Executors and Probate

Executors and Probate

When a loved one or friend dies there is a lot to organise and sort out and for someone dealing with this at a time of loss it is often too much.

Are you the Executor of a Will?

Have you been chosen by a family member or friend to be the Executor of their Will?

This means that you have been given responsibility to manage their estate according to the terms they have outlined in their Will and to protect their assets under the various laws and rules that govern estate administration in England and Wales.

Not only will you need to deal with the practicalities of informing friends and family and arranging the funeral but you will also need to consider whether a Grant of Representation is required to allow you to deal with the deceased’s assets and whether there is any inheritance tax to pay to HM Revenue and Customs.

Executor Duties

An executor’s duties may include responsibilities such as:

  • Organising the funeral, notices for the paper, flowers
  • Locating the Will
  • Obtaining a copy of the Death Certificate
  • Making sure any property and assets are safe and secure
  • Determining the value of assets
  • Applying for Probate
  • Paying insurance policies, debts and taxes
  • Collecting monies belonging to the deceased from financial institutions and insurance companies
  • Collecting debts owed to the deceased
  • Lodging tax returns for the deceased and for the estate
  • Selling properties and assets
  • Reporting to beneficiaries
  • Distributing the proceeds of the estate to beneficiaries
  • Setting up trusts

Being an Executor can be overwhelming, particularly when you are grieving, but at Adlington Law Limited we offer a number of options to assist you in dealing with matters following a bereavement. Our experts take the added stress away from what is already an upsetting time.

Do Executors get paid?

As a rule, no, although they can claim expenses. Executors are often beneficiaries as well so in effect are compensated for their work, but if they are not beneficiaries they cannot be paid unless there is some specific provision in the will.

Do I need a Solicitor?

Estates vary in complexity and Executor’s duties can be complicated, so it may be a good idea to get advice from a solicitor. The cost of legal advice is usually covered by the estate, not the Executors.

What is Probate?

Probate is recognition of the Will’s validity and permission from the Court for the Executors named in the Will of the deceased to carry out their duties in relation to the Estate. You will likely need a grant of Probate to deal with the assets of an estate, such as selling property and obtaining bank funds.

What if there is no Will?

This situation is referred to as intestacy and the law determines how assets will be shared out after debts have been paid. If you are the next of kin you can apply for authority to finalise the estate.

What if I’m not up to the job?

Just because you have been named an Executor does not mean you have to accept the responsibility. If there is another Executor named, they can take on the whole of the job, or if you are the sole executor you can apply to the court to appoint someone else. You cannot change your mind later though – giving up the responsibility is final.

We offer a Grant only service whereby we assist you in making the application for the Grant of Representation.

The fee for this service is £475 + VAT plus £155 Court fee.

We also offer a full estate administration service where we investigate the assets and liabilities of the deceased, prepare the paperwork to make the application for the Grant of Representation, close the deceased’s bank accounts and sell all properties and shareholdings, prepare the paperwork to account to HM Revenue and Customs for any inheritance tax or income tax due and account to the beneficiaries of the estate for all assets gathered and liabilities discharged. We then deal with the distributions from the estate to the correct beneficiaries.

With this service we aim to completely take the stress away from the estate administration process.

At Adlington Law, we do like to offer a fixed fee service wherever we can.  However, the work involved in dealing with the administration of an estate can vary and can be very time consuming dependent upon the amount of hours we need to spend on any one matter. Therefore, when dealing with the administration of estates, we will charge an hourly rate dependent upon the expertise and qualification of the person who deals with each transaction, as follows :

Grade A fee earner : £201 plus VAT;

Grade B fee earner : £177 plus VAT;

Grade C fee earner : £146 plus VAT;

Grade D assistant   : £111 plus VAT;

On every occasion, we will provide you with an estimate of how much we believe costs will amount to. This estimate will be provided based upon the information provided at our initial meeting or discussion. However, we will keep you appraised of the costs periodically, by way of writing, and will advise if we believe the level of costs initially estimated is likely to increase.

Contact us to find out more on 01257 686386.

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