Being an executor is a big responsibility. It requires a lot of admin work and following some relatively arcane legal processes to get right. One way you can make life a little easier for yourself is to consider one of the special bank account for executors offered by most banks.
Because if a friend or family member has named you as the executor of their will it can be a major compliment. It likely means they believe you to be diligent and trustworthy.
Unfortunately, executing a will can also mean a lot of work. Here are the most important things to know about opening an executor bank account and how it might help you:
What Is An Executor?
An executor is one of the named parties in a will. Their job is to ensure the estate of the deceased person is protected, that the beneficiaries receive what they are entitled to, and that all Inheritance Tax and other fees are paid.
Sometimes a single executor is named in a will, but it’s common to name several. This is just in case something were to happen to the single executor, potentially invalidating the will.
What Is An Eecutor Bank Account?
The paying of Inheritance Tax and other expenses is one of the key parts of an executor’s role. These are normally paid from the deceased’s estate.
Another key responsibility is to sell any property or investments if the will stipulates it. The deceased’s estates may also be due payments by debtors that it may be the executor’s responsibility to collect.
In all of these cases and more, it’s useful to have a single bank account where money from the estate can be paid from and held. This is a special type of facility called an executor bank account.
Do I Need An Executor Account?
If you are the named executor of a will, you aren’t legally required to open a special bank account. However, there are certain advantages to doing so:
- Centralisation – having one central account to collect and then distribute funds from helps simplify an executor’s job.
- Separation – an executor bank account keeps your own finances separate from the finances of the deceased’s estate.
- Clarification – if there is any question as to how an executor is fulfilling their role or disagreement among the deceased’s family members, a single account helps makes things clear.
Some executors assume that they will be able to use one of the deceased’s bank accounts to handle and manage all of the estate’s funds.
Unfortunately though, any bank will normally freeze the accounts of a person who has died. They will require a person who is not the account holder to provide proof they are legally allowed access to the funds in the accounts before permitting it.
This proof will usually take the form of a Grant of Probate. This can take some time to acquire though and some of an executor’s responsibilities begin immediately. This means that, while an executor’s bank account is not a legal necessity, it is a useful thing to have.
How Do I Open An Executor Bank Account?
You need to have proof that you have been named to the role in a will in order to open an executor bank account. Different banks have individual requirements for this.
Some banks may require you to have a copy of the Grant of Probate or Representation (this is referred to as the Grant of Confirmation in Scotland) or Letters of Administration. Others may not but may limit the specific purposes you can use the account for until you do. For example, only using it to pay funeral costs.
To open an executor bank account you will usually need:
- Proof that you are the named executor
- Proof that you are 18 years of age (proof of ID)
- Proof of address
Which Banks Offer Executor Accounts In The UK?
The majority of major banks in the UK offer executor bank accounts. These include:
- Lloyds Bank
- Barclay’s Bank
- Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)
Do I Have To Open A Bank Account For The Estate?
As an executor, you don’t have to open a bank account for the estate of the person whose will you have been named in. Most will solicitors would probably recommend that you do though.
The benefits in terms of keeping your own financial affairs separate from those of the deceased’s and centralising everything in a way that can be readily understood by any concerned parties that ask are huge and undeniable.
As always, if you’re in any doubt, it’s always a good idea to consult expert legal advice about opening a bank account for executors or any other part of the role. Let us help you find just the right expert to talk with for free and without obligation.