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Role of the Executor
Losing a loved one is traumatic for those involved. Some of those have to make final arrangements after their loved one's death – this role is known as Executor. Generally there will be at least two people who are named as Executors so you can share the load between you. This piece will tell you all you need to know about the role of the Executor, a job that may take years to complete.
The Executor's job involves sorting all out the deceased's affairs after they die. This will include the obvious – organising and paying for the funeral, and distributing goods and assets according to their Will – but also involves settling all their affairs, from their TV license to their debts.
In a nutshell
When the person dies, you as the Executor need to do the following:
- Inform family and friends of their death
- Get the latest edition of the Will
- Obtain death certificates
- Arrange and pay for their funeral
- Tell their banks, building societies and insurers
- Tell government bodies involved
- Pay off debts
- Pay Capital Gains and Inheritance Tax
- Distribute assets as required under the Will
Dealing with someone's affairs after they have died is often complex and stressful. This may take quite some time and where some issues need to be sorted quickly, others can be settled a little later. Following these points, you will have a good idea what needs to be sorted out.
Soon after death:
- Tell the person's family and friends.
- Get hold of a copy of the latest edition of the person's Will. Make copies of the Will but do not tamper with them in any way – not even a staple should be used.
- Arrange and pay for their funeral. Many will have made a Funeral Plan. If so, contact the funeral providers as soon as possible. Check the Will for any special requests made for the funeral itself.
- Cancel Direct Debits and inform their financial institutions of their passing. Send Death Certificates to asset holders – this will include banks, loan companies, pension providers and mortgage providers.
- Find out bank and building society account balances at the time of death.
- Tell all pertinent government departments of the person's death. This will include pension, HMRC, and Council Tax. The easiest way to do this is to visit Tell Us Once on the internet, which is a government website that will tell all authorities in one go.
- Tell the person's employer and stop their salary.
- If anyone has been Willed a particular asset – a car or family heirloom for instance, you can give it to them now.
At this stage you can slow down. The immediate jobs have been dealt with. The next six phases can be done after the blur of the funeral and dealing with the family.
- Apply for a 'Grant of Representation' from the government. This gives you probate - the right to settle the person's affairs on their behalf. Full information on this can be found here.
- Set up an Estate bank account so you can put all the person's money into that. This is also known as an executors account, allow 2-3 weeks to setup. Make an appointment at the bank asap.
- Pay all tax and bills once the money is in the Estate Account. This includes Inheritance Tax and Income Tax.
- Distribute the assets to those who have been willed the money.
- Write up a Statement of Accounts for each person who inherits something. This ensures clarity and should avert any risks of the Will being challenged.
- Give each person an R185 (Estate Income) tax form which informs them how much tax has been deducted from the estate.
For a complete set of advice you can download two helpful documents from Age UK: