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HMRC internal manual

Trusts, Settlements and Estates Manual

Legal background to trusts and estates: first duties of executors

The executors must check they have the most recent will. They need to ensure they are still entitled to act. There could be a later will, or the original may have been altered by a codicil (TSEM6034).

At this stage executors do not have to supply beneficiaries with details of the will. A will is a public document once a grant of probate has been taken out. Beneficiaries can get details for themselves. However executors normally pass on the information.

The first duty of personal representatives is to arrange for the deceased’s funeral. Often the family will already have done this.

Next, the personal representatives must discover the nature and value of the deceased’s possessions and debts. They need this information to complete a return of information or account for Inheritance Tax.