If someone asks you to be an executor for their Will you will be responsible for making sure their estate is properly wound up and that their wishes are carried out. 
 
There are legal responsibilities associated with being an executor, including: 
registering the death 
arranging the funeral 
valuing the estate 
paying any inheritance tax 
applying for probate 
resolving finances 
distributing the estate 
keeping estate accounts. 
 
All the costs of administering the estate and receipts should be recorded. 
Having mental capacity is one of the conditions that you must meet for your Will to be valid. This means you must be able to understand and retain information for long enough to weigh it up and make a decision. You must also be able to communicate the decision you have made. 
A valid Will makes it much easier for your executors to administer your estate when you die. Your friends and family will receive their inheritance as you intended, and people will be reassured that they understand your wishes. 
 
There are almost six million businesses in the UK, most of them ranging from sole traders to businesses with around 10 employees, but many people don’t put the same measures in place for their business
Man working on a lathe in a workshop
Books and gavel on a white background
We’re told that waiting times for grants of probate have now been reduced to around five weeks. 
 
HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) says that the number of grants issued each week is now higher than the number of applications being received. 
 
If you apply for probate online, an option that was introduced in November last year, you should only have to wait around four weeks. If there aren’t any errors or omissions in the application, it could even be handled in a week. 
 
If you submit the paper forms instead, you should receive your grant within eight weeks. 
 
However, this is just the beginning of the process of administering an estate on behalf of a friend or family member. 
A warm and friendly care home is often the best place for a vulnerable elderly person to live. 
 
If your parent has been unwell or has been diagnosed with dementia, for example, they might not be able to live safely at home. They might be struggling with day-to-day activities like washing and preparing food. Round-the-clock support from trained professionals in a safe environment could help them to live their lives more fully and reduce their anxiety. 
 
However, during the coronavirus pandemic some relatives have been concerned that they are unable to visit their loved ones and have been worried about the health risks they face. They have been shocked to discover that they can’t take them out of the care home to live with their family. 
If you make a gift to a young person in your Will which they receive when they reach a certain age you will create either a bereaved minor’s trust or a bereaved young person’s trust, depending on their age. 
 

A bereaved minor’s trust 

A bereaved minor’s trust is created if you make a gift in your Will to your children on the condition that they reach the age of 18. 
 
These trusts can only be created for your children or stepchildren. A grandparent, for example, can’t create this type of trust in their Will for their grandchildren. 
 
The following conditions must be met: 
at least one of the child’s parents must have died 
the trust must have been created by a parent’s Will, intestacy, or under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 
the trust must meet inheritance tax (IHT) conditions so that the child becomes absolutely entitled to the trust assets no later than their 18th birthday and, before then, the child benefits from any capital growth and income generated. 
 
While the child is under 18, money generated by the trust can be saved or used for the child’s maintenance, education or other benefits. Trustees can therefore use any income and capital directly for the child or by paying the child’s surviving parent or guardian. 
black and gold pen and Last Will and Testament
There are reports that challenges to historic Wills have increased by up to 400% this year. 
 
In some cases, challenges are being made several years after an estate has been settled. 
 
People are enquiring about the possibility of challenging the Wills of friends and family members, believing they have a claim to money or assets, although they weren’t declared at the time. 
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