As you may be aware, the importance of appointing the right personal representatives of an estate reign high in order for wishes contained in the deceased’s Will to be fulfilled as smoothly as possible.
However, merely granting someone as your personal representative should not be a tick-box exercise, but one of careful consideration. It is imperative that the personal representatives fully understand their obligations and the scope of exactly what their position entails.
In the recent Harris v Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs case we saw the personal representative being held personally liable for the Inheritance Tax (IHT) payable on the estate. Mr Harris, the appointed executor for the estate of the late Helena Norma McDonald, distributed a substantial proportion of the estate to the deceased’s brother without first settling the IHT due. Instead he relied upon Ms McDonald’s brother to settle the IHT.
Unable to make contact with the beneficiary, Mr Harris was himself left saddled with the IHT. Claiming a misunderstanding of his obligations, and his expectation that the brother would be responsible for settling the £341, 279 IHT bill, proved to be an unworthy defence.
Selecting a personal representative is indeed a decision which should not be taken lightly. It is important that the executor fully understands their obligations before accepting the role. The Fry Group have acted as trusted executors for countless estates over the years with transparent communication and professionalism. If you would like to discuss IHT, personal representatives or find out more about the services offered by The Fry Group, then please do not hesitate to contact us.