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’!

CanadianGran Tue 10-Mar-20 17:27:46

Marmight - I'm sorry to hear how ungracious some are, although like others have said they may not realize the work involved.

MaggieMay - how horrible. There is no explaining some people's morals. I had an inkling of this with my mother's second husband. We had the same situation with mother passing away first, and her husband staying on in her house on his own. He was starting with dementia, and his two sons were of questionable morals and finances. We made sure all the jewellery and china from Mum were packed up, but left everything else. No point taking chances. Months later when it was decided husband needed to go into care, my sister (who was executive and lived close by) did invite them to take some furniture and household goods rather than having to sell them. It all worked out in the end.

I still occasionally let my sister know how much I appreciated all she did during my mother's illness and afterwards, helping place her husband in care and finishing off the estate. What a lot of work.

Witzend Tue 10-Mar-20 18:21:13

My dh has been executor at least 3 times. The last time - he was co executor with a BiL - was for a childless aunt who’d left everything to be split between a lot of scattered nieces and nephews.

Never mind a thank you - the Canadian cohort of N&Ns were actively hassling dh and BiL - where was the money?? Why hadn’t they sorted it out yet??

One of them actually came over, invited himself to stay, sat down at our dining table and said, ‘I want to know what’s going on with this money!’

It wasn’t as if it had been very long - the aunt’s estate wasn’t at all complicated. I swear they thought there was something dodgy going on.
Needless to say, all the Canadian lot were henceforth right off our Christmas card list!

Want2Help Tue 10-Mar-20 20:07:08

You've honestly made me think Marmight! My brother and SiL were the executors of my parents estate. I was very grateful to them and so was my DH. I got them each a little gift for their hard work. The reason it "made me think" is that we've recently updated our wills and have named both our sons as executors (in the event of us both popping our clogs together! 😂) Our mirror wills indicate that they'll inherit everything equally (with only one charity receiving some of my jewellery). I SO hope we haven't lumbered them with an awful task? confused

cheaton Tue 10-Mar-20 20:41:27

It is worth saying that smaller charities are usually more grateful for legacies than large ones. I worked for Age Concern/UK and an old lady leaving her house (value c £600k) hardly covered 5/6 of the directors' salaries for a year. This was several years ago. I'm leaving mine to small charities who help women in developing countries to support themselves and send their children to school.

Marmight Tue 10-Mar-20 21:13:37

Thanks for all your comments and thanks!! I just felt that a word of appreciation for the bequest, not the hard work, to my cousin & I via the solicitor would have been appropriate. The ‘Dog’ charity obviously found out my details and wrote directly to me. In fact I was invited to visit to see their work and have taken up the offer and will be taking 2 of my dog mad GS with me. No I don’t intend to leave my fortune to Battersea DH but I may go home with a dog 😂
It is hard work and did give me a few headaches but I was happy to undertake it. My DH was originally the other executor but on his death was replaced by my cousin. I know, had he been around, he would have borne the lion’s share. Anyway all done & dusted now and I am the happy recipient (along with 22 others!!) of my Aunt’s beneficence.
My will is simple. Divided between the 3 daughters and NO charities 😉

Huitson1958 Tue 10-Mar-20 22:35:55

Absolutely... I would have thought it was simple manners to say thank you x

Eloethan Wed 11-Mar-20 00:00:14

It seems discourteous but I don't think beneficiaries necessarily realise how much time and effort the executors will have spent in sorting out the estate. With so many beneficiaries it must have been a real headache and I can understand you feeling disappointed at the lack of a thank you.

Coolgran65 Wed 11-Mar-20 00:19:45

I'm reading here about how much hard work is involved in being an executor. It really surprised me.

I thought that if you took the Will to a solicitor, the solicitor did all the work, sorted Probate, drawing in the balances from different bank accounts, pensions, investments etc. Writing to beneficiaries, paying out any debts and allocating the legacies. I honestly thought the executors signed any relevant documentation via the solicitor. That the solicitor was getting his fee to take the hassle off the executors shoulders.

We are in the process of updating our Wills and have named each other as executor plus our son who lives locally. Other sons live abroad. The plan being that our Wills are taken to a local solicitor to be administered.

notanan2 Wed 11-Mar-20 00:50:40

I've been an executer and also recieved things from wills where I wasnt

I have never known anyone to thank the executer. Its not from them. Abd they are usually the largest beneficary so its not exactly a selfless act of kindness from them to get the estate sorted!

The person to "thank" is dead.

Marmight Wed 11-Mar-20 04:56:11

No it’s not an act of ‘selfless kindness’ 🙄. Executors carry out the wishes of the deceased person to the T on their behalf. In my opinion it is only polite & courteous to thank them for the legacy in the absence of the deceased. My DH & I received a bequest from his late Uncle’s widow. We wrote to her Executors and thanked them. Doesn’t take much and means a lot.

