Why A Lay Executor Should Seek Professional Advice To Administer An Estate?
A common reason for seeking professional help is to allow the family to grieve rather than be burdened with the responsibility of administering the financial affairs of a deceased loved one.
Some of us are not natural organisers and don’t cope well in crisis. It can be a great comfort to families struggling with loss to instruct a professional to relieve them of the responsibility at a stressful and emotional time. Some us also just don’t have the time to deal with the administration of an estate.
Whether an estate is complex or not, it may be that there is some conflict in the family. Appointing a professional means, they can act as an impartial or neutral party. They can deal with the matter at a necessary distance from the emotional complications.
There are a variety of tasks involved in the administration of an estate that a non-professional may find difficult to carry out or may even overlook. Such tasks include:
- Locating all of the assets
- Correctly valuing the assets
- Opening and operating an executor’s bank account to hold estate funds during the administration of the estate
- Insuring unoccupied properties
- Arranging payment of inheritance tax before probate is obtained
- Obtaining a clearance certificate from HMRC to confirm no further IHT is due
- Paying the debts of the estate in the correct order
- Calculating and paying interest on unpaid legacies after 12 months of the death
- Carrying out bankruptcy searches against beneficiaries before payment is made
- Placing Trustee Act notices to advertise for creditors to come forward
- Delaying distribution for 6 months from the date of the Grant of Probate in case of any potential claims against the estate from family members
Sunil Kambli, Partner at Premier Solicitors, mentions in a Daily Express article dated 6 June 2018, that you must also ensure you are working from the latest Will as failure to do so could result in personal liability against the Executor to put things right.
If you make a mistake or fail to administer the estate in an efficient and timely manner you could also be sued by a disappointed beneficiary.