What is an executor in a Will?

The death of a loved one can be a very stressful and confusing time.  At a moment when you are grieving you may also be faced with making important arrangements, such as what is an executor in a Will?

We know how hard it is to navigate your way through the process at such an upsetting time so here is a brief outline of the key issues you are likely to face.

Where do you start?

When someone dies there are immediate issues to deal with, such as obtaining a Death Certificate and arranging the funeral. It may be that the deceased left instructions for their funeral within their Will, so it is worth phoning their solicitor to find out.

As well as these immediate arrangements, someone will have to deal with the estate; sorting out the money and other assets of the person who has died. The procedure involved in dealing with the administration will depend on whether the deceased left a valid Will or not. Do you know if your loved ones have made Wills?

If there is a Will

If you are appointed an executor you have the responsibility for dealing with the estate, in accordance with the terms of the Will.  The main stages of the administration that need to be carried out are as follows:

  • Obtaining information – all the assets and belongings of the deceased, including any debts, require to be investigated and valuations obtained where applicable.
  • Preparation of the inventory of all assets for the executor’s approval prior to submission to the Sheriff Court to obtain Confirmation (known as Probate in England).
  • Ingathering assets, closing accounts, cashing in policies and paying debts.
  • Distribution of the assets to the beneficiaries including organising for any sale or transfer of property.

No Will?

If there is no Will, it may be necessary to apply to the Sheriff Court to appoint an executor. An application is made to the Sheriff Court, and along with this a Bond of Caution is normally required. This is an insurance policy to cover any future claims on the estate. The estate will then be administered and distributed to the surviving relatives following the rules of Intestate Succession.

For any advice on any of the above information please feel free to contact a member of our team.

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