In Wales and England an Administrator, Personal Representative or Executor may be held personally financially liable for any losses that are a result of a breach of duty, even when a mistake was made in good faith.
What is the Difference between an Administrator, a Personal Representative, and an Executor?
A Personal Representative is referred to as an Executor if there is a valid Will that is in place. If no Will is in place, then the Personal Representative is referred to as an Administrator.
A Personal Representative is an individual who is responsible for dealing with the deceased person’s assets. Those assets, including financial and property investments, are collectively referred to as the Estate. The Estate’s Personal Representative has legal responsibility and authority for administering what is included in the Estate when someone dies and ultimately might be held accountable for any mistakes they have made.
Were You Named as an Executor?
If you were asked to be an Executor, then you will be named as the Executor in the deceased person’s Will. Whenever there is not a Will, the Administrator position is determined according to a legal strict order of priority, which is called the Rules of Intestacy. These rules set out the way that an Estate is to be distributed.
Executor Responsibilities and Duties Explained
If you are named in a Will as Executor it can bring time-consuming, difficult, and complicated duties; it can frequently take up to one year to complete the process. It is absolutely critical that you get everything right since an Executor is legally responsible to administer the Estate according to the terms of both the law and the Will. With respect to the Estate, the Executor is responsible for all that they do and all they fail to do.
It can be a very overwhelming prospect when it comes to being the Executor of a Will because this role does carry a considerable amount of administrative, tax, and legal responsibilities. The responsibilities of an Executor last for the duration of administering the Estate and may carry on into an ongoing Trust in some cases.
Executor Duties include the following:
- Legal Responsibilities
– Go to Court and apply for Grant of Representation, which confirms legal authority for administering the Estate. If the Executor named in the Will does this, then it is referred to as Grant of Probate; when there is no valid Will, it is referred to as Letters of Administration.
– Identify and deal with any valid claims made against the Estate.
- Tax Responsibilities
– Complete and submit the Inheritance Tax (IHT) return and pay any owed Inheritance Tax.
– Complete the relevant Capital Tax and Income Tax returns and pay any outstanding taxes that are owed.
- Estate Administration Responsibilities
– Notify and correspond with all of the relevant organisations to transfer or cash the deceased’s asset and to pay the liabilities and debts of the Estate.
– Search for missing or unclaimed assets.
– Prepare and distribute Estate accounts to the relevant parties.
– Properly distribute the Estate’s residue to beneficiaries.
If you end up in this situation and you feel overwhelmed and stressed out, please don’t worry. We might be able to take on the Executor role for you. We have completely trained Probate Specialists, who work along with our Probate Lawyers and Solicitors, and our Probate Advisory team provides free initial guidance and advice on Executor responsibilities and duties.
Personal Representative Responsibilities
Personal Representatives may be held personally financially liable for losses that result from a breach of their duties, even if a mistake was made in good faith, including:
– Failure to pay the deceased’s liabilities and debts.
– Failure to pay all Capital Gains Tax, Income Tax and Inheritance Tax that is due.
– Failure to distribute funds to a person who is successful in a claim against the Estate.
– Failure to identify and properly distribute funds to beneficiaries — which includes those who were not known about initially.
Disappointed dependants or family members have up to 6 months to make a claim once the Grant of Representation is issued. The deceased’s creditors can potentially make a claim against a Personal Representative up to 12 years following the death.