Death, taxes and the will

LOUISA SHAILES on the com­plex­i­ties around a will and the pit­falls of be­ing an ex­ecu­tor

EDP Norfolk - - Education - Louisa Shailes, so­lic­i­tor and joint head of the wills and pro­bate team, Rogers & Nor­ton

THE DAYS and weeks fol­low­ing the loss of a loved one can be a very dif­fi­cult and upset­ting time. Not only are you griev­ing but, if you are ap­pointed as an ex­ecu­tor un­der the will, you also have sev­eral prac­ti­cal steps to take such as in­form­ing in­ter­ested par­ties of the death and ar­rang­ing the funeral.

As an ex­ecu­tor you have a statu­tory duty to carry out the ad­min­is­tra­tion of an es­tate with care and skill. These du­ties are in­tended to en­sure that you act in the best in­ter­ests of the ben­e­fi­cia­ries and avoid loss or in­jury to the es­tate.

If you breach your du­ties as an ex­ecu­tor you can be held per­son­ally li­able. When some­one dies there are many tasks that need to be car­ried out by an ex­ecu­tor as part of the ad­min­is­tra­tion of an es­tate.

This may in­volve mak­ing a for­mal ap­pli­ca­tion to a Pro­bate Reg­istry for the Grant of Rep­re­sen­ta­tion (i.e. a cour­tis­sued doc­u­ment prov­ing your en­ti­tle­ment, as ex­ecu­tor, to deal with the es­tate), in ad­di­tion to cal­cu­lat­ing and set­tling any in­her­i­tance tax due.

Be­low are ex­am­ples of other du­ties which must be un­der­taken by ex­ecu­tors in most cases: •Tak­ing ap­pro­pri­ate steps to

in­ves­ti­gate any later wills. •No­ti­fy­ing all ben­e­fi­cia­ries, as well as any rel­e­vant in­di­vid­u­als, of the death. •Find­ing and col­lect­ing all

the as­sets. •Lo­cat­ing and set­tling any and all li­a­bil­i­ties (pro­vided the es­tate is sol­vent). •Care­ful and rea­son­able man­age­ment of the es­tate ad­min­is­tra­tion, in­clud­ing tak­ing ad­vice from pro­fes­sion­als where nec­es­sary. •Keep­ing ac­cu­rate records and pro­duc­ing ac­counts in re­la­tion to the ad­min­is­tra­tion of the es­tate. •Con­sid­er­ing and set­tling any cap­i­tal gains tax, in­her­i­tance tax and/or in­come tax li­a­bil­i­ties for the pe­ri­ods prior to death and dur­ing the es­tate ad­min­is­tra­tion. •Ac­count­ing to the ben­e­fi­cia­ries and cor­rectly dis­tribut­ing the es­tate in ac­cor­dance with the terms of the will. •Ad­her­ing to rel­e­vant dead­lines.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion of an es­tate can be fur­ther com­pli­cated if there is no will (known as an in­tes­tacy), a claim against the es­tate or a chal­lenge to the will, or as­sets abroad.

Act­ing as ex­ecu­tor can, in some cir­cum­stances, make an al­ready upset­ting and stress­ful time worse. It is pos­si­ble to ad­min­is­ter an es­tate your­self but you need to be aware that it can be an ex­tremely com­pli­cated process and any mis­takes that you make could leave you li­able. Us­ing Rogers & Nor­ton can help the ad­min­is­tra­tion move quickly and ef­fi­ciently to its con­clu­sion.

It also takes away some of the pres­sure in what can be a very painful time – giv­ing you space to grieve. At Rogers & Nor­ton we have the knowl­edge and ex­per­tise in our pri­vate client team, to help sup­port and guide you through an in­volved and test­ing process.

It can be an ex­tremely com­pli­cated process and any mis­takes that you make could leave you li­able

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