When a loved one dies, it can leave you lost. If your loved one left behind a Last Will and Testament, however, it provides a guideline on what to do to settle their estate. If you were named an executor (which you can be even if you are a beneficiary named in the will), then it is up to you to carry out their will and to settle their debts.
With the help of a solicitor and any of the other executors, you can get through this process easily. In doing so, you can provide one last service to your loved one and see their final wishes carried out.
What is an Executor?
An executor may or not be a beneficiary. Their job is to carry out the Last Will and Testament of the deceased. There can be up to four executors chosen so that you can share in the responsibility.
What Are the Responsibilities of an Executor?
The responsibilities of an executor include:
Apply for probate. This will give you the legal right to manage the deceased’s estate in their stead and carry out their will as outlined in their Last Will and Testament. It is usually only necessary to apply for probate (which means you need to file the PA1 and inheritance IHT form and pay a £200-£215 fee) if the estate is worth more than £5000.
Acquire the Will
You will need to acquire all versions of the will including any codicils made to the Will. Though the only Will that will be carried out is the final version, it is crucial to have all versions on hand. Once you have this Will, you will want to create copies for both the government and the beneficiaries.
Arrange the Funeral
If funeral arrangements were outlined in the Will, then it is important to follow those through. If the deceased worked out a method of payment (either from their own account or through an insurance plan), you can then obtain the fees to pay for the funeral so that the family is not burdened with the cost.
Secure the Deceased’s Assets
Learn what assets the deceased has. This means collecting all belongings, properties, businesses, shares, and savings.
For any item or property that does not have a monetary value attached to it over an estimated value of £500, it is essential to get it professionally evaluated. If there is no one living at the property of the deceased, and the property was in their name, you will need to notify the insurance company and government so that the deed can be placed in the name of the estate until it can be sold or passed on as required.
Notify Creditors and Government of Death
You will want to notify creditors, subscription agencies, and the government of the deceased’s passing.
Close Their Accounts
Close all accounts, including pension and subscriptions.
Pay Off Debts
Pay off the deceased’s debts and any taxes placed on the estate. Only once these are settled can the remaining amount be passed on to the beneficiaries. If their estate is not enough to carry out the debt, then the beneficiaries receive nothing.
Distribute Remaining Estate to Beneficiaries
If there is money or property left, distribute it accordingly amongst the named beneficiaries.
Can You Claim Expenses?
Yes, you can.
Can You Have a Solicitor Help You?
If you are not experienced, then it is best to hire The Inheritance Experts to help you through this process.