If a loved one has recently died and you have been named as an executor, there are certain things you must do to ensure that the whole process runs smoothly, otherwise this could lead to disputes, delays or inheritance tax issues, or a number of other unfortunate events.
Saga Legal services have produced a list of the things that you must do to ensure that the whole process runs smoothly:
Obtain a medical certificate
Obtain the medical certificate which shows the cause of death. You must then register the death and then assist with arranging the funeral, which will include checking to see whether the deceased had a pre-planned the funeral prior to their death. The person responsible for arranging the funeral will also be considered liable to pay the funeral expenses, which can be reclaimed from the estate of the deceased.
Would you want to be an Executor…?
While you will no doubt feel honoured to have been named an executor of a loved one’s Will, bear in mind that dealing with the process is time-consuming and takes an awful lot of patience and often organisational skill. If you want to be an executor, but perhaps need a little help or guidance there are a great number of services available, whose fees are usually offset against the value of the estate. Similarly, if you are over 50 and are looking to choose an executor for your Will, this article by Saga provides a wealth of in-depth of information.
To distribute the estate, you will need to:
Ultimately, the aim of an executor is to ensure to that the estate is distributed to the relevant beneficiaries, but before this can happen, as executor you must ensure that an inventory is taken of everything in the estate and that its total value is worked out. You must then calculate and pay inheritance tax, before applying for a grant of probate. When this has been granted the assets must be collected and any debts owed by the deceased must be paid off. If the Will does not specify that property or investments should be transferred to someone else, then these must be sold.
After this (often lengthy) process is complete, the estate may be distributed to the beneficiaries.