No one ever likes to think about dying and the need to make a Will. However, it is important to have a plan in place to make it as easy as possible for the loved ones you leave behind. Having a Will and naming an executor is therefore very important.
What is an executor?
An executor is responsible for sorting out your affairs after your death.
What does an executor do?
Executors are responsible for closing any bank accounts, paying any Inheritance Tax due, any existing debts, collecting in the assets and distributing the estate in accordance with the terms of the will. This is known as the process of Probate and can be quite a daunting and big undertaking especially at a sad time. Executors may be unclear as to the extent of their duties are or even exactly what Probate is.
In essence, a Grant of Probate is a legal document which confirms that the Executor has the authority to deal with the deceased person’s assets (property, money and belongings). This is called ‘administering the estate’ and the Grant of Probate usually has to be provided to the deceased’s bank and other financial institutions to enable the accounts to be closed and the funds released.
A Grant of Probate is also required if there is a property.
If you have been named as an Executor in someone’s Will, you have various options. You can either apply for the Grant of Probate in person, or you can instruct a solicitor to deal with the Probate application and deal with the administration of the estate on your behalf.
Who should I choose to be my executor?
Executors can be family members or friends over the age of 18. They can be a beneficiary of your will. You can choose to have more than one executor if you wish, up to 4 in total. However it’s important to know that if you have more than one executor, they will have to work together, so it is important to consider if your executors would be able to work together without any conflict.
How can I find out more information?
If you would like to discuss any of the above in more detail or to find out more information, please contact us on 0800 614 722 to speak to one of our specialist legal professionals, or visit your local office.