By Sarah Strong, Partner
If you have been appointed as an Executor, there is no legal obligation to engage a solicitor. Executors are able to deal with the administration of an Estate and apply for the Grant of Representation (a document obtained from the Probate Registry to prove the legal authority of the person dealing with an Estate) themselves.
It is, though, best to obtain legal advice where an Estate is complex, either due the amount or type of assets the deceased had, if there are children under 18 who are inheriting, if there are trusts set up under the terms of the Will or if there are likely to be challenges to the Will. However, even where an Estate is simple and straight forward, there are challenging issues that may arise.
An Executor is responsible for making sure an Estate is administered correctly, including ensuring assets and liabilities are valued correctly, making sure the correct amount of Inheritance Tax is paid and the Estate is distributed in line with the Will or Intestacy Rules.
Appointing a Solicitor to assist you can alleviate some of the burden and give you peace of mind that you are correctly carrying out your duty.
Many Executors are not familiar with the rules regarding Inheritance Tax and the exemptions and reliefs that are available. For example, the Residential Nil Rate Band was introduced in 2017 and, where an Estate qualifies, this offers an additional £175,000 free of Inheritance Tax. If the deceased had a spouse or civil partner that died before them, there may also be the opportunity to claim this allowance from their Estate. A Solicitor would be able to make sure that all available Inheritance Tax reliefs are being used in an estate.
This blog is not intended as legal advice that can be relied upon and CooperBurnett LLP does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of its contents.
Originally published in The Times of Tunbridge Wells: https://www.timeslocalnews.co.uk