When someone dies it is necessary to find out who has the authority to deal with their affairs and if the person has made a Will. They may have appointed you to act as their executor to sort out their affairs after their death.
You will be their choice of legal representative once they have died and this often comes at a difficult time of bereavement. You do not have to act as an executor. When making a decision whether to act, you should consider the time and work which may be involved and how long the process may take before you accept the role.
What does acting as an executor involve?
As an executor you will need to carry out the deceased person’s wishes as far as possible and you will be responsible for securing their financial affairs, getting valuations of assets, paying any tax due and sorting out their house and belongings as well as their investments.
If you do decide to act there are a number of steps to be taken to fulfil the duties of acting as an executor, such as:
- Registering the death;
- Arranging the funeral;
- Securing the house and contents;
- Valuing the estate assets;
- Gathering details of the debts and telling the various parties;
- Completing an Inland Revenue Account and paying any inheritance tax;
- Sorting out the income tax affairs with HMRC;
- Applying for a Grant of Probate;
- Gathering in the assets, paying the debts and contacting the beneficiaries;
- Preparing accounts and calculating what is due to the beneficiaries;
- Sorting out the sale of the house and other property;
- Distributing the estate according to the wishes in the Will.
To help you make sure that you have all the papers and information needed when beginning the estate administration process, please download our List of papers required following a death questionnaire
Some Do’s and Don’ts when acting as an executor:
- Do find the Will and any appendices as quickly as possible and check if there are any funeral wishes referred to;
- Do store the Will and appendices in a safe place and don’t pin or attach them to anything;
- Do keep financial documents such as Deeds, Passbooks, Share Certificate and Policy Documents in a safe place and carry out a thorough search of the deceased’s papers to check everyone has been notified;
- Do keep the deceased’s papers in order and don’t mix them up with your own;
- Do put together a list of relatives or beneficiaries named in the Will with names and addresses who may need to be notified;
- Do gather together the deceased’s documents such as their Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates and those of any former husband, wife or civil partner or children as well as any divorce papers;
- Do identify and secure any specific items the deceased person wanted to give to a particular beneficiary and consider getting it valued before giving it away;
- Don’t throw out the deceased’s financial papers until the estate administration process is complete, in case these are needed to deal with tax queries or other claims;
- Do keep receipts for any costs you have had to pay, if you need to claim these from the estate;
- Do check all the debts have been paid before you distribute the estate or you may find you are personally liable for these.
You can also take a look at our handy probate checklist, to help you understand the steps involved.
How can SAS Daniels help with acting as an executor?
Our specialist team can help you assess if you want to take on the role, the immediate steps you need to take and other aspects where you may want professional help right up to the point the estate is concluded. The administration of an estate can be a time-consuming process at a difficult time. We have the expertise and sensitivity to work with you when you need support and guide you through the process from start to finish, leaving you confident and reassured that you’re doing the right thing.
Job Title: Partner
Phone: 01260 282306