Executor / Administrator Duties Explained 

In England and Wales an Executor, Personal Representative or Administrator can be held personally financially liable for any loss resulting from a breach of duty, even if a mistake is made in good faith. 

What's the Difference between an Executor, a Personal Representative and an Administrator?

If a valid Will is in place a Personal Representative is known as an Executor. If there is no Will then the Personal Representative is known as an Administrator. 

Executor Duties and Responsibilities Explained

Being named as Executor in a Will can bring with it complicated, difficult and time-consuming duties which often take up to a year to complete. 

It is crucial to get everything right because the Executor is legally responsible for administering the Estate in accordance with both the terms of the Will, and the law. An Executor is responsible for everything they do or fail to do, in respect of the Estate. 


Acting as the Executor of a Will can be a very daunting prospect because the role carries with it a considerable amount legal, tax and administrative responsibilities. An Executor's responsibilities last for the duration of the administration of the Estate and can also carry on into any ongoing Trust. 

Executor Duties

Legal Responsibilities 

  • Going to Court and applying for the Grant of Representation, which is the confirmation of legal authority to administer the Estate. If this done by the named Executor in the Will, this is called the Grant of Probate. If there is no valid Will, this is called Letters of Administration. 

  • Identifying and dealing with any valid claims against the Estate. 


Tax Responsibilities 

  • Completing and submitting the Inheritance Tax (IHT) return and paying any Inheritance Tax owed. 

  • Completing the relevant Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax returns and paying any outstanding tax owed. 

Estate Administration Responsibilities 

  • Notifying and corresponding with all relevant organisations in order to cash or transfer the deceased's assets and pay the debts and liabilities of the Estate. 

  • Searching for unclaimed or missing assets. 

  • Preparing and distributing Estate accounts to relevant parties. 

  • Correctly distributing the residue of the Estate to the beneficiaries. 

Personal Representative Responsibilities Explained 

A Personal Representative can be held personally financially liable for any loss resulting from a breach of their duty, even if the mistake was made in good faith. Such as: 

  • Failure to pay the debts and liabilities of the deceased. 

  • Failure to pay all Inheritance Tax, Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax due. 

  • Failure to distribute funds to an individual who is successful in their claim against the Estate. 

  • Failure to identify and correctly distribute funds to the beneficiaries; including those initially not know about. 

Disappointed family members or dependents have up to 6 months to make a claim after the Grant of Representation has been issued while the deceased’s creditors can potentially make a claim against the Personal Representative for up to 12 years after the death.

Contact Us 

01482 893258

Wellbeing Services Ltd 

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Company Number: 03469858

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Phone: 0800 2461361 or 01482 893258 

Email: info@probateuk.org