Role of an Executor OR Administrator under a will (Jersey Law)
When a person is appointed to perform specific duties under a will he is called as an executor. When a person dies intestate or without a will the court will appoint a person to administer his estate and he is called as an administrator. Either an administrator or executor is appointed by will or by court; his role is always personal one although the roles and duties of both are identical.
As per Jersey law, an Executor is required for will of movable property or personal estate:
· cash in your bank accounts;
· shares (including shares in a share transfer property);
· units in trusts, cars, jewelry etc).
There is no need of an executor for will of immovable property or real estate:
· Land, freehold property, leases of over nine years.
This is so, because when someone dies, the will of immovable estate is simply registered in the Public Registry to take effect.
When a person dies with a will, and he has appointed an Executor as well then a grant of probate will be obtained. When a person dies intestate then a grant of letters of administration will be obtained.
Under the Probate (Jersey) Law 1998, an Executor must have to apply to the Royal Court for probate of the deceased's will. For this the requirements for executors are as under:
1. original will of the deceased;
2. the death certificate; and
3. the value of the estate as stamp duty will need to be paid on the value estate.
Stamp duty is calculated by taking the gross value of the estate less any liabilities which may be due e.g. outstanding care fees, medical bills, tax etc.
Similarly for an administrator to obtain order regarding letters of administration following are requirements:
1. an affidavit confirming that he is the principal heir of the deceased and as such is the person entitled to administer the estate;
2. the death certificate; and
3. the value of the estate as outlined above.
Once probate OR letters of administration has been obtained, it is the duty of an Executor/ Administrator to gather in the assets of the deceased; and pay all outstanding liabilities that may be due.
After completion of above, it is now the duty of the Executor to divide the assets of the estate according to the terms of the will whereas for an Administrator, in accordance with the provisions of the law.
As under Jersey law there is no provision for a small estates procedure a grant of probate or letters of administration will be required for any sums held by the deceased for jersey resident, including a personal allowance held by a care home or Co-op share account. There is one exception to this rule, where the assets of the deceased are held jointly and for the survivor with another individual. In the case, the assets will automatically pass to the surviving party (this is subject to certain provisions of Jersey law)
Under Jersey law important rule for the Executor is year and day rule. There are certain aspects of this rule which an Administrator should be mindful of. There are several features to this rule:
1. The period under which challenges can be brought against a will is a year and a day from the issue of the grant;
2. All legacies under the will should not be paid until a year and day after probate has been obtained as a will may be challenged during this time;
3. It is during the year and a day period that an Executor can apply to the court for directions in respect of the will e.g. if there is any ambiguity in the will;
4. Following the expiration of the year and a day, the Executor must distribute the estate in accordance with the will and give a good account of the estate to the beneficiaries.
Any individual who is not the Executor or Administrator of the estate and who has not obtained probate or letters of administration if takes possession of estate or deal with it, he or she is guilty of intermeddling that is an offence under the Law so shall be liable to a fine and/or imprisonment.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.