Notifying executors of their appointment and the location of your will

Choosing who to appoint as your executors is one of the most important decisions you will have to make when thinking about your will. 

After your death, your executors will be responsible for a number of tasks, including:

  • safeguarding your estate;
  • notifying people and identifying what’s in your estate;
  • dealing with receipts and payments;
  • collecting your assets and valuing your estate;
  • applying for a grant of probate.;
  • paying debts, bills, inheritance tax and funeral expenses from your estate; and
  • distributing the remainder of your estate.

It’s easy to see why the role of an executor can be quite onerous, and even if your estate is relatively straightforward, it is a serious responsibility.

With this in mind, it’s a good idea to discuss your intended choice of executors with them before you make the appointment. Not only is this courteous given the job involved, you can also explain what is expected of them and ensure that they understand the level of responsibility that will be involved. 

On the whole you will find that close relatives and friends are happy to accept appointment as executor, but sometimes they may feel unable or unwilling to act for you. By discussing their appointment in advance, this gives them a chance to decline and for you to appoint someone else from the outset which can save problems further down the line.

Once you have completed your will, you should confirm with your chosen executors that you did go ahead with the appointment (don’t just assume that because you have already discussed it with them that they know they’ve been appointed – people change their minds a lot when it comes to making a will!). 

It is also essential that you make sure that your executors know where the original of your will is stored and how they can get hold of it when the time comes. It is best to do this in writing rather than verbally – hopefully they will not need to locate the will for many years and by that time they will probably have forgotten if you simply tell them verbally. 

You could consider leaving a copy of the letter with your important documents at home. Helping your executors to find your will quickly will help to reduce their stress at a difficult time, and will reduce the amount of time it takes to administer your estate.