On the death of an individual, hopefully he or she will have left a valid Will in which are appointed one or more individuals who are known as executors.  It is the duty of executors to collect together the assets of the deceased, settle outstanding debts including inheritance tax and any other taxation liabilities and distribute the balance of the estate in accordance with the Will.
Where an individual dies without a Will, intestacy results and strict rules have to be followed. 
The duties of an executor fall broadly into four categories:

1.  On Death

  • Obtain a copy of the last known Will and check who are the executor(s).
  • Make the necessary funeral arrangements.
  • Ascertain all assets of the deceased and ensure they are maintained intact and secure.

2.  Paying Inheritance Tax and Obtaining Probate

  • Ascertain the value of all assets and liabilities, placing creditors' notices in local papers and the London Gazette as necessary.
  • Determine the total value of the estate and whether inheritance tax is payable.
  • Arranging for any inheritance tax liability to be settled within six months of the date of death or arrange payment by installments, where applicable. 
  • Complete all necessary inheritance tax forms and apply for Probate. 

3.  Realising Assets

  • On the receipt of Probate, realise all assets (unless stipulated otherwise in the Will) and retain all funds safely in a separate executors' bank account.
  • Settle all known and agreed liabilities.
  • Consider the final value of the estate and, if applicable, obtain repayment of any inheritance tax overpaid or make further payment of additional inheritance tax due. 

4.  Distributing and finalising the Estate

  • Obtain Inland Revenue clearance.
  • Make all payments to beneficiaries as stipulated in the Will. 
  • Distribute to beneficiaries other assets of the estate as stipulated in the Will. 
  • Prepare final estate accounts, have these agreed by the beneficiaries and make final distributions to the beneficiaries as necessary.
  • Retain all records and receipts.

Difficulties often can arise when a Will is disputed or assets cannot be found and realised.  Professional support and guidance is strongly recommended and we offer a wide range of services.  It is the duty of the executor(s) to carry out the wishes of the deceased as set out in the Will.

To arrange an initial appointment with your advisor, please do Contact Us.