A Personal Representative has a very important role which carries with it considerable legal, tax and administrative duties and responsibilities.
The duties and responsibilities carried out correctly can mean the Personal Representative is personally liable for not doing so, or if there is a loss to the estate, even if the Personal Representative acted in good faith.
As an Executor you are required to administer the estate in accordance with the terms of the Will. Your appointment comes from the Will. The deceased should have asked permission before making the appointment.
Where there is no Will the Personal Representatives are known as Administrators and who this depends on the rules of intestacy.
The role of an Executor is a challenging and important one. Many people accept the role without appreciating the responsibilities to personal liability involved.
The following are some of the duties:
- To register the death;
- To arrange the funeral;
- To register the death with each financial institution, pension provider and Department for Work and Pensions thereby identifying and valuing each asset in the estate as at the date of death;
- To research for any unclaimed assets;
- To pay all debts and liabilities of the deceased;
- To settle the Tax Affairs of the deceased – Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax;
- To identify and correctly distribute to beneficiaries and deal with any claims against the estate;
- To research for any unknown liabilities and beneficiaries;
- To prepare Estate Accounts and distribute correctly;
- To preserve the estate – this can include continuing the insurance on the property or selling the property or shares or assets where it is appropriate to do so;
- To prepare the probate papers and obtain the Grant from the probate Court;
- An Executor or an Administrator has to make FULL enquiries and this can be difficult, time consuming and intimidating.
Failure to carry out full enquiries and discharging the duties correctly can impose potential financial penalties on the Executor or Administrator.
Whilst this is possible to make a personal application for a Grant, to ensure you are carrying out your duties correctly it is better to instruct a Solicitor to assist you and point you in the right direction.
What is the next step?
At Macks, we can explain to you your duties and the steps you need to take to ensure that you are carrying out your legal, administrative and financial duties correctly.
We will work with you and in this way costs will be kept down, but you will have piece of mind knowing that the administration of the estate has been carried out efficiently and you have discharged your duties correctly.
We strongly recommend a face-to-face meeting with one of our specialist Solicitors who will be able to explain things in greater detail and advise you what to do. The initial meeting will be free of charge and will explain the assistance we can provide to administer the estate as effectively and efficiently as possible.