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Estate administration

Help, I’ve been made an executor!

It may sound daunting, but actually, being an executor is a vital, trusted position as it ensures that the wishes of your nearest and dearest become reality after their death. In reality, it is more often than not quite straight-forward though you do, however, need to understand that there are some legal responsibilities involved.

According to our specialist estate administration partners, Kings Court Trust, around six million people have experience of acting as the executor of a will yet only one in 25 actually realise they are legally responsible for the accurate distribution of the estate that is entrusted to them. An executor is responsible for administering the estate and is accountable to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the beneficiaries.

The process of administering the estate may seem overwhelming at first glance given the legal paperwork, tax calculations and various administrative tasks that need to be accurately completed. But, fear not, there is help at hand. The main duty of an executor is to ensure that the assets and liabilities associated with an estate are managed and dealt with efficiently.  This normally involves collating information on all assets such as property, investments and personal possessions as well as liabilities such as outstanding debts or mortgages. 

The executor is also responsible for valuing the assets, settling all liabilities and then distributing what is left to the nominated beneficiaries in line with the instructions left in the deceased’s will. If an executor breaches their duty they can be held financially and legally liable for the consequences, even if they were unaware of their wrongdoing.

That’s why it is always a good idea to have a conversation with the person at the time they ask you to be an executor of their will. That way you can fully understand their wishes and raise any questions while you still can.

The time that it takes to administer an estate varies according to its size and complexity, but on average it takes between nine and 12 months. Administering an estate can be overwhelming, particularly as you may also be dealing with the loss of a loved one. However, executors can choose to appoint a specialist firm to do the work on your behalf.

Image of an elderly man looking out to sea
Tom Curran, Chief Executive of Kings Court Trust, says: “We are well aware that being an executor can be challenging, with potentially serious ramifications for you and your family if you get things wrong.
“At Kings Court Trust we offer a comprehensive estate administration service and we take full legal responsibility for administering the estate from beginning to end. This offers peace of mind to our clients and means that they have one less thing to worry about at an already challenging time.”

Kings Court Trust offers their estate administration service with a guaranteed fixed price that is agreed up front with the family. If you have any questions relating to the estate administration process, contact us on 03300 292611, or visit here.

By Steve McDowell


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