Our client, Mr. W from Newbury, tells us about two of his recent, separate experiences…
In this article, we answer the question “What is the role of an Executor?” Being asked to be an Executor of a Will is an honour and a privilege, however, it shouldn’t be a decision made lightly. Several obligations need to be met. You really should understand what you’re getting yourself into before accepting. In the broadest of terms, an Executor arranges payment of the estate’s expenses and debts and distributes what’s left. However, there is more to it than this; from providing a copy of the Will to maintaining properties prior to disposal, it’s not a straightforward role. Here are some things to know about the role of an Executor.
Ideally you need a copy of the Will when you are made an Executor and you should make sure you are given copies at any point after that while you remain an Executor and changes are made. You should ideally have a conversation with the person that appoints you about what they are looking to achieve with their Will as the mechanics of a Will do not always cover the spirit of what is trying to be achieved and a conversation will illuminate this. After their death, you will need to file the Will with the probate court, if it’s applicable. It’s also possible that you’ll need to read the Will to the deceased’s inheritors.
It’s highly likely that you’ll be the one to organise the funeral, so make sure you have read the Will prior to making the funeral arrangements as the Will often carries details of what the deceased wants to happen at their funeral, for example, the music, prayers or readings, plus the type of funeral they wish to have.
The Executor is responsible for all assets until they are distributed to the beneficiaries. It could be some time before this process gets finalised, so in the interim, it’s up to you to ensure any assets or properties are maintained, so they remain at “sale-value”, should that be the final decision. If there are other valuable assets stored in locked boxes, they must be located and kept secure.
Debts and taxes
Before any of the assets can be distributed, all debts must be paid. You may even need to lodge tax returns from the beginning of the year until the date of the decedent’s death.
Dispose of property
The remains of the estate need to get distributed as per the instructions in the Will. If there is contentious probate, this task can prove to be drawn-out and time-consuming.
Role of an Executor – where to find out more
Contact us today so we can guide you in how to create a Bloodline Plan that involves your Executors from the start.
Or you can download our free guide: “What is the role of an Executor?“