Executor advice

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Deaths, Funerals & Probate
36 replies 3.4K views
lucyscarplucyscarp Forumite
18 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Deaths, Funerals & Probate
My dad recently passed away and I've been left as the executor, having never experienced anything like this before just looking for abit of advice.

I've looked for many a guide and suggestions but am generally stumped with the specifics related to my dads particular case. I'll be getting legal advice but wanted to get some forward advice if possible.

Background, 99.9% certain my dad has an insolvent estate. He didn't own his own home, nor anything else of substantial value, e.g. car, pension, no life insurance, all he had sadly was his personal possessions within his flat. There are some potential complications to this which may or may not counter his assets, which relate to a previous relationship. At a glance his unsecured debts far outweigh his assets alone, I have already had to personally pay for his funeral out my own pocket. There is no family in a viable financial position to assist and in all honesty nor am I. There's alot of costs adding up which are eating into any value there may be in the estate. Dad had no legal partner/spouse, nor anyone else living with him.

No money to help move and store his items, we are undertaking this ourselves as best as possible. Longer this takes the more rent due on the estate.

A will was found, which would appear to be the only and latest will, naming myself as executor and listing beneficiaries of a few smaller things to family and everything else to "someone else" outside the family


- Assuming his estate is insolvent, do I need probate? Everything I've ready says no but I'm unsure if by not doing so it could have any negative effects down the road.
- If I did take probate, will it make me anymore legally liable for anything else? e.g. his unsecured debts, or does that legal responsibility remain the same whether probate is taken or not?

My understanding is, as far as debts and the estate, priority
1) debts such as tax, govt. related debts
2) funeral costs
3) any other unsecured

all of which can, if possible come from the estate?

I'll be lucky if there's enough in the estate to cover 1 and maybe some of 2.

- on the govt. website it states after taking probate, you should put an announcement in the gazette, which also carries a ridiculous cost. Is this necessary in my position? and what would be the alternative way to tackle this, if at all? Obviously I want to cover myself against any potential claimants (debts) but surely I can announce this to them directly?

- Where debts (#3) can not be paid, what happens? Once I prove there's nothing in the estate after #1, #2 what exactly happens with the rest?

- With an insolvent estate who can legally state this is the case? Can I do this myself? and who exactly, other than the creditors, do I have to announce it to, also besides any beneficiaries in the will.

- After everything the estate is seemingly "settled" how long after could someone potentially challenge or claim for something?
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Replies

  • Keep_pedallingKeep_pedalling Forumite
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    No you do not need probate, and you should step away from any attempt at admistering an insolvent estate.

    First priority is actually funeral costs, but you have paid that yourself.

    I would simply write to he creditors informing them of his death, that his estate is insolvent and that you are simply informing them of his death and are not administer it. Enclose a copy of his death certificate.

    You also have no responsability to clear his flat or pay ongoing rent, his landlord is simply another unsecured creditor.
  • TBagpussTBagpuss Forumite
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    I agree. There are very strict rules about administering an insolvent estate and getting them wrong can mean that you end up with personal liability.

    I'd suggest that you stick to letting people know that he has died, that you will not be administering the estate and leave it at that.
    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
  • Thank you, this was my immediate thought. I understand that I am currently not liable for any financial responsibilities. I was unsure whether probate was necessary and if it would make me more responsible by taking it.

    Just to clarify by stepping away and not "administering" it am I giving up my executor role? Or can I still perform the role of executor, whereby resolving named beneficiaries of his estate and state of affairs?

    For seemingly such a simple thing, I genuinely can not believe how complicated and ridiculous it is, death, funerals, role as executor, it's really unbelievable and all the finance involved, truly shocked. It doesn't help that my dads situation has alot of potential complications which I'm trying to leave aside until the basics can be dealt with.

    Most of the parties have been informed of his death but not his financial affairs as it's still being dealt with from my end.

    His items have been moved because we were initially pushed into doing so without fully realizing our rights, meaning I now have his entire household stored in my own garage and home. Which in all honesty I'd rather do so I can take time to personally go through everything which will ultimately be, keep anything of sentiment and sell everything else.

    There is one major sticking point which I alluded to prior, the main beneficiary is an ex-partner who very well may complicate the situation, we are unsure on this persons intents but from my perspective there will be practically nothing left for this person to have. I just want to ensure I'm doing everything right by law incase they try to come after me.
  • -taff-taff Forumite
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    I thought funeral costs came first....
  • From what I've read certain debts would come prior, as per-mentioned. My dad was self employed so I'm assuming we would still have to undertake his tax return (although unemployed for a long time due to health), it's this kind of debt that would take priority, right?
  • Keep_pedallingKeep_pedalling Forumite
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    lucyscarp wrote: »
    From what I've read certain debts would come prior, as per-mentioned. My dad was self employed so I'm assuming we would still have to undertake his tax return (although unemployed for a long time due to health), it's this kind of debt that would take priority, right?

    I stand corrected secured debts come first, but in this case there won’t be any of those.

    No you should not complete any tax returns HMRC are just another creditor to be informed.

    You should also avoid distributing any of his possessions, if his estate is truly insolvent then all legacies fail.
  • Margot123Margot123 Forumite
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    Was your Dad in receipt of any benefits? I wonder if you could reclaim anything for the funeral via DWP. Just a thought. You shouldn't be put in any financial hardship dealing with this.
  • edited 29 January 2018 at 7:40AM
    Yorkshireman99Yorkshireman99 Forumite
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    edited 29 January 2018 at 7:40AM
    I stand corrected secured debts come first, but in this case there won’t be any of those.

    No you should not complete any tax returns HMRC are just another creditor to be informed.

    You should also avoid distributing any of his possessions, if his estate is truly insolvent then all legacies fail.
    I am concerned that the well meaning OP may stray into intermeddling territory. Any suggestions?
  • Margot123Margot123 Forumite
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    I am concerned that ell meaning OP may stray into intermeddling territory. Any suggestions?

    Difficult one, but arranging the funeral (and paying for it) wouldn't be seen as intermeddling. Also, any member of the public has a civic duty to inform DWP if they aware of changes in circumstances.

    Probably best for the OP to stop now and not handle any part of the estate.
  • DWP have been informed, he did have benefits, I have already completed the tell us once form online.

    Intermeddling is new terminology, i'll look into it if need be.

    Just want to be sure I do everything by the book as far as possible.
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