It is the responsibility of the Executors appointed in a Will to administer the Estate, but there is more to the role than many people realise. The moment the Testator (the person who has made a the Will or given a legacy) dies, the role of the Executor(s) (person or institution appointed by a testator to carry out the terms of their Will) begins and there are some very important initial duties to fulfil before distributions can be made to beneficiaries:
- Securing the assets. Executors are now legally responsible for the assets of the Testator and may need to secure the property and belongings, e.g. change the locks on the property, switch off utilities etc.
- Insuring the assets. Executors must ensure that the house and contents are insured.
- Arranging the funeral, which is an Executor duty, but normally involves the family
- Assessing the death estate assets & liabilities
- Calculating whether there is an Inheritance Tax liability, completing the relevant forms, agreeing with HMRC and arranging to pay HMRC.
- Arranging for the Grant of Probate, which gives legal authority to the Executors to deal with the Estate
- Calling in assets
- Paying debts and liabilities
- Completing Estate Accounts
- Distributing the Estate according to the Will
Sadly many family members are appointed as Executors in Wills and have no idea of the Executors’ responsibilities and often do not know they have been appointed in the Will until the Testator dies.
The great news is that Executors who do not feel able to complete the role can appoint us to deal with the estate administration taking away the burden when many are grieving.