Being the Executor of someone’s estate can be an extremely stressful experience. Aside from dealing with the grief that someone you knew has passed away and the responsibilities connected with ensuring that their final wishes are complied with, there also holds the potential of sleepless nights worried about administrative responsibilities and Inheritance Tax.
Aside from the administration time connected to gaining a Grant of Probate, the paperwork related to valuing an estate and completing the relevant Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax, and Inheritance Tax forms can be gruelling. This is particularly pertinent when you discover that an Executor can be held personally financially liable for any losses that are caused by a breach of their duty, this can include mistakes or when they have acted in good faith. The weight that you could be held personally financially to account for failure to pay any of the deceased debts or all Inheritance and Capital Gains Tax, can sometimes be compounded by the knowledge that creditors can make a claim up to twelve years after a death.
While many of us entrust the Executor role to a trusted friend or family member, it is always worth considering how they will cope with the stress and paperwork connected to sharing out our Estate. For less complex Wills, where there are a limited number of beneficiaries, the administration can be reasonably straightforward. However, with more complex Estates it can be advisable to seek a professional opinion, even if it is to only check over forms before they are sent to the relevant tax departments. In many cases it is also advisable to appoint two executors, ensuring that the burden of responsibility is spread and that they are able to fulfil your final wishes should one of them become incapacitated.
Our team are always happy to answer any questions about writing a Will or if you have concerns about the probate process and the impact it could have on your Executor. Additionally, if you are an Executor and are having sleepless nights relating to any stage of the Probate process, we’re here to help. Email or call our team to make an appointment.