How do I manage someone’s utilities and administration after their death?

July 15, 2014 1:01 pm

Executors are responsible for the house, and any utility/administration charges, until the time it is sold or transferred to a beneficiary.

It is the duty of the executor to pay any outstanding charges, as well as any ongoing charges. Relevant information (such as final meter readings etc.) must also be passed to utility companies so that they are able to close any open accounts. Again, this is the duty of the executor.

Executors must also notify utility companies as to whether the account is to be closed as per the date of death, or whether it needs to remain open until the property is sold, as this obviously determines who is responsible for the property and all associated bills.

With regards to general administration, some organisations may want you to provide a copy of the Grant of Probate before releasing money or other assets, so make sure you have this to hand during all administrative duties. Some banks and building societies may offer to release funds for specific purposes, such as funeral expenses and probate registry fees.

If the deceased had a joint account, it is usual for any money in this to automatically pass to the other account holder, who can access it immediately. However, it is worth noting that the deceased’s share may still be liable to inheritance tax.

It is important that executors keep clear records of their activities, so that they can answer any future questions or challenges over their administration of the estate.