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Being a will executor: frequently asked questions

by Ridley&Hall in Inheritance & will disputes, Lynsey Bashforth, Trust disputes, Trusts, Wills posted April 7, 2020.

Our Wills & Probate team have been receiving a significant number of enquiries during the coronavirus pandemic. Here are the frequently asked questions:


Yes is the answer! Ridley & Hall is open for business as usual with key workers status. Our teams are set up to work remotely and can answer any questions you might have on the phone.  Contact us now on our Free phone number 0800 8 60 62 65 to speak to one of our Wills & Probate specialists. Skype, facetime and whatsapp appointments available.

We envisage no interruption to our services during the coronavirus pandemic and our teams are still delivering an excellent service to our clients.


Sadly this may be a question that you need to ask should you lose a family member or friend in these uncertain weeks and months ahead.

Being an Executor is not an honour or a privilege. It is in fact an onerous and difficult task to undertake. However, with the right advice you can protect your position and personal liability of dealing with a loved one’s estate.

Personal Liability can arise in many ways when you are acting as an Executor and you should understand the job before taking it on. Below are some examples of personal liability in estate matters:

  • Finalising an estate distributing the monies without finalising all of the deceased debts and liabilities.
  • Finalising an estate under the wrong will .i.e the deceased made another will that you were unaware of. You have then potentially distributed to the wrong people.
  • Finalising an estate without checking the position of the deceased passed gifts prior to death which then results in the wrong amount of Inheritance Tax being paid. HMRC would look to recover from the executor.
  • Not finalising a deceased income and capital gains tax position.
  • Failing to check the deceased’s ability to progress any claims.
  • Failing to insure the deceased’s property as unoccupied.
  • Distributing an estate to bankrupt beneficiaries – the Trustee in bankruptcy may look to recoup the loss from the executor

When you choose to instruct a professional advisor, they will ensure that you are fully informed of the risks that you undertake when acting as an executor. They will ensure that you make informed decisions about the administration of the estate, not make choices of which you have no idea of the potential risk and outcome that could put your own assets at risk.

As well as personal liability there can be much upset and fall out between family members when someone has passed away. Here at Ridley & Hall we not only have a dedicated team of Wills & Probate experts but we are supported by our litigation team who specialise in litigation in estate matters. They will often use their skills to negotiate between the upset parties to try and ensure that an agreement can be reached to avoid the need of a court hearing which can cost the estate a considerable amount.

Let us help you get your affairs sorted in these uncertain times. We continue to take new instructions throughout the coronavirus pandemic and we can do so through the use of technology and remote workers. If you are a key worker, we’re offering you a 10% discount on all our services.

Contact our specialist wills & probate team now on our freephone 0800 8 60 62 65.

Lynsey Bashforth

Lynsey Bashforth – Partner & Solicitor




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