Step by Step Guidance for Executors
1. Get a copy of the Will and check it's valid
Most people keep a copy of their Will at home or with their solicitors, so look there first. It’s important to check the Will you have is the most recent version. A solicitor will be able to tell you if the Will is valid.
2. Collect details of your loved one's assets and any debts
As executor, you need to gather the details of your loved one's estate, including accurate valuations of all assets and any outstanding debts. This is sometimes referred to as a schedule of assets and liabilities. You will need this information when applying for the Grant of Probate (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or Confirmation (Scotland).
3. Apply for a Grant of Probate
Getting a Grant of Probate (called Confirmation if the deceased lived in Scotland) allows you to legally deal with the deceased’s estate. In most cases you’ll need to do this before you can access their bank account, mortgage and any investments.
To get a Grant of Probate you need to:
- Complete a probate application form - this will be different depending on whether the deceased lived in England, Wales or N.I. or in Scotland.
- Complete the appropriate Inheritance Tax form - there are even forms for you if you think inheritance tax won’t be applicable.
- Send your application to your local Probate Registry - check what you should include with your application on Gov.uk.
- Swear an oath - before a solicitor or at the local probate office. Your local probate office will help you arrange this appointment.
Once you have completed all these steps you should hear from the Probate Service within 10-12 working days. If you don't, please check directly with the Probate registry for an update.
4. Pay inheritance tax (if applicable)
Inheritance tax is payable on all estates worth over a certain amount, so it’s important to check whether the deceased’s estate qualifies.
All estates have to submit the appropriate inheritance tax form – even if there’s nothing to pay. As we are a charity, most gifts left to us are exempt from inheritance tax, but this is not always the case.
If more than 10% of the value of the estate has been left to charity, inheritance tax may be payable at a reduced rate. If this is the case, submit form IHT430 with your other inheritance tax paperwork when applying for the Grant of Probate.
For further details of inheritance tax exemptions and conditions, check Gov.uk’s inheritance tax guidance.
5. Take control of all assets, settle any outstanding debts and distribute the estate in line with the Will – including gifts to Cancer Research UK
You’re now ready to distribute the estate to the right people. After any debts, like mortgages or loans, have been paid off, you can distribute the gifts left in the Will to the beneficiaries.
How do I know if a gift is meant for Cancer Research UK?
A gift is likely to have been left to Cancer Research UK if it:
1. Uses any of these charity names and charity numbers in the Will
Our charity has been around for many years, but we’ve not always been known as Cancer Research UK.
As long as the Will includes one of the following names or registered charity numbers then it is very likely the gift has been left to us.
Registered Charity Number (current and previous)
|Cancer Research UK||1089464, SC041666, 1103, 247|
|Imperial Cancer Research Fund||209631|
|The Cancer Research Campaign||
|British Empire Cancer Campaign for Research||225838|
|British Empire Cancer Campaign||225838|
|The North of England Cancer Research Campaign||1036335|
|War on Cancer (Whyte Watson Turner Cancer Research Trust and Bradford's War on Cancer)||511226 (linked to 1089464)|
2. Mentions any of the following addresses in the Will
We have been located at the following addresses. If the Will mentions one of these, it is likely that the gift is meant for Cancer Research UK:
- 2 Redman Place, Stratford, London, E20 1JQ
- Angel Building, 407 St John Street, London EC1V 4AD
- 61 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3PX
- 11 Grosvenor Crescent, London, SW1X 7EE
- 10 Cambridge Terrace, Regent’s Park, London, NW1 4JL
- 2 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AR
- 44 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3PX
- PO Box 123, London, WC2A 3PX
- Dufferin Avenue, Bangor, Co. Down, Northern Ireland BT20 3AL
- Princes Exchange, 1 Earl Grey Street, Edinburgh, Midlothian, EH3 9EE
The Cancer Research Campaign and Imperial Cancer Research Fund merged in 2002 to become Cancer Research UK. Gifts left to either of these charities are now managed by Cancer Research UK.
3. Mentions 'Cancer Research' in the Will
Sometimes gifts are left to “cancer research” rather than specifically Cancer Research UK. If this is the case, check the Will for any of the charity numbers or addresses listed above as this could be a sign the gift is for us.
Follow the steps below for each type of gift, so you can maximise the impact of your loved one's gift to Cancer Research UK.