Choosing an Executor of your Will can be a difficult decision to make. The Executor is the person (or several people) you allocate in your Will to take care of all your personal, financial and legal affairs after you pass away. Being an Executor is a big responsibility, that’s why it’s important to appoint someone you trust who is also capable of dealing with complex matters.
If you’re unsure about who to choose, read on to understand exactly what the role of an Executor involves and what your options are:
What’s the Role of an Executor?
Your Executor ensures all of the instructions in your Will are carried out. They are responsible for administering your estate (any money, property or goods) and overseeing the distribution of your assets to your beneficiaries. In some cases, it can be a very complicated job and may take many months or even years to finalise. The amount of time it takes to manage your estate depends on various factors including:
- The size and nature of your assets
- If your Will is contested in court by someone
- Your beneficiaries challenge what’s in the Will
The three main tasks your Executor needs to organise include:
- Applying for Probate (the Order made by the Court that allows them to act in accordance to the Will and ensures it’s valid).
- Selling any assets (if instructed to do so in the Will) as well as deciding on the time to sell and what price to settle on to achieve the best outcome for the beneficiaries.
- Paying any debts and ensuring Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Income Tax are taken into account.
If something is not addressed properly by your Executor, they could be personally liable for any losses to beneficiaries and creditors. To avoid this, we recommend they seek professional legal advice throughout the process so they know their rights.
Can a Family Member or Friend be the Executor of my Will?
Anyone over the age of 18 can be appointed as the Executor of your Will, and this includes friends and family members. Often people appoint their spouse or if they’re older, they may choose their adult children to take care of their estate. If you are going to choose a friend or family member, here are some things you might want to consider first:
- Will they have the time to manage your estate? If your family member has other commitments such as working, raising kids or if they living overseas, managing your estate can be a time consuming and stressful job.
- Will choosing your Executor cause family politics? Sometimes siblings and other family members don’t always see eye-to-eye and the responsibility can put a strain on family relationships.
- Is organising your affairs going to cause emotional stress? Most of the time family members need time to grieve, and taking on the responsibility of being an Executor can be overwhelming.
Regardless of who you choose to be your Executor, you need to make sure you consult them before drawing up your Will, so they can understand what’s expected of them.
Are there Other Options?
If you do not want to burden your family or friends with managing your estate after you’re gone, you can appoint a legal professional. Appointing a professional estates & probate lawyer as the executor of your Will has significant advantages which include:
- Relieving your family or friends of any time consuming responsibilities while managing your estate
- Giving your beneficiaries reliable, efficient and prompt services
- Mediating any disputes which arise between family members
- Defending your estate from any legal attack
At Le Brun & Associates, we understand that preparing a will can be a difficult process, that’s why we provide a free 30 minute consultation to discuss your options. If you need advice or more information on Wills & Estates and appointing an Executor contact us today.