What are the duties
of an executor?

Duties of an executor

Duties of
an executor

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 agencies, 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 schedule of all the deceased’s assets should be drawn up.

8. Draw up a schedule of debts
Write down all the 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.

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"Our circumstances were complex – or so we thought. Nick worked with us to identify the best options for our estate."

G & S P. Lincolnshire

Being an executor is a big deal...

…too many people agree to take on the task without considering the consequences. Being an executor can be both time consuming and onerous. It will involve dealing with HMRC and the courts.

You will be liable to the beneficiaries for any actions that you take in the administration. If the deceased had a business then that becomes your responsibility as well.

Or you could save yourself the stress and appoint a professional from The Probate Service. Call us now on  0800 612 4512 to find out more.

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