Gransnet forums


Executor Duties

(72 Posts)
Marmight Mon 09-Mar-20 12:14:19

My Aunt died a year ago & I with my cousin are the executors. It has been a hard slog involving many phone calls, letters and visits to the solicitor and to my Aunt’s property 150 miles away, which I almost single handedly emptied. The will has been finalised and the bequests (all 23!) distributed. Some bequests were very generous, a few just a token of appreciation. I have received one lovely acknowledgement from a well known Dog charity, also phone calls from a neighbour and my Aunt’s carer but nothing from any of the other legatees including other charities and family members.
We carried out this task with love for our Aunt but AIBU in feeling a bit miffed and somewhat unappreciated for all the stress, worry and hours of work and travel incurred? A one liner would have gone a long way to assuage my ‘miffedness’!

ALANaV Tue 10-Mar-20 12:06:10

Since I lived abroad at the time a family member did Intestate, I employed a solicitor to do everything for Probate. All the contents of the house had to be valued before anyone could touch anything ...and eventually I was allowed to distribute the contents to museums for his specific interest, and others I think he would have approved of. Since my husband back in Europe had Parkinson's and dementia I then had to go back and forth every 4 weeks and had to put him into care …..he died last year so I then had all our house to sort out along with European bureaucracy ..which was fun ! (not !) ….at last, after more than 2 and a half years during which I sold two houses and cleared both with the help of very good friends I can at last see the end of the tunnel. I will not sign up to give Charities money, but will make a financial donation as a one off. If they try to get me to sign my answer will be, as usual ...its cash or nothing (never sure where the cash will go, though !) Everyone should make a Will preferably with a Solicitor (I have no association with any Solicitor, so its not an ad ..although I did work in Probate many years ago

Shalene777 Tue 10-Mar-20 12:08:20

I don't know about being an executor but I think it is only good manners to say Thank You when you receive something.

As for the charities I'm afraid that hardly any of them say thank you anymore. I used to do quite a lot and give quite a lot but as I wasn't getting a thank you I stopped doing it.

grandtanteJE65 Tue 10-Mar-20 12:10:21

I understand very well why you are put out about not receiving thanks. The people to benefit could have got in touch.

However, I do not think it reasonable to expect a charity to deflect money received into paying someone to write and send a thank you letter. We would surely all rather that they used the money for the work the charity does.

NanaRayna Tue 10-Mar-20 12:16:18

I will never leave money to a charity having read the horror stories above. I'd never want to leave my family or executor at the mercy of such vile attitudes.angry
(Especially when they are still reeling from losing lovely old me! wink)

NanaRayna Tue 10-Mar-20 12:18:38

And a 'Thank You' to Marmight from me, for going to all that trouble and effort. I've been there, and it's no picnic. thanks

H1954 Tue 10-Mar-20 12:23:24

There are "givers" and "takers" and sadly not everyone is blessed with enough manners to just say a simple "thank you" Take consolation in knowing that you did your very best for your Aunt and remember NOT to include the other ungrateful individuals in your own will!

Riggie Tue 10-Mar-20 12:23:31

The only will I have been involved with was my Dads and the executor was a solocitor who got a nice fee in return!!

Riggie Tue 10-Mar-20 12:34:52

I'm not sure thst its generally known but if "you" are named as an executor you dont have to take it on.

You can renounce the duty. But that is usually final and you give up all rights

You can choose to have power "reserved" which means the other executors do the work but you can choose to become involved again later.

There's a proper legal procedure to follow for either of these.

Or you can simply remain as exectutor but appoint a probate professional (solicitor) to do the work for you.

Dec46 Tue 10-Mar-20 12:39:12

I've read these posts with interest as I've never been an executor and am now concerned that i may be expecting too much of 2 friends I've named as Executors even though they have agreed to do it when the time comes.
I need to have my Will redrawn and wonder if I should name the Solicitors as Executors to save my friends the hassle when I'm gone? I would appreciate your advice on this.
I agree that not naming Charities is the best thing to do and have put an amount to go to Charity with seperate letter to say which Charities I prefer the money to go to.
My named Executors are also my main beneficaries so I suppose that would make it easier for them especially as they are also friends to each other.

JanCl Tue 10-Mar-20 12:41:49

I was the sole executor of my mother-in-law's will. It went fairly smoothly but yes, it was a lot of work and took time on top of my full-time job. The beneficiaries were three charities and family members. I was pretty appalled that one of the charities didn't even acknowledge receipt of what was a very substantial amount of money. One sent a very basic letter while the third sent a lovely letter which acknowledged and showed appreciation of how much work I must have put in. I was tempted to send a copy to the other two charities.

GoldenAge Tue 10-Mar-20 12:44:09

Marmight - I wonder whether when your aunt asked if you would be joint executor of her will, you properly discussed this with her and asked what the likely workload would be. Whilst she herself might not have been able to estimate, if she had given you an idea of her various beneficiaries and offered to make you some recompense for the likely time spent and loss of income you would incur you might feel more at ease about all the effort you have made. Too many people ask this job of family members, and too many people accept the role without giving it any thought. The simple thing is to leave the solicitor to be the executor and then there can be no quarrelling between beneficiaries - but of course the solicitor requires paying - this shows that anybody who agrees to do the job should also be paid and you are right to be miffed not even to get a thank you.

RomyP Tue 10-Mar-20 13:09:41

I used to work for a large charity and there were strict rules on accounting for every penny donated, we most certainly would have sent the executors, or the solicitor if the money had been released through them, a thank you letter clearly stating the amount received. Maybe check with the solicitor as thank you letters may have been directed to their office rather than direct to you or the other executor.

