How do I choose an Executor?
Questions to be answered in this article
What is an Executor?
Executors are the people named in Wills who are tasked with administering the deceased’s estate. Executors have the task of ensuring that testamentary wishes of the person making the Will (the testator) are carried out on their death.
It is, therefore, very important that Executors are trustworthy, reliable and responsible.
What are the main duties of an Executor?
Getting your assets together and valuing them
Applying for a grant of probate
Ensuring that all expenses, debts and tax are paid from your estate
Distributing the remainder of your estate as described in your Will
Who can I appoint as an Executor?
You can appoint almost anyone you want to do this job, but for such an important role, you really need to get the choice right.
Can I appoint a professional?
Many organisations, including banks and solicitors, offer a professional Executorship service. They are experienced in the probate process so will take the administration of your estate from start to finish and provide your beneficiaries with a full set of accounts showing how and where the estate monies have come from.
What should I consider when choosing an Executor?
It is important to choose someone that you trust but also to consider other factors such as:
Anyone over 18 can be an Executor, but is your choice mature enough to cope with the responsibility? It could be that your choice of Executor might actually be too old to realistically see the terms of your Will through, especially if you are leaving trusts in your Will which may continue long after your death.
Knowledge and Experience
Does your choice of Executor have the necessary skills and knowledge to administer your estate? Legal and professional help is always available to Executors, but they can sometimes feel that they must deal with matters themselves. It is worth considering whether to appoint perhaps a trusted friend or family member together with a professional.
Administering someone’s estate can sometimes be very time consuming. Although it is not necessary to get someone’s agreement in advance of their appointment, it is worth considering whether they will realistically have the time to devote to the administration of the estate, or if it would be too much for them to take on.
It is possible for you to appoint one of the beneficiaries in your Will as your Executor, in fact it is not uncommon. If you are going to choose a family member it is important to consider what effect this may on other beneficiaries of family members and to consider the relationships between them. If there is likely to be some discourse or even dispute after your death then you may wish to consider appointing someone independent who can mediate or at least sit back from any dispute and administer the Will accordingly.
Why should I make a Will?
Appointing an Executor may not be the most important reason to make a Will but if you die without a Will (intestate) then the legal provision will dictate who will take on this role which may well be someone who you would have discounted as being unsuitable. You can read our 12 reasons for making a Will here.
Speak to a solicitor
If you need more information on making a Will or choosing an Executor, speak to our Wills team today.