What are executors?
The Executor is simply the person who is nominated by you (the testator of the Will) to carry out your desired actions and give directions to everyone involved. The Executor has the role of distributing your property and belongings to the designated beneficiaries. They will also obtain any information about your potential heirs and be responsible for collecting and arranging the payments of debts of the estate and approving or disapproving claims from creditors. The Executor’s duties also include making sure that the estate taxes have been calculated and that necessary forms are filed and tax payments are made. Essentially, the Executor is the representative of your estate.
The process of naming and carrying out the duties of the executor can be rather traumatic seeing as the executor is often a close family member and they have to deal with their own grief while carrying out certain duties. They have to make sure your estate is secure, pay any debts, gather all assets, possibly pay inheritance tax and then distribute what is left in the will whilst grieving over their loss. It is important for them to get on top of these actions as the longer the process carries on for, the harder the situation will become.
Although the duties of the Executor seem rather daunting the amount of work that goes into the role can vary. The Executor you nominate can still decide on help from a third party such as a professional Executor or a solicitor. They can be drafted in to carry out almost all the work or a small proportion of it depending on the situation. If they choose to carry out the work or not they still have certain requirements they must adhere to. This would typically consist of performing the initial tasks of locating and valuing your assets. This can also be a complicated procedure depending in the size of the event. If they even fail to accomplish this for whatever reason they should at least sign the essential documents.
Grant of Probate (Letters of Administration)
Your Executor needs to apply for a Grant of Probate from the probate registry to gain the right to control the assets in your estate. Occasionally a Grant of Probate is not needed. For example, if the estate was held jointly by your surviving husband or wife, they would automatically receive the assets.
Despite the amount of work that goes into the probate process, the relevant individuals are legally entitled to be reimbursed all of the expenses from the estate. So the duty should not become a financial drawback, especially considering the loss they have suffered.
Other important information
The Executors have to deal with HMRC’s requirements (HM Revenue and Customs). This happens before the Executor obtains the Grant of Probate. This task consists of obtaining a valuation of the entire estate at the time of death. The valuations that are necessary include; all your accounts, stocks, shares, bonds, funds, loans, mortgages, credit card balances, all other types of debts, the house, car, furniture and other belongings.
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