Choosing an Executor

by Sydney Brown on Jun 14, 2019

It is important to appoint an Executor or several Executors to deal with the administration of your estate after your death when drafting your Will. Anyone can be an Executor provided they are over the age of 18 and have mental capacity. You may choose a lay person such as a family member, friend or neighbour or alternatively a professional such as a solicitor or accountant, however, you should be aware that a professional will charge for their services. It is sensible to have at least two Executors or alternatively, you may wish to appoint one Executor and provide for a replacement should your first choice be unable to act or predecease you.

The role of Executor is cumbersome and involves collecting all the assets of the deceased, administering them and distributing them in accordance with your Will. Your chosen Executor/s will be responsible for all the practicalities following your death such as arranging the funeral/disposal of your body, registering your death, securing your property /valuables you own and sifting through paperwork in search of details of your assets/liabilities. The ideal Executor should be confident dealing with paperwork; they must identify where your assets are held (whether in banks, building societies, investment companies, shareholdings etc), and then contact these institutions to obtain valuations. Executors will also have to complete the relevant forms to obtain probate, swear the Oath and pay any inheritance tax due on your estate. Another duty of the Executor is to draw up estate accounts prior to distributing the estate to the residuary beneficiaries.

You should trust your Executor implicitly. Where you appoint more than one Executor, it is sensible to ensure the chosen individuals trust each other and have the ability to cooperate. Problems can inevitably arise where Executors fail to carry out their duties or quarrel amongst themselves or with the beneficiaries. This can result in delay or in some cases expensive court intervention.