Duties of an Executor

Do you know what you need to do if you are an Executor in a Will and the person dies.  Here is a list of your duties.

Initial Duties

  1. Register the death of the Testator. Obtain copies of the death certificate – several may be required not only before the funeral takes place but also for each of the funds that may have to be released or transferred e.g. bank accounts, insurance policies, shares and other equities.  Try to gauge how many copies are needed.  Many organisations will need sight of an original Death Certificate before releasing funds.  Copies obtained from the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages are regarded as “originals” as opposed to a photocopy of the certificate.
  2. Arrange the funeral. The cost will usually be the first expense paid for from the deceased’s estate.  Make enquiries about the existence of a prepaid funeral plan – these are becoming increasingly popular amongst retired people wishing to guard against the effects of inflation.  If a Testator does decide to purchase a funeral plan Executors should be informed immediately and give the location of the relevant documents.
  3. Apply for a Grant of Probate via the nearest Probate Registry. (Liverpool Combined Court Centre, Derby Square, Liverpool L2 1XA 0151 236 8264)
  4. Arrange to open a Personal Representative’s bank account. This will be used for the receipt of money due to the Estate and any loan arranged to pay an Inheritance Tax bill and/or probate fees.
  5. Inform all relevant persons and organisations – banks, building societies, life assurance companies, employers, local authorities, Revenue and Customs, benefits agencies etc.
  6. Arrange for a valuation of the Estate. This will include the house and its contents, other personal effects, investments in savings plans, equities, life policies, building societies etc. Draw up a detailed schedule of all the Testator’s assets.
  7. Draw up a full schedule of debts that must be paid from the proceeds of the Estate. These will include mortgages, income and capital gains taxes, bills, credit cards, loans and overdrafts.
  8. Complete the forms required by the Revenue and Customs so that it can be established whether any Inheritance Tax is due.
  9. Complete the probate forms and send or take them to the Probate Office along with the original Will, the death certificate and the Revenue and Customs Account.

Subsequent Duties

  1. Provided that the case is fairly straightforward, an appointment will be made for the personal representative to “swear the papers” within about 5 – 6 weeks or receipt at the Probate Office.
  2. When Inheritance Tax is due the Executor’s account of the Estate is passed to the Revenue and Customs and the Grant of Probate cannot be issued until the tax is paid. There will be circumstances where part of the Estate has to be sold to pay Inheritance Tax and if this is the case banks can arrange loan facilities to pay the tax straight away.
  3. Copies of the Grant of Probate should be sent to everyone who owes money to the Estate. The Executors now have a legal authority to pursue any debts owing to the Estate
  4. When the Grant of Probate is received, the Estate can be divided according to the terms of the Will. The Executors must prepare and sign accounts showing who has received what from the distribution.  They must be able to show that they acted in accordance with the terms of the Will in case there is any dissent from the family of the deceased.
  5. All Papers, including the Grant of Probate and the accounts must be stored safely for a period of 12 years.

Why a Lasting Power of Attorney is preferable to a Deputyship order

If you do not have an LPA and become unable to look after your affairs due to ill health, your family will have to apply for a Deputyship order to allow someone to help you.  The application can take several months to process and is an expensive procedure, with court application, hearing fees, medical assessment fees and annual ongoing fees.  In contrast the cost of executing an LPA is relatively low, with a registration fee of £82 and Will Creation fee of £200.

As well as being a difficult, expensive and time-consuming process to appoint a deputy, it can mean that for a time nobody is able to help you with your affairs. Possibly several months.

If you plan in advance and execute LPAs, you have the option of appointing more that one attorney and include reserves in case they are unable to act for you. You can talk things through in advance and explain your wishes.

Do you know where your Will is stored?

I have come across a couple of clients recently who “thought” their Wills were stored with a Solicitor and a Bank, the Solicitor had gone out of business and there were no trace of any stored Wills. The Bank had stopped writing and storing Wills and had passed their business to a Will Writing Company, again, they had gone out of business and no trace of any Wills, my client was passed from one phone number to another without success, and he had been paying £25 per year for this service!!

If you cannot find your original signed Will, and you die, you die intestate.  Make sure you and your Executors are aware of where your Will is stored, if it can’t be traced – write a new Will, this will revoke any previous Will you have written.

Review your beneficiaries on your Pension

  • Taken from “Today’s Wills and Probate” by M Parrin

Over half of the population could be naively handing their inheritance to the wrong person.

54% of the population are unaware that their pension policy will be passed down to the person named on the policy, even if an updated will says otherwise.

The study of more than 2,000 UK adults, completed by the Pheonix Group, found that 65% of adults had failed to review the people attached to their personal pension policy. This means that far many people who may have a very different life in the time between the policy’s creation and the present, their hard earned contributions could benefit people that are no longer in their lives.

Additionally, 62% had not updated their insurance policies, 60% had overlooked their critical illness cover, with income protection (61%) and redundancy cover (65%) also forgotten, even if they had been mentioned in a valid UK will.

