If you have lost a close relative and are named as executor of their estate, it is important to have a basic knowledge of how Probate works and the various aspects that are involved.
This web page will provide you with a basic overview of the responsibilities you will be required to undertake upon being appointed as an executor.
At Seatons, we offer a helpful and friendly service with low fees that provide exceptional value for money.
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If you have recently lost a loved one, and have been named as the executor of their estate, it is important to have a basic knowledge of probate law in order to understand and implement executors responsibilities lawfully and effectively. This web page will provide you with a basic overview of the responsibilities you will be required to undertake upon being appointed as an executor.
Seatons Solicitors are a firm who specialise in dealing with probate and estate administration work. At Seatons, we offer a helpful and friendly service with low fees that provide exceptional value for money.
As executor of the deceased’s estate, you will be responsible for carrying out the four following basic tasks:
- Ascertain the value of the deceased’s estate.
- Obtain authority from the Probate Registry.
- Obtain assets and pay debts
- Distribute the estate to the beneficiaries.
At Seatons, we can help advise on each of these areas and offer a tailored service to suit your specific requirements.
1. Ascertain The Value Of The Deceased’s Estate
Executors need to ascertain the value of the deceased’s estate, which involves obtaining valuations of all assets and liabilities. This will include bank and building society accounts, investment, policies, shares, cars, houses, jewellery and valuable personal possessions.
Certain assets that were jointly owned by the deceased can pass automatically to the surviving owner(s); for example,a house that is jointly owned by a husband and wife, provided that they are beneficial joint tenants.
Information will usually only be released by organisations to the executor if a certified copy of the death certificate and the deceased’s will are produced.
2. Obtain Authority From The Probate Registry
Unless the estate is very small, and under £20,000 (approximately), organisations will not hand over the deceased’s assets to the executor without an official document from the Probate Registry of the High Court, which confirms that the executor is entitled to handle the deceased’s affairs. This is called a Grant of Probate, if there is a will, or a Grant of Letters of Administration, if there is no will. In order to obtain a Grant, the Court will normally want to see the following four documents:-
- The last original will (if there is one);
- An official copy of the death certificate;
- A statement, signed by the executor, which explains how they are entitled to act, and gives a valuation of the estate;
- An estate account for the Inland Revenue (HMRC) is needed and a receipted invoice from the Inland Revenue that any Inheritance Tax has been paid by the executor. This must be obtained from the Inland Revenue beforehand, who will issue it upon being sent the estate account and any tax due being paid.
3. Collect Assets and pay Debts
Once the executor has received the Grant, they can proceed with gathering together the deceased’s assets, and paying any outstanding debts,.
4. Distributing The Estate to The Beneficiaries
When all the assets have been collected in and debts have been paid then the executor can distribute the balance of the estate in accordance with the deceased’s will, if there was one, or in accordance with the law of intestacy, if there is no will.
The executor needs to keep a formal account of all the assets they have received and debts paid, including interest on any money held since the deceased’s death. All the beneficiaries are normally entitled to see this account.
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