Executors who are appointed under a will, usually have to obtain a grant of probate before they have authority to deal with the assets in an estate. The procedure for obtaining a grant of probate will vary depending upon the nature of the assets and their value.
If the estate is taxable, then the executors will need to complete a detailed Inland Revenue account and pay any tax that may be payable on the death. There are stringent penalties imposed upon executors by the Inland Revenue if the executors fail to include in the Inland Revenue account full details of all assets and allowable deductions. This can amount to double the tax plus a fine.
If you die without having made a will then you are said to have died “intestate”. If this happens then the laws of intestacy govern who is to inherit your estate and this can lead to unexpected and undesired results. For example, if you do not leave a will then:
- If you are married or in a civil partnership, your spouse or civil partner will not automatically inherit all of your estate.
- If you are neither married nor in a civil partnership, your partner will not inherit your estate.
- You will not have made any provision for who should be appointed as guardians for your young children.
- You have not appointed anyone to act as your executor.
- The administration of your estate is likely to take significantly longer to complete than if you had left a will.