The role of an Executor can be both time consuming and complex. As an administrator of the deceased’s estate, responsibility falls to the Executor(s) to manage and distribute the estate as set out in the deceased’s Will.
Being an Executor carries personal liability and an obligation to fulfil certain duties. It is extremely important that you are aware of what these duties will entail.
Executors are the people nominated by the Testator to carry out their wishes and to make decisions regarding their estate when they are gone.
It is the decision of the Testator to appoint Executors, but a few things should be considered first:
- Would the people you choose be willing to take the role when the time comes? Executors do have the option of opting out, in this situation your other named Executors would step in.
- Consider family or friends either the same age or younger as this lowers the risk of your Executors pre-deceasing you. If you do wish to name an Executor older than you it is a good idea to name reserves who are younger. By doing this you have a higher chance of someone you trust dealing with your affairs.
- Choose someone who you trust and have complete faith in. Remember whoever you choose will be dealing with your final wishes, so should be responsible.
The law states that an Executor should carry out his role “with due diligence”. Executors who act wrongly may have to compensate Beneficiaries. The law expects Executors to:
- Not to make a profit from their position unless authorised to do so
- Put the interests of the Beneficiaries first
- Account to the Beneficiaries for all the money which passes through their hands
- To act reasonably and prudently in relation to the estate
A breakdown of the process of the Executors is as follows:
- Locate the Testator’s Will
- Register the death of the deceased
- Arrange the funeral
- Open a representatives bank account
- Inform the relevant people – banks, local authorities, doctors etc
- Plan what debts will need paid
- Apply for a Grant of Probate
- Swear an Oath for the Grant of Probate
- Divide the Estate