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The Great Hunt: Help others if you've been an executor of a will - Page 7

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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 25.8K views
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  • Yorkshireman99Yorkshireman99 Forumite
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    Speaking as someone who is still trying to untangle my mother's Will after 14 months, be very, very careful about writing it yourself! My Mum did a basic Will, however what she wrote and what the law says are different. My Dad (non executor), myself and my Uncle (both executors) are trying to work out how best to vary the Will so that the spirit and law are kept.

    Because of the issues, I'm using a solicitor. I'd rather pay more and get it right, than risk issues arising when my Dad dies.

    One thing that I will add is that online passwords have been a nightmare. The death was totally unexpected (sudden death in epilepsy) and my Mum had numerous passwords jotted down on scraps of paper - often several for the same account. Thankfully I could access her emails on her phone and so got most of them reset - although with the laptop I did wonder if I should apply to GCHQ with my ability to hack into stuff!
    The right of access to online accounts usually ceases upon death. Executors cannot vary a will. They have tp execute it as is. Beneficiaries my, in some circumsatnces, execute a deed of variation but that is not the executor's function.
  • smathersmather Forumite
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    My father died in 2010. My sister and I were executors along with an aunt and a cousin's husband. My aunt and cousin's husband agreed my sister and I should do all the paperwork and just ask them to sign it as they both lived quite a way from us.

    Most useful thing was the Which? Book - What to do when someone dies. We just took things slowly and did it all ourselves. We found most organisations helpful. We described it as peeling an onion - just peel one layer off at a time and when it got overwhelming just stop and come back to it later. The Inheritance Tax forms were huge but, again, we did it one step at a time and filled in the bits we understood and then came back to the other parts when we had the energy.

    It was useful that the bank paid all the funeral costs from Dad's account when we produced invoices/receipts.

    Sorting the house out was the most difficult bit - the contents - rather than selling the house. We lived over 200 miles away and had to do several visits to sort everything out.
  • I was awarded a sum of money in a will and executor did a runner! Solicitor said it would cost me more to sue.
    So a will is only as good as the executor!
  • I was sole executor last year for my father's estate. Probate is straight forward to do. I downloaded the forms online but you can have them posted to you. Make a photocopy so you can write out a rough draft first. I didn't realise until after I'd received probate that beneficiaries have up to six months after the date of receipt to challenge or contest a will so it's best not to finalise the estate prior to that and the estate should be completed within 12 months of receipt of probate. You need probate to sell the deceased 's house and the estate agent and solicitor will need a copy. It's cheap to buy the copies when you apply ie 50p per extra copy and more expensive afterwards. It's currently £215 to apply for probate yourself and around £10 to swear the oath at a local solicitors. If selling a house get 3 value quotes from estate agents to get a rough figure of the worth of the house. Two of my estate agents have the same estimate so I used that figure. There may be lots of small refunds due to the estate eg tax, utility bills, council tax etc. I kept a daily log of who I'd called, the telephone number and contact name and what they'd said. It was useful to go back to when refunds needed to be chased up. Many of the people you will need to ring will have a bereavement team who can deal with your queries directly.
  • I was an executor for an aunt who had lived abroad for many years so had estate abroad as so many people have nowadays.
    I used the solicitor who had drawn up her will who had no experience of dealing with overseas assets but didn't let on. It took 6 years, including a change of solicitor in the practice after I complained, I had to employ an attorney in the USA. Meanwhile the dollar dropped from $1.79 in the pound to $1.39 over the six years. The Law Society weren't interested in my complaint. So what I would say further to the excellent points others have raised is make sure your solicitor is fully experienced in all aspects that are relevant to your circumstances. Also my understanding is that executors can't claim anything for the time you take off work to deal - I had several trips to the US Consulate in Edinburgh to get papers signed so needed to take time off work, I used annual leave. Hope this helps.
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  • InforapennyinforapoundInforapennyinforapound Forumite
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    I am dealing with late Mothers Estate which is below IHT threshold.
    Really quite simple(so far).
    My advice is keep busy to cope with grief.
    The will was straightforward,which helps.
    My best advice to anyone who is an executor and perhaps expecting the demise of that person(or not) is to prepare in advance.
    There are excellent leaflets/booklets from AgeUK which have been invaluable.

    Great advice on here already but having acquired many copies of the death certificate i have only needed one so far(which was immeditely returned).
    I have found that Utilities/proprty management company accept email attachments showing a photo of the certificate.

    Am awaiting Grant of Probate now and ordered copies but it seems that one will be enough to show solicitor regarding sale of property BUT it does depend on the complexity of the Estate as to how many copies may be needed.

    We all have different experiences but if the affairs are straightforward there is no reason to use a Solicitor to obtain probate. Doing it yourself keeps ypu occupied and is not difficult.

    Finally there are some great people on here with vast knowledge.
    Do not be ashamed to seek help/advice
  • Keep_pedallingKeep_pedalling Forumite
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    Meanwhile the dollar dropped from $1.79 in the pound to $1.39 over the six years. The Law Society weren't interested in my complaint..

    That is a fall in value of Stirling, which would be to your advantage receiving 72p per $ instead of 56p, so there would be no compensation to be had for that element.

    If you own property in another country you should take legal advice on local inheritance laws and estate taxes that may effect you there, and it will probably be wise to have a local will drawn up to cover the overseas property as s U.K. will may not be acceptable, making probate a long drawn out expensive affair.
  • ThemeOneThemeOne Forumite
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    I received a lot of advice about getting multiple copies of the death certificate - a friend suggested 20, which I think has also been recommended in this thread.

    When I said 20 to the Registrar she nearly fell off her chair, and asked did I really need that many. We had a bit of a talk about how many I might need in reality, and in the end settled for 12, and based on how it all panned out even that was an over-estimate.

    It obviously depends on the deceased's circumstances, and better too many than too few, but if you're unsure I did find the Registrar was genuinely helpful and appreciated her advice.
  • Keep_pedallingKeep_pedalling Forumite
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    People owning property in countries that have ratified EU regulation 650/2012 (all EU countries except the Irish Republic) are able to choose whether the inheritance laws of their nationality or the country where the property exists apply to their estate. This can't be done retrospectively it has to be explicit in the will.

    Inheritance laws are very different in Spain, Italy and France, where property is treated as belonging to families rather than individuals. Under Spanish law for instant you can't leave a property solely to your spouse if you have children or parents who are still alive as all those people are entitled to a share in the estate.

    So if you own a villa in Spain, your Spanish will needs to to contain a clause stating that UK inheritance laws apply to that property, otherwise it defaults to Spanish law.
  • getmore4lessgetmore4less Forumite
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    kingbing wrote: »
    It's worth noting that the Government are about to introduce a massive hike in probate fees for most estates.

    The current fees are £155 or £215.

    Under the new scheme, estates under £50,000 will pay nothing but above that the fees will go up to £20,000! What happens if your wife or husband dies but your only asset is your house? You may have to sell your own home to pay the fees....

    if the only asset is a jointly owned property you don't need the grant.
    (even if tenants in common before someone makes that mistake)
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