The coronavirus pandemic has caused many challenges and dealing with the death of a loved one as an executor is even more stressful in the current climate of uncertainty and restrictions.
Add to this the fact that in recent years more claims have been brought against executors by beneficiaries, and the prospect of administering an estate can feel overwhelming.
However, executors still need to fulfil their obligations despite the lockdown restrictions and social distancing measures, and need to understand just what their duties are if they are to avoid claims being made by beneficiaries.
What Must You Do As An Executor Of An Estate?
If someone appoints you to be their executor in their Will, you are responsible for administering their estate after they die – and this is a big responsibility.
In addition to the simpler tasks such as registering the death and obtaining the death certificate, an executor needs to complete many tasks, including:
- Valuing the estate
- Calculating the taxes that need to be paid
- Maintaining records throughout
Despite the changes and restraints brought about by Covid-19, an executor must still perform the following duties:
- Meet all deadlines, such as those for the payment of taxes
- Factor in extra time for responses from institutions like HMRC that are experiencing delays due to the pandemic
- Protect the estate and maintain its value, ensuring any property of the estate is secure and the relevant parties are kept informed
- Stay in regular contact with the beneficiaries and update them on how the estate is performing and when they can expect to receive their inheritance
- Keep accounts and records up-to-date
What Happens If There Are Disputes From Beneficiaries?
Sometimes, regardless of the best efforts of an executor, he or she may face criticism from the beneficiaries. The best way to protect yourself from this happening is to keep detailed records that justify your actions and show you’ve followed the wishes of the deceased.
However, occasionally beneficiaries disagree with the choice of executor or an executor may disagree with a fellow executor on the interpretation of the Will, and when this happens it’s a good idea to seek legal advice on the best course of action.
How We Can Help You Administer An Estate
Being an executor and administering an estate is a big responsibility, particularly with the current lockdown restrictions and social distancing measures in place – and our specialist solicitors are here to help if you need some support to fulfil your duties.
We will ensure you are able to complete your obligations as executor to the best of your abilities and are here to advise you at every step of the administration process, to help make sure you take the best course of action and minimise the risk of a claim being made against you by a beneficiary.
To speak to one of our solicitors about administering an estate, contact us on 0800 988 3674 or email firstname.lastname@example.org