As the Executor of a loved one’s Will, it is your responsibility to administer their estate i.e. make sure that your loved one’s wishes, as stated in their Will, are carried out. The estate is the term for your loved one’s property, money and possessions.
The process of administering the estate will generally begin with obtaining a Grant of Probate. This is an official legal document that confirms you, as the Executor, have the authority, as provided in the Will, to deal with your loved one’s personal and financial affairs. The Grant of Probate is obtained by an application to the Probate Registry. (Here is a link to the Government’s Probate Registry website – Applying for probate – GOV.UK )
The Grant of Probate will be required by banks, building societies and/or mortgage companies etc to allow them to deal with you as the Executor in relation to your loved one’s accounts, property etc.
When the Grant of Probate has been obtained, you, as the Executor, can then administer the estate of your loved one. This process generally has three stages:
- Assessing the value of the estate by obtaining all documents in relation to your loved one’s property, finances, possessions etc;
- Paying any outstanding bills and settling all debts with the money in the estate;
- Distributing the balance of the estate i.e. what is left after the debts have been paid, in accordance with the terms of your loved one’s Will.
If your loved one had specific requests in their Will, for example, that a specific item is to be given to a certain person, it is your responsibility as the Executor to ensure that person receives that item.
As the Executor, you will also need to prepare Estate Accounts to confirm how the estate has been administered. Therefore, you will need to document everything you do, obtain confirmation of payment of bills and debts and obtain receipts for any payments.