An executor is a person named in a Will who is legally responsible for ensuring a deceased’s estate is administered properly. If you are an executor of someone’s Will, there are certain things that you must do.
In many circumstances a grant of probate is required for the deceased person’s estate. The grant of probate allows the executors to deal with the deceased’s assets. It may not always be needed if the deceased did not have a large estate, but if there is property involved or a large sum of money in the bank, a grant will be required.
The duties of an executor
There are a range of different tasks to be completed by an executor. Such tasks include:
- Locating all of the assets
- Identifying all of the debts
- Correctly valuing all of the assets and debts
- Ensuring that the deceased’s property is secure and properly insured
- Arranging payment of inheritance tax if it is due
- Obtaining the grant of probate
- Selling the deceased’s property
- Preparing estate accounts for the beneficiaries of the Will to account for all monies in the estate
- Correctly distributing the estate under the terms of the Will
- Carrying out bankruptcy searches against beneficiaries before payment is made
An executor must take care when carrying out their duties as they can be held personally liable for any loss resulting from a breach of their duty. Breaches of duty include:
- Failure to pay all inheritance tax and capital gains tax due
- Failure to identify and distribute funds to a beneficiary, including those who the executor did not initially know about
- Failure to pay the debts of the estate
Why should you seek professional advice?
In many cases, the executors of the Will are the spouse and/or children of the deceased. People often seek professional advice and instruct professionals to help deal with the estate so that they can have the time that they need to grieve without the responsibility of administering their loved one’s estate. Even where the estate is very simple, instructing a professional can be a relief to families who are going through a very emotional and stressful period in their lives.
Do you need professional advice?
At Stephensons, we have a specialist probate department who can help executors deal with the entire estate administration or just to obtain the grant of probate. We understand that it is a difficult time and we strive to make our service straightforward and easy to understand.
If you or someone you know is an executor under a Will and needs some help, please get in touch on 01616 966 229.