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What Does an Executor Do?

  • The Law Society of Scotland

When someone dies, their affairs must be organised and the assets that make up their estate distributed to the family members, friends and organisations detailed in their Will. This process is called executry. A person or group of people, typically relatives or friends of the deceased, will be appointed in the Will to carry out this process. They will act as legal representatives for the deceased and are known as Executors. Here, our executry solicitors provide an overview of the Executor’s role.

To discuss your circumstances, contact us on 0141 620 0800 or complete our online contact form and we will be in touch.

What Is an Executor?

The Executor has responsibility for dealing with the estate of the person who has died. This must be carried out in line with the particulars of the Will and in accordance with the law. The estate is made up of the deceased's finances and possessions, with the Executor being appointed by the Sheriff Court with responsibility for administering the estate. They are also liable for any mistakes made throughout the administration process.

Who Can Perform the Role of Executor?

The Executor must be over the age of 16 – beyond this, the only barrier to performing this role is if the individual was a witness to the Will. You can still act as an Executor if you stand to inherit (as a beneficiary) from the Will. An unlimited number of Executors can be appointed, but for practical purposes, no more than three people should carry out the role.

When selecting an Executor, you should appoint someone you can really trust to handle your affairs after death. Many people will choose their spouse, civil partner or children to be an Executor, as opposed to a professional, such as a solicitor.

What Does the Role of Executor Entail?

The Executors have responsibility for administering the money, property and possessions that make up the estate in line with the deceased’s wishes as set out in the Will. An Executor is responsible for everything they do, or don’t do, in respect of the estate. This responsibility lasts throughout the administration process and for the duration of any trusts created as a result.

There are four areas of responsibility with regards to the role of the Executor:


This involves accessing and collecting a large volume of paperwork. The Executor will have to establish what debts the deceased owed and who owed them money when they died. To do this, you will need to access the Will, bank statements, title deeds for any property they owned, insurance policies and loan agreements.

An inventory must be prepared and a valuation of the estate made. Any Inheritance Tax must then be paid.

Applying for Confirmation

To obtain Confirmation, an inventory must be submitted to the Sheriff Court. Confirmation formally appoints the Executor and gives them legal authority to receive and administer assets that make up the estate.

Gathering in the estate

At this stage, the Executor can contact all institutions holding assets belonging to the deceased and request that they are transferred. Property and shares can be sold, with debts and expenses being paid at this stage. The sums gathered in can then be transferred to beneficiaries. 

Expert Executry Solicitors Clarkston, Newton Mearns, Giffnock, Netherlee, Eaglesham, Carmunnock, Stewarton & Southside Glasgow

For comprehensive executry advice, call us today on 0141 620 0800 or fill out our online enquiry form.

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Please note we are a firm of Scottish Solicitors helping clients across Scotland and cannot help you if you are based in England.