Ireland: Role And Duties Of Executors

Last Updated: 25 August 2017
Article by Helen McGrath

This is a general summary overview of your Role and Duties as an Executor in respect of the administration of the Estate which may be of assistance to you and answer some questions you may have regarding your role.

Your function as an Executor (also called a Legal Personal Representative) is to extract a Grant of Probate to the Estate and to administer the Estate of the deceased.

As Executor your powers and duties date from the date of death of the deceased.

From the date of death the whole Estate devolves or passes to you as Executor. You have very wide powers under general law, apart from any powers given to you under the Will.

Personal Representatives are legally obliged to distribute the Estate of the deceased as soon after death as is reasonably practicable having regard to the nature and the extent of the Estate. However, no action can be taken against an Executor for their failure to do so before the expiration of one year after death (referred to as the Executor's Year). However, if money is due to any creditor of the Estate, such as Revenue, they can bring proceedings against the Executor without waiting for the expiration of the year as aforesaid.

The duties of an Executor last for life, therefore your obligations as Executor are ongoing.

The following is a simple set of guidelines on the powers and duties of Executors. It is, necessarily, set in very brief and summary form but it is hoped that it will be of assistance to you.

We shall be guiding and advising you in all matters in relation to the administration of the Estate and we will be undertaking all your tasks which we are able to undertake and as per our Letter of Engagement.

We will, of course, be instructing you in all those duties or tasks which you alone can perform and likewise we will fully explain all documents and Declarations which you are required to sign during the course of the administration.



The first duty of an Executor is the disposal of the deceased's body of which the Executor has custody until burial or cremation. Effect should be given to any wishes of the deceased as to the disposal of his or her body (although these are not legally binding). The deceased should be buried in a manner suitable to the Estate, which he or she leaves behind him or her.  In practise all of this will have already been arranged and dealt with by the deceased's family, namely yourselves.


The next duty is to ascertain the precise value and extent of all of the deceased's assets. Generally once a bank or financial institution is notified of a death the accounts or investments are automatically frozen and no further activity can take place in relation to the accounts. An Executor may also sell or otherwise dispose of, at his or her discretion, the goods and assets of the Testator before the Grant of Probate issues but this would only really be limited to such matters, if appropriate, as household goods, car or other personal effects. However, certainly in relation to assets such as land or stocks and shares it would be difficult to do so without the Grant of Probate and, in practice, sales of assets will usually only occur after the Grant of Probate issues. The Executor must ensure that the assets of the Estate are properly protected. It follows that there is a duty to insure with a reputable insurance company all assets normally requiring insurance, such as a house or land or other valuable items such as jewellery, house contents, car, etc.


An Executor must ascertain all outstanding debts, taxes etc. and check that there are no claims outstanding against the Estate. All of the beneficiaries must also be ascertained. An Executor must make enquiries of all beneficiaries in relation to prior gifts or inheritances received by them, where appropriate, and, again, where appropriate to obtain details of the Personal Public Service (PPS) number for each beneficiary. Quite often it will also be necessary for an Executor at this stage to open an Executor's Bank account, usually with the same bank where the deceased was a customer. This is so all the funds received during the course of the administration can be lodged to the one account. Usually a cheque book is requested so that cheques can be written on the account when the need arises. If necessary, an Executor can also apply for an overdraft facility on the account, should one be required, if there are any urgent debts or bills that have to be paid before the Grant of Probate to the Estate issues and the funds in all of the deceased's accounts are gathered in.


When all enquiries have been made (and these can be numerous and complex) a schedule or list of all the assets and liabilities of the deceased must be prepared. This is an official document known as an Inland Revenue Affidavit and has to be sworn by the Executor along with several other relevant documents and declarations.


When all the relevant papers have been lodged and the relevant Probate and/or tax offices, the Grant of Probate subsequently issues within a period of several weeks. The Executor is then in a position to collect in all the deceased's assets.  It is, at this stage, that assets not being specifically given to named beneficiaries will be sold or retained as appropriate.


The Executor is obliged to pay the funeral expenses and all other outstanding debts of the deceased. Generally, the funeral bill is the first item paid as it is the only debt that a bank or other financial institution will release funds from a frozen account for. Any other outstanding debts or costs must be paid and discharged at this stage. The Executor is then required to distribute the assets to those entitled, while ensuring that taxes are paid. These taxes include all taxes due by the deceased prior to his or her death, all taxes arising out of the administration of the Estate itself and possibly inheritance tax or capital gains tax arising out of the distribution of the assets to the beneficiaries, depending on the circumstances of the case. In certain circumstances it will be necessary for the beneficiaries themselves to file inheritance tax returns. In general, it will be necessary to make sure that all of the pre-death taxes and Estate taxes and, where appropriate, inheritance tax, are paid and discharged and clearance, where appropriate, obtained from the Revenue Commissioners before the Estate is finally distributed.


Finally, the Executor must furnish an administration account wherein he or she accounts for all monies received and all monies distributed during the administration period and a copy of the administration account is sent to any relevant beneficiaries. It is important that accounts are kept of all income and expenditure and any Executors Account Statements furnished to us as and when received clearly itemising the activity on the account so as to facilitate the expeditious preparation of the


Duties of the Personal Representative are for life. For example, if any assets are discovered after the distribution of the Estate is complete, it is the duty of the Personal Representative to dispose of that asset as per the Will or on Intestacy as appropriate and deal with any associated tax issues arising therefrom.


The following points are of relevance to Executors and are mentioned here as they are the most frequently raised queries asked:

  1. There is no obligation on an Executor to act in relation to the administration of the Estate. An Executor has a choice to accept, reserve or renounce their executorship. You should note that once you accept your appointment as an Executor, once the Grant of Probate issues, you cannot then turn back and decide not to act without the consent of the High Court. By reserving your right to act, you will stand aside from the administration of the Estate and will not be actively involved in same but if the need arises you can come back into the administration at a later date and apply to the High Court for a Grant of Probate to issue in your own name. This will involve a fresh application to the Probate Office.By renouncing your right to act you will permanently stand aside from the administration of the Estate and will not be allowed to become involved in the Estate in any way, as Executor, at any point in the future.
  2. The general rule is that an Executor sufficiently discharges his/her duty where he or she takes all precautions which an ordinary prudent person would take in managing similar affairs of his or her own. The office is a personal one, the Testator having chosen the Executor for trustworthiness purposes.
  3. An Executor may not delegate his/her authority but he/she may need to employ other persons, experts in their own field, to help in the administration of the Estate such as Accountants or tax advisers.
  4. The office of Executor is gratuitous, i.e. the Executor is not entitled to receive fees or to profit from carrying out the duty of Executor. However, neither should the Executor incur a loss, so all expenses properly incurred during the administration period are recoverable by the Executor.
  5. There is no obligation on an Executor to give a copy of the Will to anyone before it is admitted to Probate, or to inform a beneficiary of his interest. If required, an Executor must give any information to a beneficiary in relation to his interest in the Estate, and in the normal course he will do so in any event. However, it should be noted that once the Will is "proved" (i.e. admitted to Probate) and the Grant of Probate issues, a copy of the Will is contained in the Grant of Proabte and the Will becomes a document of public record, of which anyone is entitled to inspect and obtain a copy.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

*** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.