If you are named as an executor in a Will, you have the responsibility of ensuring the deceased’s estate is distributed correctly. The completion of Estate Administration can be a very complex procedure, especially when the Will contains a trust.
However, before you can distribute an estate, you must collect in all of the deceased’s assets and calculate the value of their estate. This will allow you to establish if there will be any inheritance tax (IHT) to pay. Different IHT forms have to be completed when there is tax to pay and when there is not. Further forms need to be completed if additional allowances or exemptions are available to mitigate IHT. As the executor you may be personally liable for any incorrect calculations where IHT has not been paid or not been paid in full. This is one reason why you may wish to consider appointing a professional to act as the executor on your behalf.
As the executor you must ensure that all debts and liabilities have been paid. You must also give reasonable notice so that unknown creditors may claim owed debts from the deceased’s estate. As an executor, you may also be personally liable if reasonable notice has not been given.
A professional executor will ensure that the entire Estate Administration is carried out in full. One of the most common reasons for requiring the assistance of a professional executor is the formalisation of testamentary trusts and the updating of HM Land Registry records. There are many different types of testamentary trusts, but the most common ones are designed to protect a share and interest in the deceased’s primary residence from sideways disinheritance (if the surviving spouse or partner marries) or from local authority care fee assessment. HM Land Registry may update a title to remove a deceased proprietor but they will not need to see the Will and they will not ask if there is a trust that needs to be formalised. If a trust if not formalised during the Estate Administration period there can be negative consequences when attempting to formalise the trust at a later date.
If you are an executor and need assistance, or have previously needed to carry out Estate Administration but you are unsure if everything has been completed correctly, do not hesitate to contact us for a free no-obligation appointment. One of Consultants can visit you to provide initial advice without charge. If you do wish us and our affiliates to act then we can give a fixed fee quotation before work is commenced. Passing on your responsibility as an executor, to a trusted professional, can give you much “Peace of Mind”.
If you would like to meet with one of our Consultants to discuss any of the issues raised in this article or any other Estate Planning topic please telephone 01732 868190 or click here. Don’t delay ~ Act today!