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I have been asked to be an Executor- what does this mean?
What is an Executor?
An Executor is the name given to a Personal Representative when a valid Will is in place. An Administrator is the name given to a Personal Representative when there is no Will. The Personal Representative is the person responsible for dealing with a deceased’s Estate. The Estate is the term used to describe the assets of the deceased at the time of their death and includes all financial investments and any property they may own, including any foreign property.
Whether you are an Executor, Personal Representative or Administrator you should be aware that in England and Wales you can be held personally financially liable for any loss resulting from a breach of duty, even if a mistake is made in good faith. Claims against an Executor can be made up to 6 months after a Grant of Representation has been issued although creditors can potentially make a claim for up to 12 years after death.
If you are asked to be an Executor then you will have been named in the Will of the deceased. The Will sets out how the Estate is to be distributed and you will have the responsibility to administer the Estate in accordance with the Will. Your responsibility may extend into any ongoing Trust arising from the Will and so the duration of your involvement may be lengthy.
As the Executor your duties will include identifying and dealing with any valid claims against the Estate and applying for the Grant of Representation. This is the confirmation of legal authority to administer the Estate and, where done by the Executors in the Will is called the Grant of Probate. You will need to notify all relevant financial institutions to call in the assets and pay any liabilities; complete and submit the relevant Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax returns and pay any outstanding tax owed or claim any rebate due. You will also need to complete Estate Accounts and complete bankruptcy searches against the beneficiaries before making a final distribution of the Estate.
Although the above may sound daunting WSP Solicitors can assist you with your responsibilities, helping to make life less complicated for you.
Contact a member of the Wills, Trusts & Probate team to arrange an appointment to discuss your situation.
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