The Duty Of Executors
Executors are appointed in your will to deal with your estate when you pass away.
They are under a duty to ensure the terms of your Will are carried out.
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Executor & Administrator Responsibilities
After a person has died the law demands that someone takes responsibility for the administration of the deceased’s estate. This person is called the deceased’s Personal Representative. In a Will they are called the Executors. If there is no Will they are called Administrators. There are essentially four things that the Personal Representatives usually have to do:-
1. Ascertain The Value Of The Deceased’s Estate.
Collect details of the deceased’s assets including bank and building society accounts, shares, cars, houses, jewellery and furniture. Certain assets pass automatically to others on death – for example assets owned as joint tenants.
2. Obtaining Authority From The Probate Registry.
Unless the estate is very small, organisations will not actually hand over the deceased’s assets to the Personal Representative without an official court order from the Probate Registry of the High Court. This is usually referred to as 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 three documents. First the original Will (if there is one). Second, a sworn statement (the Oath), which explains how the Personal Representatives are entitled to act, and gives a valuation of the estate. Third, an account for the Inland Revenue is needed and a receipted invoice that Inheritance Tax has been paid.
3. Pay Any Inheritance Tax Due.
Inheritance Tax is a simple, if not well liked, concept – on death the first £325,000 (from 6 April 2012) is free from tax. After that tax is payable at 40%. Certain categories of beneficiaries do not have to pay Inheritance Tax, such as spouses and charities, and gifts made by the deceased seven years before their death. If Inheritance Tax is payable, then some or possibly all of it, must be paid before the court will issue the necessary Grant.
4. Distribute The Estate To The Beneficiaries
Once the Personal Representatives have received the Grant they can collect in all of the deceased’s assets, pay any outstanding bills, and then distribute the balance in accordance with the deceased’s Will, if there was one, or in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy if there was not. A formal account of all the money received, paid out and passed on needs to be prepared.
Are You An Executor? Need Legal Help?
Personal Representatives do not have to deal with matters themselves without legal help. They do not have to go it alone. Dealing with estates can be confusing, time consuming.
Executors have the legal right always turn to a solicitor for help and assistance.
Any legal fees will be payable by the estate not by the executors.
We at Seatons can help and provide you with free initial advice on all these matters.
Appointing Professional Executors
Many people prefer to appoint Professional Executors such as solicitors to act as their executors and trustees. Here are five great reasons:
Professional Efficient Service
You want your estate to be administered as quickly and efficiently as possible. But sometimes estates can be quite complicated and time consuming to administer. If you have made the important step of making a will then you do not want your executors to get confused, cause delays and make costly mistakes.
Avoid Legal Problems And Hassle For Your Loved Ones
After your death the last thing your loved ones are going to want to do is run around worrying and getting stressed trying to work their way through the legal complexities of administering an estate. By appointing Seatons as executors your loved ones can avoid the hassle and stress and ensure that they can focus on more important matters such as remembering you and coming to terms with their loss. They can focus on the more personal matters such as organising your funeral and sorting out your belongings and not worrying about the legal issues.
Friendly, Professional, Honest And Trustworthy
You need to make sure that your executors act in a completely honest and integrous way. We at Seatons, are legally required to ensure that your estate is administered accurately and properly in exactly the way you want.
Avoid Family Disputes
When people die all sorts of problems and disputes can arise even if you have made a will. We at Seatons are independent and unbiased and will make sure that any disputes or problems that might crop up are resolved quickly fairly and with as little fuss as possible.
Save On Legal Costs
Lawyers can charge all sorts of different fees for the work they do. We at Seatons pride ourselves on providing low sensible fees and most giving great value for money. Compared with appointing Banks, Accountants and other Solicitors as Executors you will find our fees are considerably lower. (You see, we don’t have fancy offices or flash cars to pay for so we can make sure that our fees are lower and better value than most other professional executors).