An executor is a person or persons who are appointed by the will and authorised by the Courts to deal with the affairs of the deceased. When someone dies they will leave assets such as real property, bank accounts and personal belongings.
An Executor will usually:
- Inform the next of kin, heirs and possible beneficiaries that the Executor has been appointed. Often it is useful to have an address book belonging to the person who has passed away in order to contact friends and distant relatives.
- If not already done, register the death and make funeral arrangements. Collect together all of the deceased’s papers files and accounts.
- Notify the death to anyone with whom the deceased had dealings. These include but are not limited to the following:
- Government organisations
- T-the relevant tax office
- Child Benefit office (at latest within eight weeks)
- Local authority if they paid council tax, had a parking permit, were issued with a blue badge for disabled parking, or received social services help, attended day care or similar
- UK Identity and Passport Service, to return and cancel a passport
- DVLA, to return any driving licence
- DVLA to cancel car tax and car registration documents/change ownership
- TV licensing
- School / college / university if appropriate
- Financial organisations
- General insurance companies - contents, car, travel, medical etc
- Any other company with which the deceased may have had rental, hire purchase or loan agreements
- If the deceased was the first named on an insurance policy, make contact as early as possible to check that you are still insured
- Pension providers/life insurance companies
- Banks and building societies
- Mortgage provider
- Hire purchase or loan companies
- Credit card providers/store cards
- Others with whom the Deceased had dealings
- Business partners and work colleagues / employees
- Bereavement Register and Deceased Preference Service to remove the deceased's name from mailing lists and databases
- Cubs, trade unions, associations and professional bodies with seasonal membership for cancellation and refunds
- Church/regular place of worship
- Social groups to which the deceased belonged
- Creditors - anyone to whom the deceased owed money
- Debtors - anyone who owed the deceased money
- Subscriptions for magazines & newspapers
- Ascertain the extent of the deceased’s assets and liabilities
- If necessary obtain the Grant of Probate (see below)
- Make an inheritance tax return
- Collect in and realise the assets or transfer specific assets as stated in the Will
- Pay all of the deceased’s liabilities and all tax matters and testamentary expenses
- Distribute the estate
- Prepare accounts to show that all of the above have been dealt with
There may also be more unusual duties to carry out such as the running of the deceased’s business prior to sale, the tracing of missing beneficiaries or the children of beneficiaries who died before the testator. Some assets may require specialist valuation or there may be restrictions on arranging the sale of the assets.
The executor support service provided under the Living Wills package deals with these aspects on the executor’s behalf and arranged for the necessary forms, oath, tax returns and Land Registry matters to be dealt with.
Banks and Building Societies will not release funds to anyone other than the executor and the production to them of the grant shows that the person named has the authority to receive the money. There are procedures available which exempts the need to obtain a grant of probate for small estates and these rules have been gradually expanded over time. Occasionally there may be a problem with a will such that a standard grant of probate cannot be obtained. There are therefore two other types of grant called "Letters of Administration" and "Letters of Administration with Will Annexed" which are issued in those circumstances.
At LCS we are fully experienced in obtaining all of the types of Grant through our approved Solicitors who are able to make this process as simple and straight forward for you as possible. It is possible for members of the public to make probate applications direct to the Registries. That involves you attending the court for a probate interview. When using LCS there is no need for you to attend court and you will not need to be interviewed by the Registrar.