Guidance for Executors – FAQs

We understand that administering the estate of a loved one can be difficult, but it can also be rewarding. As an executor or personal representative (in cases where there is no Will), you are responsible for ensuring that someone’s last wishes are fulfilled.

If you’re an executor, we can answer some of your questions in order to help you understand your duties.

What is my role?

As an executor, your responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring that all the property owned by the deceased person is kept safe and secure, as soon as possible after their death
  • Ensuring that any property or items of value are adequately insured
  • Collecting and, if appropriate, convert (sell) any assets due to the deceased person’s estate
  • Paying any outstanding taxes and debts (out of the deceased person’s estate)
  • Distributing the estate to those who are entitled to it under either the terms of the Will or intestacy
  • Delivering up your grant of probate if required to by a court.

What should I do if a charity is mentioned in the Will?

If there is a named charity beneficiary in a Will, you should contact their legacy team to discuss the gift with them. Each charity will have different preferences on how they would like to receive legacy payments, so it is best to speak with them directly about this.

What details does the charity need?

In your role as executor, the named charity would find it useful to be informed of the following:

1. Details of the person who has passed away:

Full name

Last known address and any other recent addresses

Date of Will

Date of death

Whether the deceased was a lifetime supporter of the charity (this
would enable them to put a stop to any future promotional mailings)

2. Some beneficiaries are entitled to a copy of the Will. For example, if they receive a share of the residue of the estate (what is left after any specific gifts have been made), you should provide such beneficiaries with this and also a list of the late benefactor’s assets and liabilities at the date of death.

3. You should also provide them with reasonable updates about the estate administration. This will allow them to understand the nature and contents of the estate and approve any key steps which you take during the administration, for example agreeing the sale price of a property. Such consultation can avoid problems arising in the future.

How is the tax calculated?

UK registered charities are exempt from paying Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Income Tax.

If the estate contains a mixture of charitable and non-chartable beneficiaries, you should check the percentage of Inheritance Tax payable. If 10% or more of the net estate is left to charitable beneficiaries, a lower amount of Inheritance Tax (36%) may be payable on the non-charitable parts of the estate. You can check whether or not this lower rate will apply at Gov.uk.

Who can I contact for further guidance?

If you are acting as an executor, you can find a solicitor in your local area who will be able to help answer any further questions you have.

You may also find our Will Writing Jargon Buster useful.