I have been appointed as an Executor, what next?
Being appointed as an Executor can be seen as a privilege or a curse, but worse of all is when it comes as a surprise!
If you are asked to be an Executor, many questions will be raised including the following:
– What is an Executor?
– What does an Executor do and is there a specific process to follow?
– Does being an Executor cost me anything?
So, let’s have a look at some of those questions…
An Executor is appointed by someone in a Will, so that when that person passes away the Executor can collect and protect the estate, property and assets of the deceased and carry out the distribution of such items in accordance with the deceased’s wishes.
If you are appointed as an Executor, although this can involve a considerable amount of work, it is a privilege. By being appointed as an Executor, the person appointing you has put their ultimate trust in you to carry out their final wishes to collect in and distribute their estate and possessions as they wanted.
Some of the initial steps to take upon becoming an Executor are:
– Ensuring that a Death Certificate is obtained
As the Executor you will be responsible for notifying certain people, companies and authorities of the death and so the Death Certificate will be required. It is possible to obtain more than one copy of this and so it may be wise to do so.
– Finding the Will
As the Executor you will need the Will in order to apply for Probate.
– Consider whether you require help
As the Executor you do not have to carry out all of the administration of the estate by yourself, you can ask for professional help from solicitors, probate specialists and/or tax advisers.
If the estate is relatively small and doesn’t have any complexities, the Executor may well decide that they can carry out the process by themselves and this is also fine.
– Applying for the Grant of Probate
This is the official document giving you authority to administer the estate of the deceased, collect in and deal with their assets and then distribute them accordingly.
– Collecting in the Assets
The Will and any accompanying documents that the deceased may have left may well give specific instructions as to what the deceased has and, importantly, where it can be located, however such specifics may not be given.
As the Executor you will need to ensure that you collect in and account for all of the deceased’s assets including property, stocks, shares, bank accounts, ISAs, personal items etc. The Executor will also be responsible for ensuring that relevant insurance is in place for the assets until they can be distributed in accordance with the Will.
– Paying the estate debts and any taxes
The estate is responsible for paying the funeral costs and any taxes due in relation to the deceased and the estate. The Executor is not responsible for paying these personally however, the Executor is responsible for ensuring that these are paid from the estate. The Executor should also put a notice to debtors in the London Gazette.
The Executor will then be responsible for distributing the estate assets, following the payment of all debts and taxes, in accordance with the deceased wishes as set out in their Will. A detailed record of this, and all the steps taken by the Executor, should be kept throughout the process.
Remember, if you are putting your Will in place, have a chat with your proposed Executors and let them know that you trust them implicitly and so that is why you would love them to be an Executor. Having the conversation may well be difficult but it will save, what can be a shocking, surprise should anything happen to you and they are required to act.
An Executor has the right to refuse to act, if they are unwilling do so and so discussions at the time that a Will is put in place are important to overcome this. An Executor may be unable to act, through incapacity or if their death occurs before yours, however having conversations with your proposed Executors, when putting your Will in place, should prevent any surprises and limit the risk of them renouncing their obligations when the time comes.
We are always happy to have a chat with you about who you may want to appoint as your Executors and even help with the discussion with Executors and answer any questions that they may have.
If you would like to have a free chat about your Will, please contact us on info@TotalLegacyCare.co.uk or 01727 865 121
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