“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes” Benjamin Franklin
No longer being physically here doesn’t mean you can’t ensure your estate is well cared for, assuming you have nominated a good Personal Representative (PR) beforehand. Nominating a suitable PR, also known as executor, is one of the most important parts of Will writing but one we often put too little thought into.
Before appointing your PR ask yourself some of the following questions:
- What are their communication skills like? They may need to speak or write to a number of organisations and individuals.
- What are their organisation/administration skills like? There can be a lot of form filling and follow up required.
- What is their relationship like with the beneficiaries (or non-beneficiaries) of the Will?
- Will they be in an appropriate state of mind to fulfil their duties (those closest to you are likely to be very upset – hopefully!)?
To put it into context, an Executor or Administrator can be required to:
- Prepare the application for and obtain the Grant – a ‘Grant of Representation’, also known as ‘Probate’ or ‘Letters of Administration’ (where there is no Will), i.e. getting legal permission to sort everything out.
- Ensure funeral arrangements are properly carried out (it is worth writing these down and ensuring people know where they are so the burden of thinking what you might like is lifted).
- Calculate the value of the estate, detailing the assets and liabilities to be submitted to the Inland Revenue. This can sometimes be needed even if no Grant is required to deal with the estate.
- Ensure all of your assets are brought under his/her control and, where necessary, converted to cash (e.g. selling your house).
- Ensure that your liabilities are settled in full (including the funeral account and any Inheritance Tax liability).
- Finalise your tax affairs to the date of death with the Inland Revenue, paying any outstanding tax or obtaining any refund that may be due. This may be necessary even if a Grant is not required to deal with the estate.
- Submit details of any income received after the date of death to the Inland Revenue, notify the Inland Revenue of the sale of assets such as properties and shares and pay any Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax that may be due.
- Ensure that any legacies contained or referred to in the Will are paid or distributed.
- Prepare Estate Accounts showing how the amount due to the residuary beneficiaries has been calculated.
- Ensure that the remainder of the estate is paid to the appropriate beneficiaries.
Having a capable executor in place is very reassuring but not as straight forward as you may think.
If you would like advice or wish to set up support to advise and share the Executors or Administrators responsibilities please contact Lisa Maley on 01892 526 344 or email email@example.com
The contents of this article are for general awareness purposes only. They do not constitute legal or professional advice, and the law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice on their own particular circumstances.