When a loved one passes away, it can be a difficult strain on all their friends and family. However, it is extremely important that you, as an executor of their estate, find out where the Will is and what you need to do to fulfil it. Here are some of the steps you should take.
What is the Executor?
The Executor is someone who is named in the Will as the representative of the deceased. They are responsible for seeing that the estate is divided up correctly and legally, as well as ensuring that all the extra details like potential inheritance tax are dealt with. If you are an executor of a Will, the person who has appointed you will hopefully inform you of your role when they make the will.
Find Out Where the Will is
When someone has passed away, the first thing you need to do is locate their Will. It could be kept among their papers in their house or it might have been left with their solicitor. These are two of the most likely places where a Will could be left and so they are worth checking first.
When the Will has been found, the next step is to check that it is the most up-to-date version. If there any newer versions, they should be the ones which are valid and should be carried out. Check with the deceased’s solicitor, they should have a full timeline of when amendments and changes were made which will help to verify that the Will you have is the right one.
Obtain the Grant of Probate
When you have the Will, you will need to obtain a grant of probate. This is a court order which allows you to administer the estate as dictated by the Will. Most estates are going to need a Grant of Probate before they can be administered; only estates worth less than £10,000 can sometimes avoid one but they are obviously incredibly rare.
The first step you will need to take is to value the estate to see if it meets the standards for Inheritance Tax. The threshold for this is £325,000, so if an estate is valued at £300,000 then it won’t be taxed at all, while an estate of £350,000 will have to pay tax on £25,000 of it. Due to this, it is incredibly important that the executors work out how much tax they will need to pay, especially as there is a time limit for the tax payments.
Divide the Estate
When all of the legal paperwork has been taken care of, and in the instance that there are no contests on the Will, you will then be free to divide the estate and give out what has been left to those named.
It will never be an easy process, but it is a very necessary one and you may even get some closure following the death of your loved one. If you have any questions about being an Executor, don’t hesitate to contact a solicitor for more information.