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DUTIES OF EXECUTORS
An executor's role is critical to the smooth running of the estate - Dealing with someone’s affairs after their death can be an emotional and difficult thing to do. If you are in this situation and need some advice please call us today and we will be happy to help.
1. Register the Death – Obtain copies of the Death Certificate, several copies will be required as many organisations will need sight of an Original Death Certificate. This will include Banks, Insurance Companies, and other organisations that hold any assets or funds that may need to be released, for example shares and other equities. Copies obtained from the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages are considered to be ‘originals’, photocopies of the Certificate are not.
2. Obtain the Will – An executor should know of the whereabouts of the Original Will and should retrieve it in order to begin to carry out the deceased’s wishes.
3. Arrange the Funeral – The cost of this is normally the first thing to be paid from the deceased estate. The deceased may have left instructions regarding their funeral wishes in the Will and an executor should see that these are carried out. An executor should make enquiries as to the existence of any pre-paid funeral plan, and should one be in force make the appropriate arrangements.
4. Apply for a Grant of Probate – via the nearest probate registry, details of which can be obtained by calling Will and Probate Services.
5. Arrange to open a Personal Representative’s Bank Account – This is for use with any money due to the estate or any loan arranged to pay inheritance tax and/ or probate fees.
6. Inform all Relevant Persons – Banks, Building Societies, Insurance Companies, Employers, Local Authorities, Benefits Agency, Tax Authorities etc.
7. Arrange a Valuation of the Estate – this could include the house, all of its contents, investments, stocks and shares, life policies and all other personal goods. A detailed schedule of all the deceased’s assets should be drawn up.
8. Draw up a Schedule of Debts – that must be paid by the estate. This could include; Mortgages, Loans, Credit Cards, Household Bills, Taxes, and Overdrafts.
9. Complete the Required Paperwork – Forms required by the Inland Revenue Capital Taxes Office to determine whether any inheritance tax is due, and the probate forms which need to be taken or sent to the probate office together with the original will and death certificate.
10. Swear the Papers – Provided the case is straightforward an appointment will be made with the Probate Office within 5 – 6 weeks of submitting the documents.
11. Deal with Inheritance Tax – If Inheritance Tax is due, the executors’ account of the estate is passed to the Capital Taxes Office; the grant of probate cannot be issued until the tax is paid. In circumstances where part of the estate needs to be sold to pay Inheritance Tax banks can arrange loan facilities to pay the tax straight away.
12. Distribute the copies of the Grant of Probate – The executors now have legal authority over the estate and should distribute copies of the grant to persons who owe the estate money.
13. Distribute the Estate – When the Grant of Probate is received the estate can be divided according to the instructions left in the deceased’s Will. The executor should keep accounts showing exactly what they have done and these should prove that the executor has acted in accordance with the wishes expressed in the Will. This is important in case there is any query or challenge from the beneficiaries or the family.
14. Store the Records – All paperwork, including the grant of probate should be stored securely for a minimum of twelve years.