Many aren’t aware of the obligations that come with being an Executor of someone’s Will. Executors have a number of duties, depending on the complexity of the deceased person’s financial and family circumstances.
An Executor’s first task would be to find the deceased person’s property and manage it until it’s shared amongst the beneficiaries. This may involve deciding whether to sell land or securities owned by the deceased person. Making enquiries with both asset and liability holders and obtaining valuations for property, land, and personal chattels is the Executor’s requirement. After the enquiries have been made it will be clear to the Executor whether or not a Grant of Probate would be needed for dealing with the administration of the estate
A Grant of Probate is a document which authorises the executor to deal with the estate of the deceased. It enables them to deal with certain aspects of administering the estate like closing bank accounts and selling or transferring property. A Grant of Probate is not required to deal with the handling of all estates, however it is often the case that one would be required.
Once the assets and liabilities of the estate have been determined, the Executors will be required to submit an Inheritance Tax return which will confirm whether there is any Inheritance Tax due from the estate. The Executors will need to make sure that any reliefs have been applied and that the right sum of Inheritance Tax is paid. The Executors will also need to consider any lifetime gifts which the deceased made in the 7 years prior to their death as well as any trusts which they may have benefited from.
After completing the Inheritance Tax return the Executor will need to sign and swear an Oath. The Oath sets out information of the deceased and how the Executor has the right to deal with the administration of the estate. The Oath is submitted to the Probate Registry once it has been both signed and sworn. The Grant of Probate is normally issued in two weeks.
After receiving the Grant of Probate you would be able to progress with collecting in the assets of the estate. You will be able to arrange the closure of bank accounts and the sale and transfer of the property.
After all of the assets have been collected in and all of the liabilities have been paid, the Executors will then be able to distribute the estate according to the Will, or if there was no Will and the deceased died “intestate” then the estate will need to be distributed in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy. A set of Estate Accounts should be produced and – if requested – should be made available to beneficiaries and creditors of the estate.
The distribution of the estate to the beneficiaries is the Executor’s final task regarding its administration. An Executor is not required to administer an estate before the expiration of one year from the date of death (the “Executor’s Year”). However, if all of the assets have been collected in and all liabilities settled then there is no reason to delay paying the beneficiaries.
If you have been appointed as an Executor and you require any assistance in dealing with the administration of an estate please contact Angie Newnham on 01202 877 400!