View more on these topics

Jason Butler: Why advisers should pay attention to the executor process

Over the past few weeks, I have been helping my wife act as the executor of her late father’s estate. Despite a 25-year career as an adviser for some very wealthy people and being quite familiar with the tasks involved in dealing with the financial affairs of a deceased person, I have found this time to be quite onerous.

My father-in-law had me keep an eye on his financial affairs during his lifetime, which included periodical paper purges and tidy-ups on his behalf, but he still left a mountain of financial and legal documents that needed sorting through. I even found old premium bonds that no one, not even his wife, knew about.

Unless very small or qualifying for total exemption, most executors are required to report the deceased’s estate to HM Revenue & Customs using form IHT400. If you have not seen this before, or have not looked at it for some time, I would encourage you to download it from HMRC’s website. The basic form is 16 pages but it can easily run to double that with additional schedules.

Jason Butler: Advice firms should run triage arms for financial health checks

The guidance notes for IHT400 are 92 pages, which illustrates the potential complexity faced by executors. While many people will engage a solicitor or licensed probate adviser to handle the formalities of dealing with the estate, they will still need to provide detailed information on the deceased’s financial affairs.

As well as savings and investment account names and numbers, the executors need to know other things like gifting history, tax history, the form of crystallised pension benefits and any trusts created in the deceased’s lifetime.

In my experience, details of loans made by the deceased can be a very contentious issue. I remember a widow of a client desperately try to prove her late husband had lent a business associate £250,000, not gifted it as the business associate contended. The widow never got the £250,000 back. A loan agreement might have avoided the financial loss and anguish she suffered.

And let us not forget the most basic question that needs answering – the location of the original will. I recall the case of a wealthy individual dying without telling anyone where he had stored his will. It took many months to track it down before his estate could be dealt with.

Brett Davidson: Don’t be the ‘Jack of all trades’ adviser

One of the key benefits of working with a financial planning firm is the fact they get and keep people well-organised. Winding up an estate is so much easier and quicker if so.

But like insurance, families often only realise the value of having the assistance of a financial planner after someone dies.

IHT400 offers advisers a great opportunity to demonstrate their value to both existing and potential clients. Why not go over it with clients at your next review meeting? You might uncover information that could be very helpful to executors.

You could also raise the question of whether your client has agreed to act as an executor for relatives or friends. And, if so, whether they could gather all the necessary information to deal with the estate if the time comes.

If you want to reassure your clients you have got their back and also gather potential client introductions, IHT400 could be one of the best tools out there.

Jason Butler is an expert on financial wellbeing and head of financial education at Salary Finance. Find him Tweeting @jbthewealthman



Flat-rate pension tax relief ruled out by government

The government has effectively ruled out major changes to pension tax relief in the forthcoming Budget, arguing that there is “no clear consensus” for fundamental reform. In a report earlier this year, MPs on the Treasury committee suggested that current tax reliefs were not incentivising sufficient saving, and called on the government to consider whether […]


Compliance tip: Regulatory permissions for Section 32s

Section 32 buyout plans (commonly known as Section 32s) are individual pension plans subject to FCA regulation. They are designed to accept benefits transferred from an occupational pension scheme. Are permissions required? Section 32s are personal pensions, not occupational schemes, however they will often include safeguarded benefits, which will mean the firm is likely to […]


Advisers look to shift duties to paraplanners

Paraplanners are expected to take on more duties traditionally reserved for advisers with the industry in an “existential” phase that will see their role redefined, according to Canada Life research. The firm says 49 per cent of advice firms are currently employing paraplanners, with a further 30 per cent expecting to employ one in the […]

Royal Court of Justice High Court 480

FCA evidence throws Sipp provider court case into doubt

The FCA has asked if it can submit a new legal argument as Sipp provider Berkeley Burke continues its pivotal legal challenge to a Financial Ombudsman Service ruling against it. The FCA provided evidence in the case, acting as interested party to the judicial review, as it could inform the future appoach from regulators over what […]


Pinpoint school fees planning

Many parents value the standard of education offered by independent schools and will pay for that privilege. Planning for the fee payments can help. Even if the children do not go to an independent school, they could go to university. In this case, the children can end up with a huge outstanding student loan that […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


There is one comment at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Excellent reminder of the pains of being an executor!

    When I volunteered to be one for my uncle and then his wife several years ago, I thought it would be relatively straight-forward…..but finding details to claim transferable NRB, residence NRB, downsizing addition and identifying other gifts on finishing university, house deposit or getting married?!) or was that an indefinite loan, will potentially be even more so nowadays.

Leave a comment


Why register with Money Marketing ?

Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

Money Marketing Events
Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

Research and insight
Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

Have your say
Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

Register now

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm