November 4, 2020

Probate solicitors offer guidance to increasing numbers of Executors

The devastating impact of the Coronavirus pandemic has been highlighted by recent analysis from the Office for National Statistics. Nearly 10% more deaths have been recorded in 2020 up to and including September, compared to the same period in 2019*.

This staggering loss of life means an increased number of husbands, wives, sons and daughters are this year finding themselves in the awful position of grieving for a loved one. At the same time they have to deal with the administration of their loved-one's estate.

It can be a big shock to be notified that you are an Executor upon the death of a loved one. The gravitas of the role and sense of responsibility can seem overwhelming, at an already difficult time. Recognising that an increased number of people are finding themselves dealing with such matters due to the virus (many far sooner than they would have reasonably anticipated), Holmes & Hills Solicitors is offering free initial guidance to Executors*.

The role and responsibilities of Executor

The role of Executor is pivotal and whilst there may be multiple executors acting on behalf of the deceased, it is still recommended that every Executor have a full understanding of their legal responsibilities. Fundamentally, an Executor must handle all aspects of the deceased’s estate and distribute assets in accordance with the Will. Depending on the nature of the estate – meaning the assets owned by that individual - there are a number steps that must be taken by the executors, including, but not limited to:

  • Ensuring any property owned by the deceased is secured, as soon as possible;
  • Taking steps to check if the Will they have is the last Will that the deceased made;
  • Ascertaining the assets in the estate;
  • Advising financial institutions of the death and arranging to settle any liabilities;
  • Applying for a Grant of Probate (if necessary);
  • Paying any Inheritance Tax and Income Tax that might be due;
  • Opening an Executor’s bank account to receive estate monies;
  • Distribute the estate to the beneficiaries under the terms of the Will and checking if they are entitled to receive the monies (i.e. they are not bankrupt);
  • Checking for unknown creditors.

Risks to Executors

It is important that all duties are carried out by the Executor correctly and full records are kept. Holmes & Hills warns that many Executors are not aware that their role carries personal liability in the event a matter is dealt with incorrectly, even if it was an honest mistake.

Offering free initial guidance to Executors

Holmes & Hills has a team of specialist probate solicitors that appreciate the difficult situation of those who have recently lost someone and become an Executor. Holmes & Hills is therefore providing Executors from across East Anglia with free initial guidance as to their legal duties and responsibilities**, so that their early steps and actions are the right ones. This free initial guidance offer is appropriate for those that are yet to apply for Grant of Probate.

Offices across Essex and Suffolk

Holmes & Hills Solicitors has six offices across Essex and Suffolk and services Executors from all six offices in Marks Tey, Colchester, Braintree, Sudbury, Halstead, Tiptree and Coggeshall. At the current time services and advice are being provided via video conferencing, telephone calls and exchange of documentation via email and post. Where video conferencing or a telephone call is not possible or appropriate, Holmes & Hills, as a provider of 'essential services', is able to see clients by appointment, for a face to face meeting. Strict Safe Service Standards are in place at all six offices for the safety of clients and colleagues.

Get Free Initial Guidance

Call 01206 593933 and ask to speak to a member of our Private Client Team.
Or send an email

*Office for National Statistics (ONS) (23rd October 2020) Monthly mortality analysis, England and Wales: September 2020. Accessible via: (accessed on 4th November 2020)

**Free initial guidance is provided to named Executors where an application for Grant of Probate has not yet been made. Free initial guidance will last up to 15 minutes and will be delivered via telephone appointment. Holmes & Hills reserves the right not to offer free initial advice.

Key Contact

Sue Carlile

Senior Solicitor

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