It is the duty of an Executor to administer the estate by collecting the assets, paying off the debts and liabilities and distributing the estate to the beneficiaries entitled in accordance with the terms of the Will. The beneficiaries have a right to ensure that the estate is properly administered.

First of all, it is necessary to establish what the estate consists of and this is done by contacting the bank, building society and all other asset holders to ascertain the value of these assets at date of death. The same exercise needs to be carried out in respect of debts and liabilities. If there are no reliefs or exemptions available, it is only after this exercise has been carried out that the Executor will know whether there is an inheritance tax liability and which inheritance tax form or account needs to be completed.

After the grant of probate has been obtained the assets need to be collected in and the debts and liabilities paid. Most asset holders will have a form that needs to be completed and signed by the Executor with instructions as to where the proceeds are to go. This could be to an account the Executor has opened for the estate or to a Solicitors’ client account.

After all liabilities of the estate and any legacies have been paid the Executor is then in a position to distribute the balance of funds to the residuary beneficiaries which will complete the winding up of the estate.