Coping with loss
A guide for executors
Registering the death
If the death is not referred to a coroner, you need to make an appointment with the Registrar of Births and Deaths within 5 days.
The Registrar will give you:
- A certificate for a burial or cremation (known as the green form), which you give to the funeral director.
- A certificate of registration of death, form BD8. Which you may need to show to the Department for Works and Pensions.
- A death certificate. It is a good idea to ask for extra copies, each asset holder will require sight of this. There will be a minimal charge for each copy.
Arranging the funeral
First, check to see if the deceased held any paperwork relating to a funeral plan. If not, costs will have to be covered by the deceased’s estate.
If the deceased did not leave specific instructions about how their funeral should be arranged, it is important to arrange a funeral that is appropriate for them. Guidelines may be contained within their Will.
It is possible to arrange payment from the deceased’s bank or building society if there are sufficient funds. Upon receipt of the funeral invoice, they will raise a cheque made payable to the funeral director.
Implementing the Will
If the deceased left a Will, the first task is to determine whether one or more executors have been appointed.
The Executors role:
- Determine whether there are any monies owed to or from the deceased.
- Obtain assessments and valuations of all assets, assets include;
- property, investments, jewellery, fine art, antiques and vehicles.
- the deceased’s share of joint assets and foreign assets and gifts made in the last 7 years before death must also be declared.
- Finalise the deceased’s personal tax affairs to the date of death.
- Settle any outstanding liabilities of the deceased.
- Distribute remaining assets in accordance with the Will.
Being an executor is a big responsibility, you must ensure that you are acting in the best interest of the estate. You may wish to consult Solicitors and Financial Advisors to assist you with this, as you are personally liable for providing all the correct information, and ensuring the estate is correctly administered.
If any Inheritance Tax is due on the estate, you will need to make arrangements to pay it. IHT is payable at 40% above the Nil Rate Band of £325,000. If the deceased has been widowed, or are passing property to lineal descendants, they may be entitled to further tax relief. If you are in any doubt, it would be prudent to consult a professional.
Please note that currently IHT on liquid assets has to be paid within 6 months from the date of death, and before Probate can be obtained. With non-liquid assets (e.g. properties) it is possible to pay the IHT in annual instalments over 10 years.
You can also request the deceased’s bank accounts and building societies can be used to pay IHT, subject to sufficient funds.
Grant of Probate
A Grant of Probate is your official court document stating you are entitled to administer the deceased’s estate.
To obtain the Grant, Inheritance Tax must be paid (in most circumstances) and the relevant IHT forms completed. You will also have to swear an Executor’s Oath in front of a Commissioner for Oath’s, and all documents submitted to the Probate Registry.
Once the Probate Registry has processed your application, you will receive a sealed copy of the Grant of Probate. This will enable you to encash the deceased’s assets.
How we can help
We can be involved as much or as little as you want.
Our work on behalf of executors will generally include the following:-
- Obtain date of death valuations for all assets
- Prepare Inheritance Tax account, calculate and arrange for payment of any Inheritance Tax due.
- Prepare the Executors Oath and arrange for the executor to swear the papers.
- Submit application to the Probate Registry for the Grant of Probate.
- Once in receipt of the grant, deal with encashment of deceased’s assets.
- If necessary put in place Trustee Act notices.
- Discharge legacies and liabilities of the estate.
- Finalise deceased’s personal income tax affairs, and deal with any Capital Gains Tax issues.
- Prepare estate accounts.
- Make the final distributions to the relevant beneficiaries.
Alternatively, we offer fixed fees for simply obtaining the Grant of Probate. All other work is undertaken at an hourly rate unless previously agreed.
Sussex Law Solicitors, 45 Ladies Mile Road, Patcham, Brighton, BN1 8TA
Sally Taylor – Chartered Legal Executive
Jane Cole – Chartered Legal Executive
Linda Tomsett – Legal Secretary