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What Expenses Can An Executor Claim?

Being named as an executor of a will carries a number of important responsibilities. Often, dealing with the responsibilities of estate administration can result in executors needing to spend money, and because their control over the estate is limited, they can end up out of pocket. Here, we explain what expenses an executor can claim back from the estate, and how to do so. 

An important aspect of estate planning is deciding who your executor(s) will be. This will be the person who manages your estate and carries out your final wishes after you die. Becoming an executor can often seem like a daunting prospect, but understanding the rules and procedures can put you in good stead when the time comes. 

One of the questions executors often ask is about expenses incurred when performing their duties. An executor should not be left out of pocket for administering the estate of the deceased. In this short guide, we explain the key tasks of an executor, why there may be certain costs associated with estate administration, and which expenses an executor can claim back from the estate after a death. 

If you have any questions we have not answered, our expert Wills and Probate solicitors are happy to talk to you regarding your query and provide the legal services you need. We can work with you to plan your estate, produce a will, or act as a professional executor. You can contact us by completing the enquiry form below or by calling 0151 666 9090

What is an executor of a will?

An executor is responsible for administering a person's estate after they die. This includes paying any taxes and outstanding debts owed, and distributing assets to the beneficiaries of the will. Normally, one or two people are named in the will, though you can appoint up to four executors if you wish. 

In most cases, family members and/or friends will be chosen to be executors. People may also appoint professional executors, like a solicitor. The role is vitally important, as there is often a lot of work involved, and administering the estate can be difficult during a time of grief, which is why it can be advantageous to use a professional executor. Whoever you choose to take on this role will need to be aware of their responsibilities and the potential expenses incurred by executors.

What are the tasks of an executor in estate administration?

The most common tasks of an executor include: 

  • Registering the death

  • Locating an original copy of the will

  • Arranging funeral arrangements 

  • Gaining access to property owned by the deceased

  • Notifying banks, government services and other financial institutions of the death

  • Paying outstanding utility bills and other debts

  • Valuing the estate

  • Managing financial affairs

  • Calculating and paying Inheritance Tax, if applicable

  • Applying for probate

  • Managing the estate assets

  • Preparing estate accounts

  • Distributing gifts to the beneficiaries

On the other hand, things an executor cannot do include:

  • Going against the terms of the will 

  • Breaching their fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries

  • Failing to act as an executor

  • Stealing money from the assets of the estate

  • Intentionally harming the estate

What expenses can an executor claim?

Some of the above tasks that are the responsibility of an executor involve paying certain fees. This means that executors may claim reasonable expenses from the value of the estate, in order to compensate them for these outgoings.  

One of the biggest expenses will be the funeral costs. It is possible to pay for funeral expenses directly from the deceased’s bank account, even if the account has been frozen. You can do this by providing the bank with a copy of the death certificate and the funeral account, and then asking them to pay it directly. 

>If there is not enough money in the deceased’s account, you are able to claim back any expense from the value of the estate, including the sale of any property. Other out-of-pocket expenses for which executors can claim include:

  • The cost of death certificates 

  • Professional fees, such as those of solicitors and surveyors 

  • Travel expenses

  • Probate Registry fees

  • Property maintenance fees during probate

  • House insurance costs 

  • Valuation fees and other estate agent fees

  • Postage costs

  • Other fees associated with selling a property, such as clearance costs 

There is no concrete list of expenses executors can claim for because each estate is unique. This means it is vitally important that executors keep all receipts and records of their expenses when managing the estate, so that they can produce an itemised record for the beneficiaries.

What expenses can’t an executor claim?

While it is true that executors do not have to pay for certain bills and fees with their own money, this does not extend to their time. Non-professional executors cannot charge for their time when administering a will. 

Executors are also unable to claim additional remuneration for any time they have to take off work in order to carry out their responsibilities. This is why agreeing to become an executor is so significant, and also why testators should always check with the proposed executor before they name them in their will, to make sure they will have the time they need to carry out their duties effectively.

How can Percy Hughes & Roberts help? 

At Percy Hughes & Roberts Solicitors, we have a team of dedicated wills and probate solicitors who are ready to provide the legal services you need, whether in planning your estate, acting as an executor or understanding how to administer an estate as a lay executor.

Understanding the expenses an executor can and cannot claim is vitally important when administering a will. No executor should be left out of pocket after a death, and noting down all expenses can help to ensure they are properly paid for from the estate's assets. 

Our probate solicitors have a wealth of experience in helping executors administer an estate after a death, and can help you deal with any potential legal issues along the way.  They can assist you in this complex area of law and ensure you have peace of mind when it comes to your loved one’s estate. 

If you would like to contact one of our expert wills and probate solicitors you can do so by calling 0151 666 9090 or by completing the “Get in touch” form on this site.

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