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Frequently Asked Questions

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InHouse Wills & Probate

Award-winning Will writer

Executor and Trustee

Being executor is a major role, with significant rights and responsibilities. However, advice is available and we can arrange for the responsibilities to be taken from you.

An executor normally also acts as trustee.

Executor and Trustee

The responsibility for putting a Will into action is the role of the Executor. If there is no Will then beneficiaries (who inherit under the rules of intestacy) can apply to be the ‘personal representative’ of the deceased - essentially taking the same role as an Executor. Anyone named as executor in a Will is not committed to the role - effectively they are just given first refusal. However, once you start to administer the estate or take similar actions then you are committed and are liable for what happens.

Being executor is a significant role, with legal and financial responsibilities lasting many years and with fines and financial liabilities if you act inappropriately. For example, if you pay out the inheritance but then a new claim is made against the estate you may be personally liable to pay that debt. The role can include

Typically those appointed as executor also act as trustee, if required. It is the responsibility of the trustee to look after the estate’s assets, according the the conditions laid down in the Will. Updates to government regulations also mean that trustees will need to register most trusts with HM Revenue & Customs (the main exceptions being trusts that simply look after inheritance until children reach the age of 18 / 21 / 25)

An executor can also be a beneficiary of the Will. However, if there is any suggestion that there might be tensions it may be better to have a third party involved, especially if there is a trust to be implemented and managed. Where multiple executors are named they all have equal authority, unless otherwise indicated in the wording. Thus, there is no significance to whoever is named first nor to the eldest, etc - unless the testator states otherwise.

If clients wish, InHouse can arrange for a professional executor to be appointed, to relieve family of the responsibility.