Wokingham Today

What is the executor of a will?


EXECUTORS are the people who are responsibl­e for carrying out the wishes of a person who has died and for sorting out their estate.

They have to collect together all the assets of the estate, deal with all the paperwork and pay all the debts, taxes, funeral costs and administra­tion costs out of money in the estate.

They will need to pay out the gifts and transfer any property to beneficiar­ies. To do this they will normally need to obtain Probate – this proves that the executor has the legal authority to deal with the estate and affairs of the person that has died.

This is especially important when dealing with financial institutio­ns.

It is quite common for friends and relatives to be appointed as executors, although solicitors and banks are also frequent choices.

The job of an executor involves a great deal of work and responsibi­lity.

If someone that has been appointed and has changed their mind, or is unwilling to be an executor, or is worried about the time and expense involved has a right to refuse.

However, if someone has already started to deal with the estate, they cannot then refuse to act. The question of what constitute­s dealing with the estate by an executor can be a grey area, and profession­al legal advice might be needed if this happens.

Executors are entitled to recover expenses that are reasonably incurred but they are not entitled to claim anything for the time they have spent.

There is no differenti­ation made between the rights of executors who are relatives and those who are not when it comes to claiming.

However, many relatives may not feel the need to claim because they will be receiving some of the estate.

In terms of fees, it is possible for the will to have a clause enabling an executor to charge fees so this should be checked.

This is more often done where a profession­al executor is appointed, for example, a solicitor. If the will is silent on the matter, no fees can be paid out of the estate.

You can get help, informatio­n and advice from your local Citizens Advice or visit www.citizensad­vicewoking­ham.org.uk or contact Citizens Advice Wokingham at Second Floor, Waterford House, Erfstadt Court, Wokingham RG40 2YF. Tel: 0300 330 1189. email: public@ citizensad­vicewoking­ham.org.uk

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