What to do as an executor / trustee / power of attorney

TotalBanker

Old-Salt
Hello all, question for any legally trained types!
My parents are getting on a bit, with all the usual physical fails that come with age. Whilst theres nothing there thats likely to knock them off their perch in the imminent future, they have decided (mum decided and told dad) that updates to their wills are needed (currently wills along the lines of if they pop their clogs I, at 42, am delivered unto the care of my uncle to be brought up. I'd love to see his face if that is enacted!)
In any event, they've chatted through a few thing with me, and it runs out along with my sister I shall be:

Executor - assuming both parents die
Have power of attorney - assuming one or both lose mental faculties (debatable at the moment ha ha, seriously though not had a history of this in the family although thats not always a guide)
Be a trustee - i think this will be for whats left to my nieces, my sisters 2 girls

Is there anything i should look out for? Parents arranged for me (and at same time my sister and her husband) to have a chat with the solicitor whos drafting the will this coming Saturday in case we have questions. We all get along, although of course this sites full of stories of families who got on until money was involved. I don't think that will be a problem but its worth thinking i guess of a legal framework to keep us all happy and in line?

Anyway, i don't know enough to know what to ask. Will this cost me an arm and a leg? like, here's an inheritance but after i do this that and the other, I'm left with tuppence. Is there anything else i should raise? This is all completely new to me, so even if theres something so basic it ought to be obvious, please do let me know (apart from asking what i get, not sure they're telling us yet ;-) - which remind me, ill also be a signatory as well i believe, but not sure.
 
Don’t sign the will as a witness. A witness can’t be a beneficiary. This shouldn’t be a problem as it’s being drafted by a solicitor and the solicitor and their para legal can sign as witnesses.

If your parents wish to exclude someone who you think would have a reasonable expectation of being a beneficiary they should write a note to accompany will stating the exclusion and giving a reason.
 
Things you may wish to discuss amongst yourself is personal items you may wish to have - an item of jewellery, that horrible pottery cat on the windowsill or your dad’s black book of other women. You sister might want your mother’s collection of nipple clamps.
 
Don’t worry if you forget something and remember it later, a new will doesn’t have to be drafted a simple codicil can be added to the will.
 
My preference is to have a Will a Trust and a separate Memorandum of Wishes. The reason for this is that it is a pain in the bahookie to change a Will, but a new MoW is a quick and cheap job.

It is vital IMO that assets pass to a Trust, again outside of the Will, as this gives protection post death for the beneficiaries in case of eg. divorce or bankruptcy.

Register the Powers of Attorney now - two kinds, Health and Welfare, & Property and Financial. This is currently taking 3-4 months but PoAs can't be used until such time as they have been Registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
 
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The reason for this is that it is a pain in the bahookie to change a Will, but a new MoW is a quick and cheap job.

That’s incorrect, a will is easy to change, but will incur a greater cost. Adding a codicil is legally binding and cheaper.

A memorandum of wishes is not legally binging, an executor is not obliged to follow it and failure to follow do not provide sufficient grounds to contest a will.
 
Hello all, question for any legally trained types!
My parents are getting on a bit, with all the usual physical fails that come with age. Whilst theres nothing there thats likely to knock them off their perch in the imminent future, they have decided (mum decided and told dad) that updates to their wills are needed (currently wills along the lines of if they pop their clogs I, at 42, am delivered unto the care of my uncle to be brought up. I'd love to see his face if that is enacted!)
In any event, they've chatted through a few thing with me, and it runs out along with my sister I shall be:

Executor - assuming both parents die
Have power of attorney - assuming one or both lose mental faculties (debatable at the moment ha ha, seriously though not had a history of this in the family although thats not always a guide)
Be a trustee - i think this will be for whats left to my nieces, my sisters 2 girls

Is there anything i should look out for? Parents arranged for me (and at same time my sister and her husband) to have a chat with the solicitor whos drafting the will this coming Saturday in case we have questions. We all get along, although of course this sites full of stories of families who got on until money was involved. I don't think that will be a problem but its worth thinking i guess of a legal framework to keep us all happy and in line?

Anyway, i don't know enough to know what to ask. Will this cost me an arm and a leg? like, here's an inheritance but after i do this that and the other, I'm left with tuppence. Is there anything else i should raise? This is all completely new to me, so even if theres something so basic it ought to be obvious, please do let me know (apart from asking what i get, not sure they're telling us yet ;-) - which remind me, ill also be a signatory as well i believe, but not sure.

Having been an executor a couple of times,I found a couple of pifalls.

Although Banks are supposed to give the executor access to the deceased bank account, sometimes they get a bit funny (the death certificate is your friend), you'll need access to pay bills.

Also,ask your parents to list all utilities, pensions etc. to make it easier for the executor to pay them. If they both have State Pensions,check out how to cancel them and, the same with any private or military pensions.

My Mum made a folder with all her bits and pieces in it,which made it so much easier...my brother didn't, his kids were F*****g clueless and, it took a few weeks to sort everything out, It's a crappy time anyway,without the hassle of trying to find what needs sorting.

You might also ask the solicitor about Probate, depending on the size of the estate, you can actually apply to do it yourself and, the Court of Probate officers are incredibly helpful with filling out the forms.

No one finds it easy or,standardised. You might occassionally have to wing it but, don't be afraid to ask people for help. I was gobsmacked at the kindness shown by the utility companies I had to contact.

