If you have been named as an executor in a loved one’s Will, you will have a number of tasks which you will need to complete as part of executing the Will. If you have lost someone close, you will be dealing with your emotions and grief too which might make the whole process more difficult for you, but your legal responsibilities as executor still apply.
This can be a daunting prospect for you but by exploring the responsibilities and duties of an executor, you may feel more comfortable with the process.
The first thing you will need to do is to obtain the death certificate and establish yourself as the executor of the Will. This can be done with the original Will.
The next step in the process will be to initially value the estate. This could be difficult to do, especially if there is property involved so it is best to ask an estate agent to provide you with a valuation for any property included within the estate.
Once you have made this valuation, you may apply for a Grant of Probate. This will provide you with the power to distribute the estate and access bank accounts, investments and pension schemes. It is important at this stage to identify if any inheritance tax will be payable on the estate. Any estate worth over £325,000 will be subject to inheritance tax.
There is a fee payable to obtain a Grant of Probate and you will also need to attend an interview at the Probate Registry. Once this step is completed, you must ensure that any inheritance tax owed on the estate is paid. This may be difficult if most of the assets are tied up in property, but there is an option to pay in instalments if that is the case.
Once the Grant of Probate has been issued you can then start to administer the estate. This means you will be able to access bank accounts, savings, pension schemes and any other sources of money to transfer over to an executor’s bank account which you will have to open.
You will then need to collect any money owed to the estate and in addition, pay off any debts owed by the estate, including funeral costs and solicitors fees where necessary.
Any property will have to be placed onto the market and once sold, be distributed as stipulated in the Will. Your final requirements are to prepare the accounts for sign off by HMRC, notify the beneficiaries of their inheritance, send them a copy of the accounts and obtain sign off from each of them and then distribute all of the assets.
If this seems like a very complicated and stressful process, you may benefit from appointing a specialist solicitor to complete the probate process on your behalf.
This information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and each relationship breakdown requires careful consideration in our view by a fully qualified Solicitor before decisions are made and before you embark on a certain course of action.
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