No simple task – the Executor
Caversham Bridge Newspaper – March 2022
The following article is in the Caversham Bridge newspaper – March 2022. Caversham Bridge Newspaper is available to purchase from Fourbears Bookshop and other outlets within Caversham. More details from The Caversham Bridge Website.
No simple task – the Executor
WE HOPE our articles on Estate Planning have helped you to better understand how to ensure your family and loved ones are protected when you are gone. This month the spotlight is on the Executor of your Will.
When writing a Will, you will state who you want to execute the Will on your death. The person or persons appointed are called the Executor(s). It is your choice who to appoint. It is often a spouse or child, either on their own, or with the help of a professional service, friend, or another family member.
An Executor must carry out certain tasks and duties to fulfil legally the obligations of executing the Will and your wishes within it. Depending on the size and complexity of your Will, there may be many tasks to carry out or to be organised with other family members. This can include:
- Obtaining a copy of the medical certificate and then registration of the death
- Ensure any last wishes such as organ or body donations are carried out
- Obtaining the Will of the Deceased
- Locate all the heirs and beneficiaries
- Value all assets and liabilities of the estate
- Open a separate executor bank account to deposit money collected
- Notify all businesses of the death, e.g. Utility Companies, Credit Card Companies, Banks, Council Tax Offices, Social Security etc
- Make sure that all the Deceased’s debts are settled
- If there are minor or dependent children, the Executor could be responsible for arranging their care and placement
- Calculate and declare the value of the estate to HMRC on an Inheritance Tax return
- Pay the Deceased’s Tax and any Inheritance Tax due
- Apply for Probate
- Distribute the contents of, and ensure distribution to any Trusts established within the Will
- Produce a full set of accounts for the Beneficiaries showing the estate assets and liabilities, administration income and expenses and how the estate has been distributed
And be aware, if the Executor forgets to settle a liability before distributing the assets, he or she will be personally liable for the debt.
Acting as an Executor is a tough job. You should consider careful who to appoint. It is a time-consuming task, which carries both personal and legal liability. It can be onerous at a distressing time for relatives and there is always the risk of divisions causing problems with beneficiaries.
You or I can achieve the obligations and tasks for an Executor. However, it is a big responsibility and can take up long hours and, let’s be honest, it is not a task that many get thanked for. This is especially so if there is the possibility of an unhappy family member not named in the Will or who has received less than they expected.
If you have someone in mind to be your Executor, discuss it with them. Make sure they understand what the role involves and discuss the option of involving a professional executor service to help and support them.
David Robinson is Director of Templar Estate Planning, a specialist Will Writing and Estate Planning provider based in the heart of Caversham within Church House.