As an Executor of someone’s estate, am I personally liable?
The short answer is ‘yes’.
Recent research suggested that 96% of executors did not realise that they were legally and financially responsible for the accurate administration of a deceased person’s estate. This typically involves applying for the Grant of Probate, dealing with all aspects of the estate and distributing the assets to those entitled to inherit.
Both professional and non-professional Executors are subject to a statutory ‘duty of care’ under the Trustee Act of 2000, meaning they must act in the best interests of the estate and beneficiaries. Consequently, they can be held financially and legally liable for any mistakes made in handling the deceased’s assets.
Executors are responsible for valuing the assets in the estate, tracking accounts, paying debts and taxes and distributing what’s left of the estate to the beneficiaries.
Estate administration is a long and complex legal process, so expect it to take months rather than weeks. As each estate is different, it is almost impossible to tell how long the process will take without knowing more about the specific nature of the estate. An ‘average’ estate takes 9-12 months to administer from start to finish.
We work in partnership with estate administration specialists Kings Court Trust who can remove this stress from the executor and take on full legal liability for administering an estate. If you would like to find out more about this service, please contact us.