In order to make sure that your possessions and property go to the people you wish to have them you will need to write a will and hand over the responsibility of that document to an executor. The executor will then deal with the distribution of your estate upon your death and carry out any other related tasks necessary.
Writing a will is where you determine who gets what from your estate after your death. All of your assets must be assigned to either an individual, a charity or an organisation of your choosing. If you fail to mention any assets that you own in your will the law will decide who inherits these items.
The way you distribute your estate is entirely your decision and it can be done in several ways. You can divide it either by name, value or a given percentage. In addition, you can also identify your individual pieces of property by name and leave those to specific people or by type, i.e. jewellery.
You can also choose to have specific parts of your estate sold and nominate where the proceeds of that particular sale should go. Alternatively, you can specify that the whole of your estate is sold and then determine whom the proceeds go to. This too can be done either as a whole or a percentage.
Identifying The Executor
The executor of your will is the individual who will be in charge of distributing the named assets according to your wishes stated in the will. Many people opt for an executor who has a professional background or they designate a lawyer to handle the estate. Executors Liability Insurance can give peace of mind to anyone who is fearful of a dispute after his or her death.
The Executors Obligations
Being an executor can be a time consuming, and sometimes complex, process. You may be expected to announce the death to family members and through written announcements as well as obtaining the certificate, which states the cause of death, and registering the death with the authorities.
Some executors are also required to organise the funeral arrangements and deal with any outstanding debt left by or to the deceased. Other tasks such as obtaining probate, document gathering, dealing with tax on the estate and the distribution of the estate are all the responsibility of the executor.
Once named as the executor that person will remain so for the rest of their life, so should there be any issues regarding the estate in the future it will continue to be the responsibility of that person.
Seeking Professional Help
As you can see, being an executor to a will can involve a lot of work, therefore many individuals choose to engage assistance from a professional in order to ensure that everything is done correctly. The Citizens Advice Bureau, independent solicitors or professional financial advisors can all be engaged to help with the process should the need arise.
Dealing with somebody’s will is an enormous responsibility and can be overwhelming for some, especially if there were close to the deceased. Asking for professional help can ease the burden and make this difficult time a lot less stressful for all concerned.
Peter Collins is a director at LFC Risk and Insurance, an Essex company that provides business and individuals with bespoke insurance and risk management solutions.