Flakesdayout Tue 10-Mar-20 13:11:06

When my mum died 3 years ago my brother and I were joint executors. He and my mum were estranged (long story) and he had had no contact with her. I did all her Power of Attorneys when she was first diagnosed and arranged all care etc. I did everything and when things deteriorated I was still there fighting her corner. I had to clear her house as it was to be sold to fund her care, this was questioned by my brother as he could not believe it would cost so much for residential care. When she died my brother expected me to give him half of everything despite what was written in my Mums Will. I did Probate/Inheritance Tax myself to save costs. My brother then said he did not want the house sold and wanted it himself and offered to buy my share. This was so hard for me as it was my parents house (dad died many years ago) and there were a lot of memories there and he wanted to 'renovate' it. My Mum had left bequests to three of her grandchildren and not the fourth (my brothers son) as her Will was made before he was born. I made sure he had the same as the other 3. I did this purely as I thought it was the right thing to do and my Mum would have wanted it. I didn't get any thanks. I did get thank yous from the chartiies she supported. Things are what they are and life is far to short to worry about it, hurtful as it was at the time.

Chicklette Tue 10-Mar-20 13:21:56

I work for a tiny charity, and if we were ever lucky enough to receive a legacy I would definitely write and thank the executor. I would think it incredibly rude not to.

Seefah Tue 10-Mar-20 13:53:47

Does anyone know what happens if someone dies unexpectedly and there’s an estranged next of kin and a house full of stuff and no one knows if they left a will ?

Witzend Tue 10-Mar-20 14:09:01

TBH I would guess that people who have never had to do it, have no idea how much time, faff and paperwork can be involved, so it doesn’t occur to them to thank anybody.
Or maybe they think a solicitor has done it all.

Mal44 Tue 10-Mar-20 14:14:06

My brother and I were executors for mums will and kept all beneficiaries informed of progress.Property had to be sold and house contents removed.It took 18 months and when cheques were distributed a copy of accounts was included and each family member expressed their thanks.
It does involve a lot of work but in my opinion the best thing to do is to communicate and this prevents any falling out.

kwest Tue 10-Mar-20 14:23:22

Marmight, you are not being unreasonable to expect thanks for the work you did on this matter. I had no idea of what was involved. I dearly hope that I never have to be involved in anything like it, it all sounds rather worrying. I do not expect to be a beneficiary of anyone's will but I will be sure to be supportive to any family or friends who find themselves in this position. Thank you for enlightening us and well done you for coping with it all.

MaggieMay69 Tue 10-Mar-20 14:37:10

I am sorry you took all that time, you were so kind to sort it all. When my own mother died, she was living with her partner, so out of respect, I never touched anything of hers, I thought it would be kinder to wait until he passed on as he was very elderly. I cared for him while none of his family lifted a finger or even bothered returning his calls, many a night he would tell me how lonely old age was and how sad he was that his family deserted him.
Not so the second he died, that very morning, before I even knew, my mothers house (where he had been living) was emptied by truck of absolutely everything, even carpets. Many of the items had been mine, my late fathers, and family belongings. My mothers new partner had barely anything but his clothes and some knick knacks.
I was beyond heartbroken, they had absolutely trashed the place to grab anything and everything or worth, even a family bible that had been passed through my others family for generations.
It took so much money and time to claim anything back, and we never recovered even quarter of it, it broke me for a long time, but my now partner has helped me get over it, telling me things are things, and at least they cannot touch my memories.

Greymar Tue 10-Mar-20 14:41:04

My sibling is executor, POA, main beneficiary. It's spiteful of me , I suppose , but he will have a big job on his hands.

Esmerelda Tue 10-Mar-20 14:44:23

My brother, bless him, was the executor for both our parents when they died. Mum's estate was quite simple, I believe, but Dad's was very complicated and the solicitor was useless, making numerous mistakes. Poor man, I've named him as joint executor with his step-son in my will but I do appreciate how much time and effort it takes so have left them both a separate amount for their hard work as well as their share of the estate.
Reading all the comments about charities above I'm so glad I haven't left anything like that in my will; it all goes to family!
Well done all you unthanked executors ... you do a brilliant job. 👏😘💐

Maggiemaybe Tue 10-Mar-20 15:39:15

MaggieMay69, what a dreadful experience for you. Some people are beyond horrible. flowers

I think, Marmight, as others have said, people are more thoughtless in the true sense of the word rather than unappreciative. I don't think if I'd been left anything I'd have considered the person who sorted everything out - I'd just have assumed the law had somehow taken its course. Thank you for making me aware.

grumppa Tue 10-Mar-20 16:00:48

A charity has a reputation to maintain. It does itself no favours if it does not say thank you for donations received.

Susieq62 Tue 10-Mar-20 16:25:55

I agree with you about being miffed. I was my father’s executor and ensured that his grandchildren received what they were entitled to. 2 brother and sister, live in Australia . They received exactly the same as their cousin, my daughter. She showed great appreciation.This was 7 years ago and I have never received a letter, text, phone call, letter to thank me or show any appreciation from the Australians. They are both adults. They are my brother’s children so I told him how I felt and that their behaviour was out of order. He was suitably embarrassed. I have had no contact with his children . When mum died she did not leave them anything in her will as they had not been in touch with her for many years.
I feel anyone who is privileged to inherit should always acknowledge their luck and show appreciation in some way no matter how small.

CrazyGrandma2 Tue 10-Mar-20 17:01:32

Like others have said unless you have executed a will you probably have no idea of how much time and effort is involved. I've done it twice and always thought of it as a task undertaken for the deceased. Knowing this, if ever I did receive a bequest then I would thank the executor for their work.