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The Great Hunt: Help others if you've been an executor of a will

edited 28 March 2017 at 10:58AM in Deaths, Funerals & Probate
103 replies 26K views


  • Keep_pedallingKeep_pedalling Forumite
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    It makes it much easier if there is just one executor. If more than one, all of you have to co-ordinate times for meetings eg probate application plus no messing around when signatures are necessary.

    No that would be a big mistake, if the one executor predecease you or is unable to act for any reason that will leave you with no executor.

    We have 3 each other, and our 2 children. Providing one of those is willing to take on the main role the others can hold their power in resivation so multiple signatures and coordinated meeting should not be required. Alternatively you can appoint back up executors if your first choice cannot act for any reason.

    Might not be such a good idea to appoint children as joint executors if they are always at war with each other though. That is the one situation where using solicitors may be the better idea.
  • heppy23heppy23 Forumite
    478 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    One simple tip is to get extra copies of the death certificate at the time of registering the death as it's cheaper than going back later.
    Most organisations insist on seeing the original and it can really drag along if you only have one copy and it's always in the post to and fro. Plus you are covered if one goes missing.
  • LKM1LKM1 Forumite
    2 Posts
    I advocate using 1 Executor from within the family PLUS 1 or 2 from outside. This is because the 'in family Executor' will be traumatised by the bereavement and so less able to act/cope as sole Executor and to ensure independence. Furthermore, the Executors can 'nominate' one of their body to act as their representative, whilst still retaining the right to intervene if they suspect/believe there is an issue with that 'representative'. The books do NOT explain the more subtle points of probate and it usually only experience that will seek out and use those finer points of probate ... thus saving tax, time and expensive mistakes on the Estate and assets.
  • RonnietheroamerRonnietheroamer Forumite
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    MoneySaving Newbie
    The very first thing to do is get organised. Buy a cheap notebook and use to record all the things you will need. Just remember, if thing are done methodically, there is no need for solicitors, who charge the earth.
    List all the deceased assets,
    Property, jewellery, possessions, investments, bank accounts, credit/debit cards, Insurance companies, utilities etc, ask tax office for details for tax return.
    Write to everyone, informing them of the death, and that you are acting for the deceased. Most will require copies of the death certificate, but not all, ie utilities, council tax, tax office etc. If property in sole name, ask local estate agents for value, ( get three to give free valuation...they will be pleased to help as could get sale business)
    Ask everyone for the up to date balance "at the time of death" including any interest due or owed.
    Obtain probate forms, either by phone or by downloading off the Internet. Complete form with all details, if in doubt phone probate team who are really helpful or check on line help.
    Send off copies of probate to companies and ask for funds to be sent, care of the exors of the deceased. Most banks will open an exors account without charge, which has you will only need for few weeks.

    Using the above formula, I have done 3 probate with no problems, the last one took 6 weeks from date of death to distributing the estate to the heirs. Admittedly, no property needed selling, which takes time.
  • Keep_pedallingKeep_pedalling Forumite
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    Valuing properties should not be left to EAs if the estate is anywhere near falling into IHT territory. Use a RICS surveyer.
  • I have been executor for a will. The process is possible to manage without a solicitor, but much easier if you have full details of the deceased persons assets/financial affairs.

    I let my nearest and dearest know about my financial affairs so that execution will be easier for them.
  • I've been the executor for both my parents over the last couple of years and hope I may be able to add some helpful comments and things I wish I'd known.

    Make sure your next of kin know where your Will is and what kind of funeral you would like - they will have enough to do without arguing over your favourite hymn!

    Funds in your bank or building society account can be used to pay for funeral expenses and IHT if required, thus saving your family having to find the money themselves.

    Get plenty of copies of the Death Certificate when registering the death, as it seems like everyone you deal with needs an original copy and they are relatively inexpensive to buy at this time. The Registrar offers a Tell Us Once programme to notify all government agencies of the death.

    The Bereavement Advice Centre will notify up to 10 commercial organisations for you.

    If several Executors are nominating one to deal with Probate (several siblings for example) they should sign the Reserved Powers document in case the nominee is unable to continue at any time.
  • I've done 2 probates over the last few years. The second was much easier thanks to all the experience I'd gained from the first.

    I found all of the online information invaluable.

    Just a couple of things which I hadn't anticipated.

    First of all, use "mylostaccount" to find out if there are any bank accounts etc which are in the name of the deceased, as they may have been dormant for many years.

    Secondly, if there's a house involved, and you're going to sell it at some time in the future, provided you aren't likely to trigger inheritance tax limits, don't undervalue the house, as you may be subject to capital gains tax when you eventually sell it. If you're spending money on improving it before sale, make sure you keep receipts for everything you spend on it, and go through the capital gains tax rules with a fine tooth comb.

    Good luck
  • I have sorted out Probate when both my parents died. I then started to help a friend whose husband had died. It turned out that he had made his Solicitor an executor. We found, through the Probate Help pages, that you can ask the Solicitor to write a letter renouncing their rights as executor, enabling you to proceed with Probate yourself. The particular Solicitor told us that we had to have a Deed of Renunciation, which just sounded more expensive to me.
    My advice would be to make a relative the Executor in any Will. If they are unable to sort Probate themselves, they can always go to a Solicitor. If you make a Solicitor the Executor, you have to get this renounced.
  • FreeBearFreeBear Forumite
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    hazelgee wrote: »
    My advice would be to make a relative the Executor in any Will. If they are unable to sort Probate themselves, they can always go to a Solicitor.

    If the solicitor is appointed as an executor in the will, they are only answerable to the estate and can drag things out as long as they like with little risk of being challenged.

    If the solicitor is appointed by an executor, then the executor can keep a tight leash on the solicitor and costs.
    Her courage will change the world.

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