In my mums case, I needed a solicitor for advice on the probate, the only one I could find, phoned me, asked for the size of the 'estate', told me she dealt with estates in the £millions (London), then spent 20 minutes on the phone, giving me all the information she could.

I sent her a bunch of flowers as a thank you, the following day she phoned to say she was taken by surprise and, thank you .

It's not as daunting as you think but, a bit of forethought now, will pay dividends later on !
 
At the point where your duties as an executor evevntually start, I was also advised to get several copies of the death cerrificate and the Registrars are very helpful - even pointing you to the inform everyone official in one go part of the governement website
 
Alternatively see a solicitor and ask them to do full service probate. They’ll deal with everything, informing those who need to be informed, inheritance tax, probate application and any difficulties.

It costs 2%-4% of the value of the estate. More towards the lower end unless complications arise.
 

unicorn77

War Hero
I've dealt with a few estates for relatives. All very simple, so no problem for an amateur. One thing that surprised me was, as long as no Inheritance Tax is due, you often don't need to get Probate.
 
Power of Attorney costs £82 for each on, so £164 per person.


They aren’t difficult to apply for and GP’s tend to be very good for helping with some of the health side of things. Currently running at 3-4 months from application.
 
That’s incorrect, a will is easy to change, but will incur a greater cost.
But getting it Witnessed is a pain. And as you say, more expensive.

Adding a codicil is legally binding and cheaper.

A memorandum of wishes is not legally binging, an executor is not obliged to follow it and failure to follow do not provide sufficient grounds to contest a will.
I know.
 
Power of Attorney costs £82 for each on, so £164 per person.


They aren’t difficult to apply for and GP’s tend to be very good for helping with some of the health side of things. Currently running at 3-4 months from application.
Thats the cost of Registering them. It can pay to get professional help, AIUI about 30% of Registrations are rejected.
 
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Thats the cost of Registering them. It can pay to get professional help, AIUI about 30 of Registrations are rejected.
As forms go it isn’t a difficult one as long as you aren’t trying to do anything esoteric, follow the guidance and exercise a bit of attention to detail and it should be fine, just awaiting Dad’s as I speak.
 
@TotalBanker,
Are your Parents Bank accounts joint?
It makes it easier for the survivor as they will still have access to funds.
It helps to know what and where all their investments are, when my Father passed away a few years ago, we found he had something like 32 separate investments, so we got 32 copies of the Death Certificate (when duplicates were about £5 a copy). You will find that organisations require different levels of documentation/proof before they will deal with you (ranging from original death certificates accompanying forms, certified (by a notarised official) copies of Passports or a just a signature and date).
Most organisations have a dedicated bereavement cell or office, use them.
 
PS. If you use a Solicitor, check their work carefully. My brothers and I initially engaged on due to the size and complexity of my father's estate. We dropped the bugger when we got the first probate pack from them and found they had filled out a form stating there was no Will (The next document in the bundle was a copy of the Will :pissedoff:) and they had forgotten to list one of the investments (circa £50K).
 
You will need two sets of powers of attorney between your parents and between each and yourself, one for health matters and the other for legal. Make sure that the house is held between them as tenants in common, so that the house cannot be sold to pay for the debts (eg medical fees) of the other.

Executors execute the will so, as above, don't witness it. I'm sure that your parents trust you and he reverse. However, the death of one will bring the family vultures down out of the trees in which case being the sole executor only makes sense if you've got a thick skin. Consider a second if not. You'll probably need to think about probate but, unless your parents own the Isle of Wight or similar, it's usually easy.

Trustees are more particular creatures and administer designated lumps of cash on behalf of an heir. I'm sure you can be an executor and a trustee, but I'm an industrial chemist, not a solicitor, so check.
 

BlipDriver

Old-Salt
Don’t sign the will as a witness. A witness can’t be a beneficiary.
Agree with @dingerr, witness can't benefit - but an executor can)
Good idea from @RoofRat about the folder, it helps if everything is in one place easy to hand.
At the point where your duties as an executor evevntually start, I was also advised to get several copies of the death cerrificate and the Registrars are very helpful - even pointing you to the inform everyone official in one go part of the governement website
Definitely, especially as you have to post them out to anyone who needs to see one, & duplicates are cheaper than getting an official copy later.
Alternatively see a solicitor and ask them to do full service probate. They’ll deal with everything, informing those who need to be informed, inheritance tax, probate application and any difficulties.

It costs 2%-4% of the value of the estate. More towards the lower end unless complications arise.
Depends on estate size, 2-4% (+disbursements +vat) of a £300k estate adds to to a sizeable amount, especially if there's actually little work to do. Perhaps ask if they do fixed price probate, there are companies that will do this.

The fixed cost of probate is currently £215 (£90 when I had to do it) for estates over £5000.
Found this COST OF PROBATE FEES IN THE UK May 2021 - Complete Guide which seemed to cover most of it.

Finally, joint accounts as mentioned by @shiny_arrse can be helpful as it removes money from consideration in valuing an estate as well as giving a survivor access to money.
 

Blogg

LE
PoA's come in two flavours, Ordinary and Lasting.

Ask the Legal scribe to explain

Capture everything whilst you can. It's bad enough trawling through your own pile of documnets let alone those of someone who may have been putting stuff in random places or ditching them

Oh and expect nobody to thank you
 
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