Step by step guide for executors to a will

Get a copy of the Will – If you cannot find a copy, you may want to try the deceased’s solicitors.

1. Establish estate assets and liabilities – Draw up a schedule of assets and liabilities, including Inheritance Tax. The Inheritance Tax form can be found on the government’s website here).

2. Apply for grant of probate – Once granted, it gives you legal authority to deal with the estate. In Scotland, this is called Confirmation.

Probate application forms can be found here, and Scottish applications here.

3. Submit your application, along with Inheritance Tax forms, death certificate and three copies of the Will (including all codicils) to your local probate office. You can find your local probate registry by entering your postcode here.

4. Swear an oath – Once you have sent your probate application, the probate office will be in touch and arrange for you to swear an oath before a solicitor or probate official.

5. Pay Inheritance Tax – Submit the completed R185 Inheritance Tax forms to the Inland Revenue. Charity beneficiaries don’t usually have to do this, unless we are gifted a value that’s more than 10% of the gross estate value.

For more information on Inheritance Tax, how much is payable, what qualifies etc, please visit the government’s website here.

6. Settle estate accounts – Pay off all debts, collect all assets, sell all property and items etc. If we have been left a gift in a Will, we would usually ask for the completed estate accounts. This is because charities are tightly regulated and we must provide proof to back up our tax claims.

7. Distribute – Once everything has been finalised, you can begin distributing the estate in line with the wishes set out in the Will.

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