HAVE YOU BEEN APPOINTED TO ACT AS AN EXECUTOR OF SOMEONES WILL?
THINKING OF TAKING OUT A GRANT OF PROBATE YOURSELF?
You may have been told that acting as an Executor* is easy. You just fill in a few forms and send them off to the Probate Registry. You don’t need the help or advice of a Solicitor. Seeing a Solicitor will just involve unnecessary expense. You might like to think again…
Accepting an appointment to act as an Executor is a serious responsibility. Among other things Executors MUST:-
And may need to:-
Once you have received the Grant of Probate it will be your PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY to pay the debts of the Deceased, to pay any tax due, to ensure that the assets of the Deceased do not suffer loss or damage and to account to the beneficiaries for their entitlement. If you fail to do these things properly and carefully you could be personally liable. Failure to discover a debt due from the Deceased and pay it, for example, could mean that you have to pay it yourself.
You would also have to deal with any Court Proceedings that may be brought against the Estate. You may find for example that the Will is challenged by someone on the grounds that the Testator lacked testamentary capacity or was under undue influence or simply made a mistake. Wills can also be challenged by certain relatives and dependants under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
It is important to understand that Executors are Trustees. Trustees have a legal duty to act in the best interests of the Trust and will be personally liable if they fail to take proper advice, make proper investigations and enquiries and deal with matters promptly.
IT MAKES SENSE TO CONSULT A SOLICITOR
If, as Executor, you instruct a Solicitor to extract the Grant of Probate and act in the administration of the Estate then:-
DON`T TAKE THE RISK! CONSULT A SOLICITOR!
*NB Executors are appointed by Will. If a person dies without a Will, it may be necessary for the next of kin to apply for what is called Letters of Administration. Once appointed, an Administrator is in the same position as an Executor and the above comments apply equally to Administrators as to Executors.