placate people. However, it is important not to feel pressured and to remember your duties. One of which is to implement the Will as written and distribute the estate.

Settle debts and taxes

Before anyone receives anything under the Will, it is important that you first settle any outstanding debts the deceased had and pay any taxes due, together with the inheritance tax. It is important that these are paid before anyone receives their inheritance.

Again, as Executor, you are required to establish all debts due and arrange for payment of these. If inheritance tax is payable (for estates exceeding £325,000) it is helpful to obtain a clearance certificate from HMRC. This will provide you with comfort in knowing all taxes have been settled before you go on to distribute the estate.

Maintain records

It is important to keep meticulous records of all payments made and received while administering the estate. This is because an Executor is accountable to the beneficiaries. Any questions they may have must be capable of being demonstrated through excellent record-keeping. Failing to keep appropriate records may mean that the beneficiaries can look to claim against you as Executor.

Seek professional advice

You know as Executor you have several duties. These can include consulting with multiple professionals. Whilst you may feel you have everything under control and understand the nature and extent of the estate, mistakes can be costly.

Let our team take care of everything for you to ensure matters are dealt with as effectively and efficiently as possible. We are Scotland’s bereavement specialists and the highest-rated firm on ReviewSolicitors for bereavement-related services in Glasgow and the West.

Contact our specialist bereavement team today.

Our friendly and approachable law team are ready to support you

Speak to us today