Party4 Wed 11-Mar-20 08:39:05

My DH and myself have been executors on 3 occasions and the most complicated and stressful was when a charity had been named as half beneficary.I understand the legal need to keep audit of possessions etc but it was heartbreaking when on advice of solicitor we packed 4 suitcases full of labelled unworn clothes ,unused gifts,bedding (still in wrappers),household items . these had to go to auction and the estate received £5 a case.Had we been allowed to give directly to the named charity shops they would have made £00s selling them on or used as raffle prizes etc.We were allowed to dispose of used items through charity shops and furniture with appropriate safety labels/car/jewellery could be sold with all receipts submitted to solicitors to finalise estate.We distributed bequeathed items,many were ornamental collections so had to get lists of titles/product number etc and get signed receipts.In honesty many did not even want the items.It was so sad a couples whole life and with no children no one really cared.We were left drained by the whole experience and on making our wills made it clear no charity to be named as they will receive our house contents and possessions as both children do not have storage enough for their own possessions.

Aepgirl Wed 11-Mar-20 08:50:36

We are a family who has always written thank you letters. I had a similar situation when my sister died. My brother-in-law had employed a Will writer for him and my sister to have similar wills. He died before my sister and when my sister died I discovered (total surprise) that I was executor of her will. I was horrified to find that her estate had been divided 4 ways, myself, my daughter, my BIL’s niece and nephew (who never even sent as much as a Christmas card previously) who didn’t attend either funerals. I carried out the will to the letter. I received a brief letter of thanks from the niece, but not a word from the nephew, even though I knew the cheque had been cashed. I’m sure that my sister would have been upset about her will, but my BIL was very controlling.

Carenza123 Wed 11-Mar-20 09:38:57

I don’t think the majority of people have any idea of the duties of an executor of a will. There is much to sort out with no thanks from anyone. Family members - myself included - were left legacies from a distant aunt but many of the beneficiaries had had no contact with the deceased for many years and she died intestate. She had no children from her marriage and lived abroad. I am very disillusioned by charities - they seem so money grubbing! My husband’s aunt supported The Childrens Society and when she died we sent a family donation to them in remembrance. But every year without fail, we get correspondence asking for donations. With the hierarchy of most charities and in particular the goings-on at Oxfam, I have become completely disenchanted with these so called ‘charities’.

songstress60 Wed 11-Mar-20 15:19:38


Why are the writing competitions won by already established writers or worse still YOUNG writers!! I have written plays, short stories and now 2 novels, but there seem to be NO breaks for unpublished, older writers. Come on Gransnet let's have a competition for novelists, playwrights and screenplay writers, and let the criteria be that the entrants have NEVER been published before. I NEED a break before I shuffle off this mortal coil!

M0nica Wed 11-Mar-20 15:20:36

O fcourse Charities are money grubbing, they have to raise for themselves every penny they spend andcannot operate without money.

Times have changed from when rattling a tin on a High Street got lots of funds. Yes, I agree that on occasion they overdo it and I suspect that some families will try and keep the money meant to go to Charity. But how else do we fund them?

notanan2 Wed 11-Mar-20 22:45:15

If you want charities to administer personalised thank you letters it wouldnt be worth donating to them as most donations wouldnt covet the admin! hmm

I never expect thanks. It wasnt my money/item to give. It was the deceased. Seems very very off to me if an executer treats it like theyre GIVING people something and expect thanks for it.

Ive only ever executed wills where I was a beneficary myself so it was in my own interest to get it all sorted.

notanan2 Wed 11-Mar-20 23:16:35

Quite frankly I have STOPPED donating to certain charities exactly because they sent me so much glossy bumpf and "hi Notnan thank you for your latest donation" rubbish. Left me wondering if any money at all went to the cause!

Brownflopsy Thu 12-Mar-20 11:01:27

Dec46: I would ask your friends if they have been an executor before and, if not, to think seriously about whether they really want to do this as it is a huge commitment.
I had no idea how much work was involved when I agreed to be executor for my parents and it was a nightmare when they died within 18 months of each other. I had only just sorted mum's affairs when dad died and it took 3 more years to deal with his estate - not to mention all the family dramas involved, and working full time with a family of my own and dealing with the loss of both parents.
That's nearly 5 years of my life I will not get back, and I am left with a fractured family who I no longer speak to, eventhough I was not a beneficiary of either will.
Never again....

M0nica Thu 12-Mar-20 17:03:53

We have been executors 5 times between us and have simply handed the probate work over to solicitors to deal with. However solicitors do need chasing so we always rang them several times a week.

When we have received legacies, they have usually been sent out by the solicitor with a slip we were asked to sign and return to confirm we had received it. The thanks are surely owed to the person who left you the money and they are no longer around. The executor is working for the deceased not the legatee. In fact DH was left a sum of money by an uncle to compensate him and thank him for being the executor.

When a cousin asked me if I wanted anything from the house of my aunt and then put them aside for me, of course I thanked her, but I saw no need to thank her for the totally unexpected legacy my aunt had left me

Winniewit Sun 15-Mar-20 20:56:06

What do you all think about writing your own will.? As long as it witnessed when signing takes place it would be OK?

M0nica Sun 15-Mar-20 22:55:32

Solicitors get fat on home written wills. The wording of a will has to be absolutely precise and clear and all sorts of things can go wrong that you would never think of.

A simple will is not expensive. Get a solicitor to draw it up and then rest secure in the knowledge that all the money you leave will not be eaten up by legal fees