When someone passes away, it will be up to their executors to complete the probate process, administer their estate and carry out their final wishes. But what exactly is an executor? What do their responsibilities entail? And who can you ask for help if you feel unable to cope with the duty of being an executor?
What is an executor?
When you make a last will and testament, you are allowed to name four executors. These will be the people responsible for administering your estate after you are gone. It is a considerable amount of work, so you should think carefully about who to appoint. You may choose a relative or a close friend, or you may choose a professional such as a solicitor or an accountant. Whoever you name, you must ensure that you ask their permission: remember, acting as an executor can take a lot of time and effort, so not everyone will be ready and willing.
What responsibilities does an executor have?
When a person dies, the executors appointed in the will are automatically bestowed with the task of estate administration. This will involve:-
- Locating and collecting all the assets of the deceased’s estate;
- Valuing the entire estate;
- Applying for a grant of probate;
- Paying inheritance tax, if necessary;
- Paying funeral expenses, as well as outstanding bills and debts;
- Distributing the estate amongst the named beneficiaries.
An executor does, therefore, have a wide range of responsibilities that can be very consuming, both in terms of time and energy. Furthermore, it may be necessary to temporarily fund certain elements out of your own pocket. This is especially likely if inheritance tax is due, as some of it will have to be paid before probate is granted.
How can a solicitor help an executor?
Acting as an executor is undoubtedly a daunting prospect; however, this may only become apparent after a loved one has died. Often, friends and family will accept the role, only to discover just how overwhelming the task can be.
That is why if you are choosing your executors, you should seriously consider naming a professional who has the necessary skills and expertise to perform the role. Alternatively, if you are currently acting as an executor and are in need of help, you should seek assistance from a solicitor who specialises in wills and probate.
Depending upon the amount of work you would like to relinquish, a solicitor can either help you with certain aspects of the probate process, or take on the role in its entirety. This will allow you to rest assured that all the legal technicalities will be properly addressed, taking the weight off your shoulders during what is already a difficult time.
Would you like legal assistance?
If you are an executor and are in need of help from a legal expert, contact us at Roskell Davies solicitors. We can explain the various ways in which we can help in more detail, allowing you to decide whether you would benefit from professional assistance.
Fill in a free online enquiry here.
Or call us on 0800 142 2901 today.