My elderly Uncle has asked me to be Executor to his Will. What does this entail? I am unsure whether to accept.
People often underestimate the time and work involved in agreeing to become an Executor to Will. This should not deter you, but you need to be aware of your responsibilities if you do agree to your Uncle’s request.
As Executor, you will be named in your Uncle’s Will as the person to deal with his affairs after his death. You will be required to apply for a ‘Grant of Probate’ from the Court. This Grant is a legal document, which confirms that you, as the Executor have the full authority to deal with the deceased’s estate.
It is essential that the Executor is organised and keeps full, clear records of all transactions and decisions made on behalf of the deceased. The beneficiaries of the Will, Creditors or the Court can request to see these records, there could be confusion or suspicions raised if the records are incomplete or imprecise.
The Grant of Probate shows that you have the right to access your Uncle’s funds/bank accounts and to manage his financial affairs.
If the estate is of a substantial size (more than £325,000.00), then it may be subject to Inheritance Tax. It is the responsibility of the Executor to ensure that the correct Inheritance Tax is paid. If Inheritance Tax is due then it is advisable that you seek financial advice to ensure that the rules are fully complied with. However, regardless of the size of the estate Inheritance Tax forms will still need to be completed as part of the application for Probate.
As an Executor to Will, you are also required to;
- Collect all assets from the estate (for example, money from the sale of any properties)
- Pay debts such as unpaid utility bills
- Distribute the estate to the beneficiaries as laid out in the Will
There are a number of issues, which may arise if an Executor is not thorough, or in full possession of estate portfolio. For example, if the deceased has debts that the Executor is not aware of. This is a particular problem if the debts come to light after the estate has been distributed.
The Executor is responsible for ensuring that assets are maintained and insurances such as buildings and contents insurance are kept up to date. Prior to the distribution of the estate, it is the responsibility of the Executor to manage the assets wisely on behalf of the Beneficiaries.
It is imperative that your Uncle has a valid Will in place for you to administer if you decide to accept his request. If you do wish to proceed, and as your Uncle has made the very difficult decision to ask you, we are able to visit and update his Will so that his final wishes are very clearly communicated. Gerard James Estate Planning Limited conducts all meetings at our clients’ homes. We are flexible on time and are not fixed to traditional office hours.
If you are in any doubt or have any further questions about Executor to Will, call 07905 748073 to arrange a consultation.