Notify the executors

The executors need to be notified of their appointment as soon as possible.

Executors’ first responsibilities

Their first responsibilities are to help appoint a funeral director, register the death and confirm arrangements for the funeral.

They are only people allowed access to the will and its content at this stage. It is important that they read it as soon as possible as it may contain instructions and wishes for the funeral.

Although they will usually take account of any instructions by the deceased they are not legally bound to do so.

Notify legal guardian (if appropriate)

If appropriate, the executors will need to check the will to see if a legal guardian has been appointed to look after the deceased’s children (if under the age of eighteen where there is no surviving spouse).

The legal guardian must, of course, be notified as a matter of priority. For further information on the role of a legal guardian, please click here.

Commence process of obtaining probate

The executors will also commence the process of obtaining probate on the will.

Probate may not be required if the deceased’s estate is small. Incidentally, the will does not become a public document until probate has been granted and only then can a person apply to the court to see a copy.

For the procedure involved in obtaining probate, please see the separate section on Probate.

Please note

The information which we provide through Lasting Post is in outline for information or educational purposes only. The information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a solicitor, accountant or other professional adviser. We cannot guarantee that information provided by Lasting Post will meet your individual needs, as this will very much depend on your individual circumstances. You should therefore use the information only as a starting point for your enquiries.