If you find yourself in the position of executor for a spouse or a friend or other loved one who has passed away, you may not have much idea of what is expected of you. That is quite understandable for those who have never before taken on such a task.
Naturally the bigger the estate the more complicated the process will be. But even small estates will give will executors pause for thought if they are not sure of the legal requirements.
That is why it is always a good idea to seek advice from Probaters if you are faced with such responsibilities.
There follows some basic guidelines which might help executors during the process:-
- In some situations they must make the final arrangements for the deceased, including funeral.
- They must collate all relevant documents such as will, trust deeds, funeral plans.
- Locate all bank statements, share documentation and life assurance policy documents. They should look for any documents concerning land and property and motor vehicles owned by the deceased and also see if there are any relevant tax returns.
- Deal with all undisputed liabilities of the deceased including funeral expenses and estate administration costs.
- Deal with any income tax owed by the deceased.
- Maintain the assets of the estate. This should be done in the most cost effective way and as soon as possible after death to avoid nice assets disappearing via unscrupulous beneficiaries or even non-beneficiaries.
- Keep the beneficiaries informed from time to time about what stage has been reached in the probate process.
- Obtain accurate up to date valuations of assets.
- Keep meticulous records at the end of the probate process, prepare final estate accounts and distribute what remains of the assets to the beneficiaries.