Executors: What You Need to Know

An important part of writing your Will is appointing an executor or executors.

The role of an executor is to sort out your estate when you die in accordance with your Will. They will be responsible not only for distributing your estate but for making sure the right amount of tax is paid. They may have to pay Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax and of course Inheritance Tax

It is a vital and important role which comes with a great deal of responsibility. The action to be taken will depend on each estate but may include:

  • Identifying all assets and labilities¬†of the estate.
  • Writing to banks, building societies, credit cards and insurers to notify them of the death.
  • Inform the relevant government departments.
  • Deal with any pensions the person had.
  • Claim life insurance premiums due.
  • Stop any direct debits.
  • Place a notice in the London Gazette and other publications.
  • Make decisions about selling estate assets such as property or shares.
  • Maintain estate accounts and records.
  • Calculate tax and apply for any available reliefs or transferrable nil rate bands.
  • Pay the tax due from the estate.

Executors are personally liable for any mistakes that are made during this process and they could be accountable for any losses to the beneficiaries of the estate or the tax man. In addition to all of this it is likely that an executor may be a loved one who is also grieving, making the process even more difficult for them.

It is therefore when preparing your Will you carefully consider who you nominate to be your Executor. Traditionally this may have been your spouse, children or even grandchildren. In the complex and every changing world we now live in we are seeing more and more requests for a Professional Executor to be appointed, but what are the benefits of appointing a Professional Executor?

  • They will have the expertise to deal with your estate. They have administered many estates and there are few situations and circumstances they have not seen. This means they are best placed to deal with the tax affairs, selling assets and managing the investments.
  • They are impartial so if any disputes arise between family members they are able to act in the best interests of the estate at all times.
  • There will always be someone available to act. If your appointed executor is a friend or family member when the time comes they may not be willing or able to act, your executor will then be appointed in accordance with the Non-contentious Probate Rules. This may be someone you would not want to administer your estate.
  • It removes the burden of responsibility from your loved ones at an already difficult time
  • Many Professional Executors will work on a fixed % fee so the costs are clear from the start. If you appoint a friend or family member it is likely they will instruct a Solicitor to complete the work which will come at a cost to the estate which can be unpredictable.

If you are interested in appointing a Professional Executor please give our friendly team a call who will be able to assist.