If you have asked someone to be your executor, do you and they know what the possible pitfalls are?
The Trustee Act 2000 says that as an executor, you are personally liable if you make a mistake (or do something deliberately wrong). The liability is unlimited. This liability last for 12 years after the death of the estate owner.
Insurance policies are available for executors. I found one for £560 that covers up to £1,000,000 for 18 months (NOT 12 years…). The cost of the policy can come out of the estate (if there is enough money in the estate).
According to ExecutorsInsurance.co.uk. the reasons you may face a claim against you are:
- “Neglecting to properly insure the assets of the estate if it suffers a claim
- Diminishing the estate through imprudent investment and inadequate book keeping
- Failure to pay the correct taxes on the estate
- Selling an asset without the agreement of all the executors involved with the estate
- Engaging in an action which constitutes a conflict of interest without declaring or disclosing your interest to all relevant parties
- Improperly delegating a decision to someone who has no legal authority over the estate
- Paying or distributing goods, chattels or assets to the wrong beneficiary and then failing to recover those assets or monies to the detriment of other beneficiaries
- Failing to identify a creditor who subsequently makes a claim after the estate has been distributed
- Missing an overseas bank account relating to the estate which subsequently comes to light and results in a tax fine after the estate has been distributed.”
The website Today’s Wills and Probate has a more in depth article about the possible liability an executor may face.
NB The information in this blog is not legal guidance.
If you have been asked to be someone’s executor, the Verat Executor app can help you hold conversations with the will writer. It is a place where you can store the information you may need when carrying out your role. If the will writer shares information about themselves before they die, it will make your life as an executor easier and less likely to make a mistake.