When deciding who to appoint as executor in your Will, it is important to understand the duties and responsibilities of that person in order to ensure your estate is in trustworthy hands and is administered properly after your death. Likewise, if you have been appointed as the Executor in someone’s Will then it is equally as important for you to understand what this role involves and the legal responsibilities that will follow.
What you should consider when appointing someone as executor?
Choosing an Executor or Executors is a very important and personal choice. You may consider appointing a family member or a friend as your Executor – in which case, it is important to ensure that this person is someone you trust and also someone that you know will be able to handle the legal and practical responsibilities of the role.
Many people prefer to appoint a professional executor, such as a Solicitor. By appointing a Solicitor as your executor you will have peace of mind that the person dealing with your estate has the skills and expertise in order to do so. Moreover, this takes away the stress from your loved ones at what is already an extremely difficult time.
If you want to choose more than one executor, you must ensure that you choose people who you can trust to work together.
What your responsibilities are if you are appointed as an Executor?
Primarily, the Executor may be responsible for registering the death of the deceased as soon as possible after death. If the deceased has expressed a preference in respect of their funeral in their Will then the Executor is obliged to fulfil this, if possible and practical.
However, the main duty of the Executor is to ensure the deceased’s estate is properly wound up and their wishes in their Will are carried out.
An Executor must ascertain exactly what property, money and other assets the deceased owned at the time of their death and the date of death value for these assets. This may mean formal valuations need to be instructed in relation to certain assets. If the total assets minus liabilities totals more than £325,000.00 then the Executor is legally responsible for submitting the relevant inheritance tax forms to HMRC.
The Executor has a responsibility of ensuring that any debts and taxes due from the estate are settled prior to distributing to the beneficiaries mentioned in the Will.
Having collected all assets and settling all debts, including income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax, the Executor must distribute the estate according to the last Will. The Executor has a duty to the beneficiaries of the Will and needs to be prepared to justify to them how the estate has been dealt with.
What happens if an Executor does not perform their duties?
If an Executor does not perform or breaches their duties, they could be held personally financially liable for their mistakes. For this reason, it is essential that the Executor fully understands their role and what is required from them when dealing with the estate of the deceased. If an Executor has any doubts about what is required from them, they should instruct a Solicitor to assist them in the process.
How can Jones Whyte help?
If you have been appointed as an Executor of someone’s Will but are unsure or not confident with dealing with the estate, contact Jones Whyte now our private client department who are specialised in dealing with the administration of estates can assist you in your role.
Alternatively, if you are considering writing a new Will for yourself but are unsure who to appoint as your Executor, Jones Whyte are happy to be appointed as your Executor to give you peace of mind that your estate will be administered properly and efficiently after your death.
For more information and assistance on the responsibilities of being an executor please contact our friendly & experienced Bereavement team on 0330 175 1234 or by clicking the link below and filling in our contact form. One of our team will be in contact with you promptly.
Contact Our Bereavement Team
Contact our experienced and sympathetic bereavement team for further information or advice.