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Choosing an executor – how do you decide?

When preparing your will, one of the most important things to consider is who will be the person that carries out your wishes and administers your estate when you die? This person is called an executor, and it is crucial to choose the right person (or people) to carry out this important role. Here we discuss how to decide who would be the best executor or executors for you and some of the things you should consider when making your decision.

Responsibilities of an executor

Before choosing of executor, it is important to understand fully what the role involves. The executors are the people you have chosen to carry out your instructions and administer your estate when you die. Some of their duties include:

  • Applying for Confirmation to administer the estate
  • Collecting the assets of your estate and completing relevant paperwork
  • Getting in touch with the beneficiaries of your estate
  • Ensuring any liabilities are paid. Common costs after your death could include funeral expenses, Inheritance Tax, Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax

Who can be an executor?

There are very few restrictions on who you can choose as your executors. As long as your choice is over 18, they can be an executor. The one important restriction is that your executor cannot also be a witness to your will.

Choosing your executor

It is common to have at least two executors, but you cannot appoint more than four. Having multiple executors can be helpful as it takes the pressure off of one individual. It also provides some protection should one of your chosen executors die or be unable to fulfil the role.

Choosing family and friends as an executor

Family members or friends can make a good executor because they are people you know personally and are usually the people you trust the most. Close family members and friends are likely to want to ensure that your wishes are carried out properly. They act with your wishes and best interest at heart. If there is a family member you trust, are organised, and can handle this responsibility, they would make a good candidate.

A word of caution when selecting a family member or friend as an executor; these are the people who will be feeling the impact of your death the most; therefore, it is important to consider whether you think they would be able to handle the level of responsibility involved at such an emotionally charged time.

Make sure to discuss with your selected family or friend if they would be happy to act as an executor and that they know exactly what the role will involve.

Choosing a professional as an executor

Even if you think dealing with your estate will be straightforward, it can be a good idea to select a professional such as a solicitor, a bank or an accountant as your executor. They can bring their professional knowledge and experience to the role, which can be particularly useful in dealing with the legal or tax implications arising from your estate. The more complicated your estate is, the stronger the argument is to have a professional as an executor.

Many people decide to select a family member or a friend and a professional as their executor. The benefit of doing this is that you will have the knowledge and experience of a professional coupled with a good friend or family member's trust to ensure that your estate is administered properly and according to your wishes. It will also ease the burden on your loved ones after you have died.

What happens if I do not choose an executor?

If you do not appoint an executor, the court will appoint one after your death. This will also happen if all of your executors have died or are otherwise unable to undertake the role.

Contact our Wills & Executry Solicitors, Stirling and Tillicoultry

At watersrule solicitors, our team of private client lawyers can guide you through the process of creating a will, including discussing with you who to select as your executors. Contact our solicitors today on 01786 235 235 or complete our online enquiry form.

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Please note that watersrule solicitors ARE NOT registered to provide Legal Aid or other types of Legal Financial Assistance.

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“They were very thorough in their preparation, very realistic in their goals, worked to resolve issues and kept me very well informed.”

Michael, Tillicoultry