Legal Eagle Column: Being an executor – how hard can it really be, especially with a ‘simple’ estate?

Jenny Duckett, Solicitor at Neves Solicitors, explains…

I’ve spoken with many people, both in and outside of work, who’ve been appointed as an executor in a Will and have decided to deal with Probate and the estate themselves.

Whilst there is nothing to stop people from doing this, I come across so many misconceptions about the process and costs involved, it can be quite alarming!

Whether a deceased’s estate is ‘simple’ or not; whether their Will seems on the face of things to be valid or not; whether a person is confident with paperwork or not, there can be serious personal consequences for anyone acting as an executor who gets it wrong.

By personal consequences, I mean the executor can be liable from their own pocket, and not the estate funds, for mistakes they have made.

I would always advise, regardless of what the assets are or how much they amount to, that you get legal assistance if you’re acting as executor, if not for the whole administration then for some input at some stage, for your own protection in your role.

The seriousness of the role should not be underestimated. It is true that professionals dealing with estates will charge a fee for their services.

Neves’ fees range from a fixed fee for less than £100 for an initial advice meeting, to a fixed fee in the hundreds of pounds for getting the Grant of Probate, to our hourly rate stretching into the thousands for fully administering a complex taxable estate.

As you’ll agree, there’s a real range of costs, all dependent on the level of support you think you require.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the consequences of lay executors failing to deal with the administration properly could personally cost them tens of thousands of pounds, if not much more, and far in excess of any legal fees they would have paid for a professional service.

Our Private Client team here in Milton Keynes are always happy to have an initial conversation with you; we appreciate it can be very stressful dealing with a friend or family member’s affairs after they’ve died, please be assured that any matter will be handled with sensitivity.

Get in touch with us if you think we can help, or if you would like to find out more about what being an executor entails.

Call Neves Solicitors on 01908 304560

This feature was published in the June 2019 issue of Celebrate:MK lifestyle magazine. Read the full magazine above or by clicking on this link.

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