Goodwills can act as professional executors in your Will. So why should you take advantage of this?
When you make your Will, you should appoint executors. The job of an executor or executors is to ensure that the estate is administer correctly, in accordance to the instructions in your Will, and in accordance with the law and current conventions.
Why appoint professional executors in your Will?
If an executor makes a mistake, this could leave them liable, both financially and legally. A lot of responsibility will be put on loved ones who may have no legal experience, and could easily make a mistake.
An experienced executor will know when to use a deed of variation to maximum effect, claim unused allowances, ensure trusts are set up correctly, that assets are valued correctly, and that tax is paid correctly and on time.
Professional executors will also keep records in case the administration of the estate is investigated, maybe by HMRC or third-party creditors such as finance companies.
Is the cost prohibitive?
Some people initially shy away from professional executors as they are concerned about the cost, but it is important that your loved ones aren’t left financially or legally liable if they make a mistake. It is also important that the beneficiaries do not lose out because tax has not been minimised, or that assets are not protected from outside influences.
Where property and trusts are involved, we recommend that you appoint professional executors. You should also consider professional executors where the Will might be challenged, there might be a tax liability, or if there are outstanding debts.
Goodwills Fees are typically very competitive, and in most cases are around 1.5% to 2% of the estate, depending on the size of the estate and the work involved, our prices can be much lower. Assuming the worst case scenario, should we act as professional executors there will still be about 98% of the estate remaining after our costs have been paid.
Putting the cost in perspective
A great question to ask yourself is whether it is better for your beneficiaries to receive 98% or more of the estate, less costs and tax, and ensure that everything is done properly, and loved ones do not end up taking on the liability of doing the work, or is it better to try and keep that 2% (or less) and hope they can do it correctly.
- As an example, someone who would inherit £100,000 would get £98,000 or more after costs.
- An incorrectly set up trust could cost the beneficiaries the entire assets put into that trust. A property gifted incorrectly could end up with an additional tax bill of hundreds of thousands of pounds. Cutting corners to save a few pounds could end up costing many times more in missed opportunities, fines or tax liabilities.
The responsibilities of an executor
See below for further information about the responsibilities of an executor, and the responsibilities we can take on in a professional executor capacity.
- Apply for the grant of probate
- Gather together all the information in regard to saving, cash, bank accounts shares, some types of life insurance policy, properties, land. Also calculate liabilities such as loans, credit cards, mortgages. This would also include chattels, for example the value of items in the house, cars, jewellery and anything else of value that forms part of the estate.
This information needs to be accurate from the start, or it can cause problems later on in the process.
- An executor is responsible for calculating the net value of the estate, and reporting any tax liability to HMRC. The calculation should include many types of gifts made in the previous seven years.
- Relevant tax forms need to be obtained and completed for HMRC. This may include forms for inheritance tax, income tax and capital gains tax. Before the grant of probate can be obtained, you need to prove you have paid any Inheritance tax, or there is no inheritance tax to pay.
- To notify the death of the deceased in certain publications to ensure those who might have a financial claim on the estate can come forward.
- To repay all liabilities due by the estate, and collect money in from assets in the estate, including selling any assets such as shares or property as appropriate.
- To locate any missing assets, prepare accounts which demonstrate how the estate has been administeedr, and distributing the estate accordingly once the required time has elapsed for people or organisations to make a claim on the estate.
The way forward
You can appoint professional and non-professional executors in your Will. You can also appoint reserve executors. For the testator (the person making a Will, we offer the following provisions for 100% peace of mind:
If you appoint Goodwills as sole or joint professional executors, or reserve professional executors then we will promise the following:
- We will always agree fees with the beneficiaries before commencing work
- We will always stand down if the beneficiaries do not want us to act (unless you say otherwise)
- We will always charge very reasonable fees. Currently our fees range from 0.5% to 2% depending of the complexity of any work that needs to be done and the size of the estate.
Using Goodwills as professional executors will give you the peace of mind that your estate is being administered by an insured and regulated law firm, and that those involved with your estate are not having to shop around during a period where they may not be thinking straight, and may make rash or unwise decisions because of the responsibilities put on their shoulders at a difficult time.
Goodwills Wilts and Glos price check
Goodwills Wilts and Glos single Will from £125 which is 16% cheaper than a Co-operative Legal Services Single Will from £150*
Goodwills Wilts and Glos Mirror Will from £200 which is 14% cheaper than Co-operative Legal Services Mirror Wills from £234*
* Prices correct as of 12th March 2019. All prices include VAT as applicable. Further information about what is included in our standard prices can be found by clicking here.