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Part two of four in the “What Do I Do When Losing A Loved One?” Guide Series.

Do I need to have an Executor?

The people who administer an estate after a death are called Executors. Executors are representatives for the person who has died. All estates need an Executor, but in limited circumstances, not all estates require to go through the Confirmation process.

Appointment of Executors

If there is a Will, it will have named who the deceased wishes to be their Executor in that document.

If there isn’t a Will then, in most cases, the Court will have to appoint one on – known as the Executor Dative. There’s a strict order of preference when the Court decides who will be entitled to be appointed as Executor Dative. There will be costs incurred to do this, and it can be an added pressure at an already stressful time.

What does an Executor do?

  1. Make an inventory of the possessions, money and property. They will make sure all the assets are accounted for and valued. This is known as the “estate.”
  2. Pay any Inheritance Tax that is owed.
  3. Obtain Confirmation. This is a document from the Court which gives an Executor authority to administer the estate.
  4. Ingather the estate.
  5. Pay off any debts.
  6. Distribute the estate to those identified in the Will, or in accordance with the law if there is no Will.

Does an Executor need to appoint a solicitor?

An Executor doesn’t need to appoint a solicitor, and if the estate is classed as a small estate (under £36,000), then the Sheriff Clerk will guide you through the Confirmation process. 

However, for any estate over £36,000, the Sheriff Clerk cannot assist you.  Depending on the number and value of your assets, the Confirmation process can be complicated and time-consuming. The Executor can also be found liable for any estate’s unpaid debts (up to the estate’s value) if they remain unpaid after distribution. So while it is not mandatory to appoint a solicitor, it reduces the pressure on the individual appointed and ensures they are guided through what can be a complex executry process. Our fixed-price services allow Executors to take on as much or as little of the work as you are comfortable with. 

Next Page: How Do I Obtain Confirmation?

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