What is an executor’s expense?
What is an executor?
An executor can be a family member, friend or institution (e.g. solicitor or bank) that the testator has appointed in their Will to administer their estate upon their death. The executor has the legal authority to handle the deceased’s assets, apply for probate and distribute the estate to the beneficiaries named in the Will.
In the case where the deceased left no will, the law dictates who is entitled to become the “administrator” of the estate. The administrator is decided by the “Rules of Intestacy” these rules place the next of kin into an order of priority. The role of administrator will be taken by the closest next of kin that is willing to act. The administrator is the equivalent to an executor and has the same role and responsibilities to perform.
What is the role of an executor of an estate?
It is the executor’s job to ensure that the administration of the estate is undertaken according to the law whilst also following the wishes in the Will. The executor is tasked with the responsibility of identifying and protecting the estates assets, obtaining a grant of probate and distributing the assets to the beneficiaries.
What is an executor’s expense?
There are some unavoidable expenses that come along with the administration of the estate, though most of these expenses are small amounts, for example recorded delivery, valuations of assets and the probate application fee etc but they can add up.
An executor is allowed to claim back from the estate reasonable costs incurred during the administration them that they have paid out of their own pocket which by doing so has benefitted the estate and its beneficiaries.
There is not a set list of what is or isn’t an executor’s expense and this can leave some costs in a grey area of whether or not they are acceptable. It can sometimes be left up to the executors and beneficiaries to agree between themselves what the executor can be reimbursed for.
There are some costs involved in administrating an estate these can costs can include but are not limited to;
- Utilities to the property
- General maintenance for the property (for example a gardener to maintain the exterior appearance)
- Professional valuations for the deceased’s assets
- Professional clearing and cleaning costs for the property
- Unoccupied property insurance
It is also sometimes possible for an executor to claim their mileage expenses from the estate if they have had to travel great distances in order to perform their role. However this type of expense can be challenge by the beneficiaries.
When can an expense be rejected?
A beneficiary can query an executor’s expense claim if it appears that the expense was not for the benefit of the estate and its beneficiaries or if there is no evidence to prove the executor has actually paid the expense they are claiming for.
It is important that the executor keeps clear records of what payments they have made and keeps receipts and invoices which can be used as evidence in the estate accounts. Taking these steps is good practice in general and ensures that the executor is not left out of pocket by performing their role.
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