The research indicates that personal pensions remain some of the most reviewed documents, with less than 25% of policy holders taking the time to ensure the correct person has been named on the policy. When you consider that 47% of the population hold these policies, the impact on the families concerned could be severe.

As more families blend in the modern world, it could mean that a first marriage spouse could benefit from a policy made years before a divorce, even if the current spouse is named in the will. Overall, 17% of the UK has benefitted from policies that were unknown to themselves.

The report also highlights the poor communication within families in relation to policies that have been made. 73% of respondents are oblivious to a policy that a sibling may have, 56% naïve to their father’s various policies and over half (51%) in the dark about the policies involving their mother.

David Woollett, Customer Director, Phoenix Life comments: “Few people probably know that pensions don’t form part of the estate on death, which means unlike savings, property and investments, pensions aren’t covered by wills. Therefore, it’s incredibly important that you check all your financial policies regularly to assure your money will go to the people you want, if a claim is made.

“People will most likely take out a number of different policies over their lifetimes – whether it’s a pension, life insurance, critical illness – and, as well as ensuring that the beneficiaries are updated as circumstances change, policyholders should inform their recipients about the policy, otherwise they won’t know to make a claim.

“In short, if you want your money to go to the people you want it to, you need to ensure that your financial policies are updated regularly and aligned with your will so that the right person in all your legal documents is named as your beneficiary. Being financially engaged is vital to safe guarding your money and talking to those people who are likely to benefit from your financial policies is a starting point.”

The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975

The Act that enables a child of the deceased to make a claim against his or her estate in circumstances whereby the deceased did not make reasonable financial provision for them in their Will (or by intestacy) is called The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (“the 1975 Act”)

A child of the deceased could include an illegitimate, legitimated and adopted child, of any age. AND any person treated by the deceased as a child of the marriage or civil partnership.

In recent years the courts have seen increased claims under the 1975 Act by adult children.  Under Section 3 of the 1975 Act, the court will take into account the following factors when deciding whether there is a reasonable financial provision granted for a claimant:

  1. The financial resources and needs of the applicant
  2. The financial resources and needs of any other applicant
  3. The financial resources and needs of the beneficiaries
  4. Any obligations and responsibilities of the deceased towards any applicant and any beneficiary
  5. The size and nature of the estate of the deceased
  6. Any physical or mental disability of any applicant or beneficiary
  7. Any other matter, including conduct, which the court may consider relevant.

If a child is to be excluded from an estate, full explanation as to the reason why the exclusion is taking place should be recorded.

In reality, claims by excluded adult children are difficult.  Adult children living at home and those that are financially dependent on a deceased parent will always stand a better chance of success than those that maintain themselves financially.  However, it will be fact sensitive in every case and depend on the above factors.

 

Urgent Marriages increase in 2018

There has been an increase in urgent marriages last year as people save big Inheritance Tax Bills.  Statistics have found that more couples are choosing to marry prior to one of the couple dying.

There has been a significant increase in cohabiting couples living as common law husband and wife in recent years.  Unfortunately many of these common law spouses think that their shared assets will receive the same legal protection as couples that are married. This is incorrect as unmarried couples individual assets will not pass freely to their partners upon death, leaving their Inheritance Tax problems and possibly forcing the sale of their home to fund the tax bill.

Comedian Ken Dodd married his partner of 40 years Lady Anne Dodd just before he died. The marriage prevented his estate having to pay over £2 million in Inheritance Tax as it was predicted his estate was worth around £7.2 million.

 

 

 

Lasting Power of Attorney

Have you considered what would happen if you were unable to deal with your affairs due to ill health?

It could be mighty difficult for you and your loved ones if you haven’t appointed somebody you trust to act with legal authority on your behalf.

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document where someone you nominate can help you look after your Health & Welfare and Property & Finances.  It is important to note that you are not automatically giving up control by making this document.  We can discuss options with you as to when you would want your representatives to act for you.

You can only set up a LPA if you have full mental capacity, if you lose capacity, it is too late to set the legal document up.

Contact us here at Will Creation for a quote on how much we charge, our clients who have compared us to local Solicitors, have been pleased at how reasonable our fees are and the quality of our service.

Christmas and New Year

Will Creation is closing for a Christmas and New year break.

We shall not be available from Thursday 20th December and returning to the office on Thursday 3rd January 2019.

If you would like me to contact you, please leave a message on my voicemail – 0151 305 2309 or email me karen@willcreation.co.uk

Hope you have a Happy Christmas and Healthy New Year.

We Have Moved

We have moved from Little Sutton to Bridgewater House, North Road, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire CH65 1AF.  Our new landline telephone number is 0151 305 2309

We are only 5 minutes away from our previous office, however the parking is much easier.

I continue to work in the same way as before and if you require a home visit I am happy to call on you.