Probate (estate administration)
It is the responsibility of the Executors appointed in a Will to administer the Estate, but there is more to the role than many people realise. The moment the Testator (the person who has made the will or given a legacy.) dies, the role of the Executor(s) (person or institution appointed by a testator to carry out the terms of their will.) begins and there are some very important initial duties.
- Securing the assets. Executors are now legally responsible for the assets of the Testator and may need to secure the property and belongings e.g. change the locks on the property, switch off utilities etc.
- Insure the assets. The house and contents must be insured.
- Arrange the funeral, which is an Executor duty, but normally involves the family.
- Assess the death estate assets & liabilities.
- Calculate whether there is an Inheritance Tax Liability, complete the relevant forms, agree with HMRC and arrange to pay HMRC.
- Arrange for the Grant of Probate, which gives legal authority to the executors to deal with the Estate.
- Call in assets.
- Pay debts and liabilities.
- Complete Estate Accounts.
- Distribute the estate according to the Will.
Sadly many family members are appointed as executors in Wills and have no idea of the responsibility and often do not know they have been appointed in the Will until the Testator dies. The great news is that Executors who do not feel able to complete the role can appoint someone else to deal with the estate administration such as another family member or a firm of solicitors.