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The role of an executor

View profile for Katey  Stephenson
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The overwhelming demands of an executor were recently highlighted and they did not make pleasant reading for those handling an estate without legal advice.

At the end of November, the Office of Tax Simplification published their review on inheritance tax. Though they have put forward many suggestions to simplify the process, it is clear that any significant change is not yet on the horizon and any difficulties are unlikely to be resolved soon.

The report outlined that nearly 70% of executors who did not use a legal adviser spent over 20 hours handling the estate - 40% spent 50 or more hours. These are hours for which the executor does not receive payment and often come at the most stressful of times.

Only 10% described the process as ‘simple’ or ‘user-friendly’. Executors are uncertain whether they are taking the right steps, represented best by the inheritance tax return form and its 23 separate supplementary forms that you may need to complete.

The role of an executor can be long, complex and demanding at a very testing time. Change does not appear to be forthcoming and so the report highlighted the many reasons that executors chose to instruct legal advisers: concern about mistakes; requiring assistance with inheritance tax; understanding the process as a whole; no payment for their efforts; the costs of a legal adviser were not unreasonable and their payment will often be from the estate’s assets.

If you have any concerns about your role as an executor or would like assistance, please contact me on 01206 217618 or thomas.lee@birkettlong.co.uk

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