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Latest News

Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB).

A new tax-free allowance was announced in the Summer Budget 2015 (the Residence Nil Rate Band) that will take effect on or after 6th April 2017.  Downsizing provisions have yet to be finalised.

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding this new allowance - please call or view our website pages (not yet updated) for further information - including:

  • everyone has a new allowance of £1M;
  • everyone can pass their home free of tax to their children

You may not get the full allowance (or double the allowance) if:

  1. your estate exceeds £2M
  2. you rent property
  3. you don't leave your property (or proceeds of sale) to the right qualifying people and in the right manner
  4. you are unmarried

WATCH THIS SPACE!

Executor of a Will

What the Executor of a Will has to do

The role of executor carries a lot of responsibility, and can be stressful and time consuming. We have put this step-by-step guide together to help you through the process and make you aware of what’s required.

Duties of an executor

The role of executor carries a lot of responsibility, and can be stressful and time consuming. We have put this step-by-step guide together to help you through the process and make you aware of what’s required.

Register the death at the local Registry Office (get several copies of the death certificate as banks, insurance companies and other organisations that hold assets or funds such as shares will need to see an original death certificate before funds are released).  This could also be organised by the next of kin.

Obtain the Will – as executor, you should know of the location of this.

Arrange the funeral. The cost of this is normally the first thing to be paid from the deceased’s Estate. Check to see if there is any pre-paid funeral plan and make the appropriate arrangements. Make sure that any instructions in the Will regarding the deceased’s wishes for the funeral are carried out.  This could also be organised by the next of kin.

Inform all relevant organisations such as employers, utility companies, credit/store card companies, banks, building societies, council tax offices, social security, local authorities, pension providers, life assurance companies, etc.

Arrange a professional valuation of the estate which could include the house and its contents, investments, stocks and shares, life policies and all other personal goods. Draw up a detailed list of assets, including sole and joint assets.

Draw up a list of debts that must be paid by the estate.  This could include mortgages, loans, credit cards, household bills, taxes, overdrafts, etc.

Open a personal representative’s bank account for money paid into the estate and for any loan arranged to pay IHT and probate fees. This will ensure that you don’t confuse estate monies with personal finances.

Prepare the Inheritance Tax (IHT) return – the grant of probate cannot be issued until any IHT due is paid. If part of the estate needs to be sold to pay IHT, banks can arrange loan facilities so that the tax can be paid straight away. You must declare the value of the estate to HMRC on an Inheritance Tax return within 12 months of death.  Note that even where no inheritance tax is payable it is still necessary to submit a return.  Forms to be completed include IHT205, IHT217 or IHT400

Apply for a grant of probate from the nearest probate registry. This will give you legal authority over the estate and you should distribute copies to anyone who owes the estate money.  This can be done by making a personal application which requires attending the high court of justice or done professionally for example with the assistance of Cornerstone Wills.

Swear the papers – for a straightforward case, an appointment will be made within 5-6 weeks of submitting the documents.  Send copies of the Grant or Probate to all that have requested it once received.

Place necessary legal advertisements, e.g. to locate beneficiaries.

Collect estate money.

Undertake bankruptcy searches on each beneficiary as you cannot distribute to someone who is bankrupt.

Settle all debts – payment of the deceased’s tax and liabilities is your personal responsibility.  Failure to submit an accurate account to HMRC may leave you open to personal liability or penalty.

Distribute the estate – Pay all legacies in the Will.  Set up any Will trusts, for example Property Preservation Trust or Nil Rate Band Discretionary Trust.  Set up a Deed or Appointment if a trust is to be disbanded.  Pay residuary beneficiaries.

Complete income tax returns (R27 and R185 for each beneficiary) and estate income if the estate received any rental income.

Compile estate accounts (a legal requirement) - you will need to keep a full set of accounts showing the estate assets and liabilities, administration income and expenses and how the estate has been distributed. These should prove that you have acted in accordance with the wishes expressed in the Will. This is important in case there is any query from the beneficiaries or the family.

Store the records securely for a minimum of 12 years.

Failure to do any of the above correctly can result in you being personally liable for any mistake you make.

We are professionals and if you require any assistance in your role, please see our section on Probate or contact us.