Executors & Trustees

Executors are the people you appoint in your will to administer your estate when you die.  It is a potentially time consuming job, and so you should chose someone that you know has the time, skills, and willingness to deal with your estate.  Your executors will:-

  • ESTABLISH THE ESTATE – ie obtain date of death values for all assets and liabilities
  • NOTIFY ORGANISATIONS – eg Passport Agency, clubs and memberships, etc
  • PROBATE – apply for probate (if it is needed)
  • INHERITANCE TAX – pay what ever inheritance tax falls due
  • REALISE ASSETS & PAY BILLS – once probate has been granted
  • LEGACIES – pay any fixed legacies that feature in the will
  • RESIDUARY ESTATE – pay out the residue of your estate (into whatever shares the will defines)
  • INCOME TAX – settle your income tax up to the date of death, and separately for the period of administration

Throughout, an executor should keep all of your beneficiaries updated on the progress of the administration of the estate.

Trustees are the people that hold any money on any trusts that the will makes (on behalf of someone else named in the will) after the administration of the estate is complete.  They don’t have to be, but they are very often the same people as the appointed executors.  The sorts of trusts you might expect to see in a will might include:-

  • GIFTS TO CHILDREN – gifts to children under 18 (‘minor beneficiaries’) must be held until they reach 18 (or an older age if specified in the will
  • LIFE INTEREST TRUSTS – for example a gift allowing someone to live in a house (but not own it)
  • DISCRETIONARY TRUSTS – giving the trustees total discretion as to who gets what and when





Executors & Trustees FAQs

An Executor is the person legally responsible for dealing with your estate and carrying out the terms of the Will. This includes applying for probate, pay inheritance tax and distributing the estate, amongst other things.

Yes, you can have up to 4 executors but they must make all the decisions jointly.

Yes, executors must make all the decisions jointly.

Any issues need to be resolved in order for probate to move forward. If there’s an issue between executors you will need to seek legal advice.

As Executor, you will be responsible for carrying out the instructions in the Will and administering the estate.

Executors need to collect all assets and money due to the estate, pay outstanding liabilities, apply for probate and distribute the estate according to the Will.

Executors can claim reasonable expenses from the estate.

Before you agree to be an Executor, think whether you will have the time to do it. If you haven’t started to deal with the estate, you can renounce to the role. If you have already started, you cannot step down unless you have a good reason.

The executor of a will has a duty to administer the deceased person’s estate in line with the law and the terms of the Will.

The Court can remove an executor who is not following the law, the will or who is not fulfilling his duties. The court can appoint a new personal representative to oversee the estate.

Yes, as long as the beneficiaries agree.

There are a few reasons why an executor may want to change a will, for example, to reduce the amount of IHT/CGT, or to provide for someone who was left out.

To change a Will you need to make a “variation”.

No, an Executor has to distribute the estate in accordance to the terms of the Will.

However, if the Wills doesn’t give clear instructions, the executor will then have the power to make a decision

If you appoint a professional executor, they will normally charge for this appointment. They will get paid out of the estate.

If you appoint a family member or friend or another non-professional executor, then they are generally not paid for the work.

Because of the responsibilities of the role, it is important that you choose people you trust. Depending on the size and complexity of your estate, you may consider appointing professional executors, but bear in mind they will charge for their service.

You can appoint friends and family members. Although many executors delegate their role to a solicitor or another professional, they will oversee everything and they’ll know how you want your wishes to be carried out if there’s a dispute.

Yes, it is quite common for an executor to also be a beneficiary but it’s important that any beneficiary under the Will doesn’t witness the will, otherwise they won’t be entitled to receive their legacy.

If you don’t want to be an executor, it is important that you seek legal advice immediately and you should not start dealing with the estate in any way. You can renounce completely by filling a form and sending it to the probate registry, or appoint an attorney to act on your behalf.

If you’ve already started dealing with the estate, you will need a good reason to step down.

Wills Services

Executors &







Wills General


5 STAR Solicitor reviews!

Check out other solicitors’ websites and they’ll be littered with self-adulation – they’re “leading solicitor” this, and “solicitors doing” that. Rather than toot our own horn we’d rather you be the judge of how good our solicitors are. Trustpilot is a totally independent review site where our clients are free to leave whatever thoughts they feel best describe the legal service they received from us. It’s raw. It’s honest. It’s for real. And critically, it’s from you!

Trustpilot logo

Contact our Wills Solicitors

Our expert Wills solicitors can help with all aspects of wills. Whether you need a simple will, a complex will trust, or perhaps you have assets abroad. We can help! So, get in touch – we’re looking forward to helping you!