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What is an executor?

 An Executor is the person or persons named in the Will by the Testator to administer the Will and carry out its instructions.  They have the responsibility of ensuring that the terms of the Will are executed. This means gathering together all the assets, paying any debts and taxes and distributing to the beneficiaries.

 If you do not nominate Executors in your Will an administrator will need to be appointed by the Probate Registry.  This will usually be your surviving spouse or adult children or in their absence parents, siblings or other relatives.


 Who is able to act as an executor?

 An Executor can be anybody provided they are at least eighteen years of age and of Ďsound mindí. In layman's terms someone would be considered of 'unsound mind' if they were deemed to be incapable of looking after themselves due to mental incapacity.

 It is advisable to always contact and check with the person who you intend to appoint as an Executor as some people may be unwilling to take on the role.  Acting as an Executor is a responsible, time consuming  and often demanding role, so care needs to be taken over who is chosen.



Executors are often beneficiaries and/or family members.  This is advantageous as they are usually people who will conscientiously execute the terms of the Will.

When considering naming a spouse as an Executor it is recommended to name an additional person as there is always the unfortunate possibility of a joint accident occurring.

 Professional advisors

Solicitors and accountants  can be chosen as Executors. These professionals are experienced in this field of work.  However they can charge substantial fees or request a percentage of the estate.


 It is still common for Bankers to be called upon to act as Executors.  Most High Street Banks offer this service for a small percentage.


What to consider when choosing an Executor

 It is possible and in fact a good idea to appoint more than one Executor, up to a usual maximum of four.  It is customary for the Executor to be given a gift in the Will as a token of gratitude for their work. The following points should be considered when choosing an executor: 

  • Is the person reliable?


  • Are they capable of dealing with financial and legal affairs?


  • Are they trustworthy and hard working?


  • The age of the Executor -  there is the possibility of an elderly person dying  before the Testator does.


What does the Executor do?

The main role of an Executor is to ensure the deceasedís wishes are carried out according to what is stated in the will.  An Executor may choose to enlist the help of a solicitor or accountant to administer the estate or he may himself take full responsibility for the deceasedís assets. 

The Executor will:

  •  inform family, friends and all relevant persons of the death of the deceased.


  •  also usually be involved in making the funeral arrangements. This is often done jointly with family members and friends of the deceased


  • need to apply for a grant of Probate. The grant of Probate  is the authorisation required by financial institutions before control of  assets can be passed on.


  • have the responsibility of paying any of the deceasedís outstanding debts from the assets of the estate.


  •  need to ensure the correct amount of tax is paid out of the estate.


  • distribute the rest of the estate to the named beneficiaries


Once the beneficiaries have been paid and the estate wound up the Executor has completed his job and that role has come to an end.


It is possible for a person to renounce their role as Executor if for any reason they do not wish to continue.  A form of Renunciation needs to be completed and the Probate Registry informed.


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