We appreciate the effort non-professional executors give to administering an estate, not least in saving the estate legal fees by acting as executor.
Unless a will includes a clause enabling the executor to charge for his or her time, non-professional executors are not legally permitted to do so. This is regarded under law as profiting from a position of trust, so beneficiaries may need to query expenses, particularly where the claim appears to include a time element.
Executors are entitled to reclaim all reasonable expenses actually incurred, such as:
- telephone calls
- travel expenses
- any payments made for death certificates, legal oath fees, etc.
If you feel you need to charge for your time, or are unsure of your position, please contact the legacy administration team.
Producing estate accounts
By law, executors must provide the residuary beneficiaries with estate accounts.
This is not simply to allow us to question the administration but to provide confirmation that there are no outstanding matters which may become a liability on our trustees.
Estate accounts should include:
- the capital assets and liabilities at the date of death
- an expenditure account, to include any inheritance tax, administration expenses and pecuniary legacies
- an income account, giving details of interest, dividends, rents etc paid since death
- a distribution account, to show how the estate has passed to the various beneficiaries.
Example of estate accounts (PDF)
We welcome extra supporting information for particular items in the accounts, such as a completion statement for the sale of a property, confirmation of investments sold or a listing of the executor’s expenses.
Residuary beneficiaries should approve the accounts before the estate is distributed. This is particularly the case where inheritance tax (IHT) is involved. HM Revenue & Customs will agree the total amount of IHT payable, but there are frequent misunderstandings about how the tax is apportioned between exempt charities and non-exempt beneficiaries.
We may need to contact you to ask some routine questions for clarification about the estate accounts.