Guide For Executors
If you are an executor to the estate, what are your responsibilities? Where do you start with probate, and where do you end? This guide is designed to provide you with some answers.
However, if you have any questions about your role as an executor, the easiest thing to do is to call us on 0800 907 8694 or complete the free enquiry form on the right hand side of this page ».
Valuing the Estate
At the beginning of an Administration of an Estate, an estimate of what the Estate is worth should be obtained, which includes an assessment of the extent of any liabilities in the Estate. This then allows for an application for Grant of Probate – a legal title which allows the Executors to deal with the assets according to the wishes of the deceased. As the Executor(s) become personally liable for life once they begin to act as Executors, they must swear an Oath undertaking to administer the Estate legally.
Applying for Probate
The next stage is to submit all the papers from the above assessment, the Will and any Codicils to the Probate Court. At this point any inheritance tax due (excluding inheritance tax in any properties which can be delayed for a six month period) has to be paid to the Capital Taxes Office. The Executor(s) may need to raise a loan to meet this cost if there are insufficient cash assets immediately available. It usually takes about four weeks for a Grant of Probate to be issued.
Collecting the Assets
Once the Executor(s) have received the Grant of Probate, they will need to register it with various companies who are holding assets. This allows the Executor(s) to deal with the assets which will have been frozen up to this point. The Executor(s) will then collect all the readily available assets (unless the beneficiaries have specifically asked the Executor(s) not to) and, as far as possible, settle any outstanding liabilities and pay any cash gifts.
Dealing with Income Tax
During the early stages of the Administration, the Executor(s) will need to collect the information required to complete the final income tax return and agree the tax position with the Inland Revenue.
Property at Home
If a property is involved in the Estate and is to be sold, the Executor(s) will need to bring in estate agents as soon as possible and instruct solicitors to deal with the conveyancing.
Any overseas assets in the Estate will often involve legal formalities in the country in question and in some cases the Executor(s) may need to appoint an attorney to act on their behalf. You should bear in mind that such legal formalities can be very lengthy and often lead to delays in finalising matters in an Estate.
The Executor(s) will need to distribute the funds available to beneficiaries as soon as possible & allow for any claims that may be made against the Estate and any further tax claims. It may be prudent for the Executor(s) to keep adequate reserves to cover any further Administration expenses.
Once the Executor(s) have established all the assets and liabilities in the Estate and the income tax position is finalised, the Executor(s) will need to send a final account to the Capital Taxes Office, showing any amendments to the assets and liabilities previously declared. The Executor(s) will also need to settle any unpaid inheritance tax. When this is agreed, the Executor(s) will receive a formal letter of inheritance tax clearance. On completion of the Administration the Executor(s) should prepare a full statement detailing all the assets and payments made from the Estate. The Executor(s) should then send copies of this statement to the residuary beneficiaries together with any final payments.
This Guide For Executors is an overview of the process involved, It’s never possible to say precisely how long the Administration of any particular Estate will take because it depends on the nature of the assets and the legal matters that arise, by choosing ‘Practical probate’ to administer the Estate you can rest assured that we will endeavor to complete the process in the shortest of timescales.
Free Probate Enquiry
For all of your probate enquiries, Practical Probate are here to help you. Please either call us today on 0808 223 9012 or complete the Free Online Enquiry.