It is never too early nor too late to look for an executor of a will. Preparing ahead of time is always the best option when it comes to things like this. However, with the overwhelming amount of information on the internet, it can get confusing at times as to whom to trust and what to choose.
We are here to help you with that ordeal. In this blog, we will explore topics such as the tasks to do when one is executing a will, an estate planning checklist, a brief introduction about the probate process, and the rough estimate of the probate fees that are involved.
Who are executors?
What are the duties of an executor of a will?
You must understand the role that an executor of a will has to play. What exactly do they do? What powers can you grant them? In this section, we compiled a brief list of the responsibilities a will executor has to deliver.
1.) Compile important documents.
Perhaps the most complicated part of an executor’s job is the process of compiling important documents of the deceased.
These documents need to be compiled so that the transfer of assets, payment of remaining debts if there are any, and the split between inheritance is easier and smoother.
2.) File court documents to start the probate process
The legal right to handle a deceased person’s possessions, properties, money, and the rest of their estate is called a probate grant.
In the UK, the executor’s name must be included in the will so that they can apply for a grant of probate. However, if the deceased did not leave a will at all, the executor will be given a Letter of Administration.
3.) Collecting and managing the remaining assets
Your executor is in charge of collecting assets under your name. These assets include all types of properties, bank balances, accounts receivable, etc.
4.) Managing the estate
To help your executor, you can already create an estate planning checklist. With an estate planning checklist, you are keeping tabs of your assets, monetary and land estates, and other properties under your name.
5.) Deal with debts, taxes, and other miscellaneous expenses.
Yes, it is also part of an executor’s job to take care of any outstanding debts, pay for taxes such as an inheritance tax, and other miscellaneous expenses of the deceased.
The executor can charge these probate fees and other related expenses under the deceased’s remaining assets. It will be to your advantage if you hire an executor who has experience as a solicitor.
6.) Distribute assets to the beneficiaries
After expenses and debts are settled, the executor of the will can now proceed to deal with the distribution of assets to the beneficiaries that are listed in the deceased person’s will.
What factors should you consider when choosing a will executor?
Choosing the right executor for your will needs a lot of thinking and consideration, knowing that this is an important matter that involves your estate and family. Your executor must be someone who can work on your will on a timely basis without having any delays.
Picking the wrong one could lead to a lot of issues such as tax problems, lengthy delays, and may even end up into a contested will.
Now that you know what an executor’s responsibilities are, it is time to take a closer look at the factors in choosing an executor for you or the people close to your heart.
1.) Loyalty and trustworthiness
It is imperative to find someone whom you can trust with your assets. This can be evaluated by how loyal that person is to you now that you are still alive. Therefore, some people opt to assign close friends as their executor, since they have already proven their trustworthiness and loyalty for a long period.
2.) Organisational skills and keen attention to detail
Since the duties and responsibilities of a will executor mostly consist of paperwork and documentation, they must stay organised and accurate.
Here in the UK, executors who have mistakes or errors in documents often end up paying for the damages. This is why some people are reluctant to be executors sometimes.
3.) Good communication skills
The ability to communicate, both verbal and written, is crucial to the job of being a will executor. An executor is going to meet a lot of people during the entire process of executing the deceased’s will.
The executor must be able to complete important legal tasks, submit papers, and documents effectively to the probate court while making sure that your wishes are being carried out properly.
4.) Accessibility and availability
Also, an important quality of an executor, although not necessary, is the proximity of their location to the deceased previous address.
The more accessible they are, the better. This way, they can comply with the intricacies of the legal work and be able to recognise each city’s differences when it comes to dealing with the related paperwork.
5.) Conflict resolution
Family feuds over remaining assets and inheritance cannot be avoided. A hired executor is best in this situation since there will be no emotional attachment to any family member.
With that, the executor must also be savvy enough to navigate through family dynamics that are encountered during the time that the task is being completed.
Be open with the executor, and honestly tell the possibilities of feuds that may or may not arise during the time that the inheritance is distributed between the chosen beneficiaries.
6.) Grants your wishes
Of course, your wishes must be prioritized, as long as they should be realistic and attainable. Choose or hire an executor who acknowledges your wishes and proactively finds ways to complete them.
That said, don’t be afraid to open up with your chosen executor and tell him or her the details of your assets, liabilities, and other important documents that are needed during the completion of the probate process.
Pro tip: make sure to visit the government of the UK’s guide to death and bereavement website.
Ready to choose? Here are a few reminders:
Family member executor vs Third-party executor
The easiest route to take is to set a family member or a relative as your executor. Keep in mind that this relative must be trustworthy, honest, and savvy when it comes to paperwork and government processes in your local city and of the UK’s basic property laws as well.
With a family member, even before you die, you can discuss the details of your will without going through the trouble of providing so many details since your relative knows the details already. Also, the relative that you assign as your will executor can waive the executor fee for free when agreed upon.
Meanwhile, the primary advantage of a hired will executor is the level of expertise and experience and the clarity of boundaries. With a hired executor, you can expect faster services since this is, after all, their field of expertise.
A professional executor’s fee varies depending on the agency and the amount of work the executor has to complete on behalf of the deceased. Also, other factors such as the specifications of the task they will do and the amount of time they are given should be considered as well. Usually, around 5% of the total assets is regarded as a good start for an executor’s compensation.
Finding the right executor of the deceased’s last will is genuinely challenging. After all, an executor should be someone that you trust completely. With the information that you can find online, the challenge has gotten easier. Do not be daunted at the overwhelming legal jargon that riles blog posts and websites. Instead, be bold and ask questions.
My Estate Planning Service is the right platform designed to put you in contact with dedicated legal experts to support your wealth in your lifetime and beyond. We are here to help you every step of the way to keep you control of your future whatever the circumstances may bring.
In My Estate Planning, it only takes three easy steps to get a peace of mind about settling your will and testament. Our advice team can sit down with you and discuss your questions and concerns. Do not let your assets get split under the law which may not satisfy your wishes. Let us handle that for you.
That said, trust takes years to cultivate and a solid track record is necessary to show one’s competence. This is what My Estate Planning does best.
We can help you find an executor of your will and at the same time, give you sound advice regarding matters that involve funerary services, last will and testaments, and other related concerns. Call us on 0204 516 5969 to speak to our advice team.