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Have you been appointed as an Executor in a Will and don’t know where to start? Let us help!

An Executor is a person appointed in a Will to carry out the wishes of a deceased person. In the absence of a Will, the Court will appoint an Executor to a deceased person’s estate. There is a very specific order for who ranks first to be appointed and depends upon your relationship with the deceased.

If you have been appointed as an Executor, there are lots of things to consider. One of these is that you will be taking on personal liability. It is important to ensure that you know what you are doing if you decide to proceed without any legal advice. You should also consider whether this is a role you actually want to take on. Being an Executor can, at times, be very time-consuming and complex.

Depending on the value of the estate and whether any Inheritance Tax is payable, the Executor will be responsible for payment of that tax on time and will be required to deal with HMRC. As a general rule of thumb, we would always recommend that accountants handle the income tax and Capital Gains reporting if that is required, but they will still need you, as Executor, to provide them with all of the relevant information and paperwork and sign off on this.

In addition to dealing with any Inheritance Tax matters, an Executor will also need to establish the nature and extent of the estate. This includes determining all assets the deceased had at their date of death. You will also need to identify any outstanding debts to be paid and deal with payment of these efficiently.

If the deceased’s Will provided for legacies to be paid, the Executor will also be required to attend to payment of these. This can be difficult if the estate comprises more than just cash as consideration will have to be given as to how to satisfy the legacies, whether that be selling or transferring assets.

Most importantly, all of the beneficiaries require to be located and contacted regarding what they have been left and this is another responsibility that falls to the Executor. If the address details of beneficiaries are unknown, you may require instructing third parties such as a tracing agent to locate them. Again, the Executor is responsible for this.

If you have been appointed as an Executor, it is crucial to take into consideration all of the matters you will have to deal with. The first step is to seek advice from a solicitor specialising in estate work. This is where we come in! Our dedicated and compassionate team are here to guide you through the process and help you navigate the complexities ensuring that matters are as stress-free as possible for you.

Helpfully, the legal costs which a solicitor charges will be a post-death expense which can be deducted from the estate funds and not paid by you personally. This, of course, is dependent on whether there are sufficient funds in the estate to allow for this.

So, if you are an Executor who isn’t sure where to turn, please contact our helpful team who would be pleased to assist.

Click here to read more about the role of an Executor

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