Are you an Executor?
Being appointed as an Executor is an onerous job. Your responsibilities include, but are not limited to, locating and identifying the assets and any liabilities of the estate; applying to the Court for a Grant of Probate of the Will; making sure all claims and debts are received, assessed and paid if substantiated; distributing the estate to the correct beneficiaries and settling any tax that may be due.
Executors are also often Trustees of the Will, responsible for managing any trust that arises and holding funds for any minor until their 18th birthday or until the age specified by the Will if later. Trustees are bound to act carefully and properly in accordance with the various Trustee Acts and navigating these waters can be daunting.
When you combine these duties with the knowledge you are personally liable for any incorrect distribution, it is not surprising so many seek a solicitor’s assistance.
Given the above you may be pleased to hear you do not need to act. Executors usually have four options available to them:
- Act as an Executor – this does not prevent you from appointing a solicitor to assist you but you remain the one in charge and the person needed to sign off on the probate application and all other aspects of the administration.
- Have ‘Power Reserved’ – under this option you take a much less active role leaving the other named Executor(s) to deal with the administration. You would retain the right to get involved again at a later date, should you wish, or if it becomes necessary for you to replace an Executor. However, if you did, and the Grant had already issued by that time, then you would need to make a fresh application for Probate.
- Renounce your right to act as Executor – you may not want to act as an Executor and therefore choose to renounce. This means you would no longer be an Executor. If selecting this option you may take no part in the administration and cannot choose to get involved at a later date.
- Appoint an Attorney to act as Executor on your behalf - you can appoint another person or professional to act as your attorney under a power of attorney. That person would then administer the estate of your behalf.
It is worth noting that regardless of which option you select, any entitlement you may have from the estate/under the Will is not affected.
Here at Henriques Griffiths we are well versed in the requirements to administer an estate. We can advise and assist you in your role as Executor in obtaining Probate; calculating and paying any inheritance tax that may be due; encashing the assets and distributing the estate. We can also advise you of ways to limit your personal liability prior to distributing and guide you through the entire process. If you would like to discuss further then please do not hesitate to get in touch.