When you create a will one of the first considerations is to appoint an executor. Ideally this should be someone that you trust implicitly to handle your affairs and estate after you die. Becoming an executor is a big responsibility and, in this article, who can be an executor and what their duties for the estate will entail.
Who can be an executor?
Many people will choose their civil partner, spouse or adult children to be their executor. You can choose anyone who you feel will be able to do the job and who you trust. You can choose up to four executors but bear in mind that this could lead to arguments if all four cannot agree.
Therefore, it is recommended that you choose two executors – should the worst happen and one of them dies, you will still have one who can manage the estate and all your personal affairs.
What are the duties of an executor?
When someone dies there is a lot to look after and organise such as handling inheritance tax and probate. Executor’s must carry out their responsibilities professionally and legally.
The main duty as an executor will be to distribute the estate to the beneficiaries which means getting a picture of what the estate is worth.
They will need to pay the inheritance tax as well as any outstanding debt. The remainder of the estate is then distributed in accordance with the terms of the will.
Executors should take their role seriously as they can be personally liable for any mistakes, so it is worth understanding the role fully before you decide to take it on.
Other duties and responsibilities include:
- Manage the whereabouts of the will
- Inform all relevant parties where the deceased’s assets are held and ensure that all accounts are frozen until a grant of probate has been issued or in the case of no will, letters of administration
- Obtain a detailed valuation of all assets held by the deceased as at the date of death
- Obtain detailed list of all debts and liabilities of the deceased as at the date of death
- Complete the inheritance tax returns based
- Collect in the assets of the deceased, when the grant of probate or letters of administration is issued
- Pay the debts and liabilities of the estate and transfer assets to the beneficiaries
- Prepare the estate accounts
- Prepare and file any income tax returns
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