In simple terms, the role of executor is to deal with the possessions of the deceased person. Every case will be different depending on the circumstances of the deceased person. However, in general the job involves settling the financial affairs of the deceased and sharing out any assets in accordance with the instructions in the will.
In order to carry out these duties the executor needs to apply to the courts for what is known as the grant of probate. Once the probate document is obtained the executor is able to approach banks, building societies etc to obtain any monies belonging to the deceased. The executor is also legally able to sell the property of the deceased.
Having gathered the assets of the deceased, the executor then pays the people owed money. This could include gas, electricity, funeral director and a wide range of other organisations. First in the queue will be the tax man, although depending on the size of the “estate” (assets of the deceased), there may be no tax to pay.
The tax position is determined earlier in the process by filling in certain forms and sending them to HM Customs and Revenue. They will work out if there is any tax to pay, and issue a letter stating what, if anything is owed.
After everything owed is settled, the remaining assets (money and possessions) are distributed in accordance with the wishes of the deceased, as expressed in the will.
Although I have given a very simple description of the process, in many cases the process will be no more difficult than as described above. An example of a fairly straight forward case would be where an elderly relative died, leaving a will and perhaps a house and some savings. In such a case a bank or solicitor would be quite happy to take between 1 %and 4% of the total value of the estate which could be £20,000 for an estate amounting to half a million pounds, for carrying out the straight forward duties, outlined above.
Carrying out the duties yourself would only incur necesssary expenses amounting to no more than a few hundred pounds, which would be deducted from the estate of the deceased, and would not leave the executor out of pocket.
In more complicated cases it may be prudent to use a professional for some, if not all the duties. Examples of such situations may include where the deceased owns property abroad, or where there are complicated family situations involving children from different marriages. However, if the situation is fairly straight forward, as outlined above, it makes sense to consider doing the work yourself and saving a lot of money in the process.
If you are a named executor and find the prospect of sorting out all the affairs of a recently deceased person too daunting a task and would like a no obligation fixed fee quotation for carrying out all or just part of the work , click here now.