When you are appointed to act as an executor of an estate you do not have to accept the role. If you do an executorship is a lifetime appointment which dies with you. If for any reason you decide not to take on your role as executor it is vitally important that you are not seen to intermeddle in the administration of an estate.
A person who performs duties which the personal representative of an estate would carry out holds themselves out as being a personal representative and is deemed to have accepted the role. The individual who intermeddles is liable for their acts and decisions made.
Legislation sets out what constitutes intermeddling. A person is considered to have intermeddled if they:-
obtain, receive or hold the deceased's assets without full consideration, or
releases any debt or liability due to the estate
This, is every day terms means encashing assets or paying bills!
It is not just major acts that can be considered as intermeddling. Smaller things can be too such as
selling or giving away assets
carrying on a business
demanding payment for debts
It is not considered to be intermeddling if you:-
pay outstanding medical fees
organise and paying for funerals
opening an executor's bank account
feeding the deceased's pets and children
urgently repairing property damage
Usually people do not take advice about accepting the role of executor in a will. They do not fully understand the expectations that are put upon their shoulders. If you are asked to be an executor you should really take professional advice about what this means for you before you fall into doing something you would prefer not to do!
If you do want a helpful chat about what is expected on an executor give us a call on 01622 843729.