- Anyone over the age of 18 and of sound mind can act as an executor
- Executors are often beneficiaries of a will
- Many opt for a professional executor, although costs vary
An Executor is the person named in your will who, will be responsible for ensuring that your estate is organised and distributed in accordance with the document.
Any one over the age of 18 and of sound mind can be an Executor. Executors can also be beneficiaries. An Executor can be a witness of your will as long as neither they nor their spouse are also a beneficiary.
Many people choose their spouse, partner or adult children to be their executors, these being people who are familiar with your affairs. This of course isn’t always possible or even desirable, in which case, you may select a close friend or relative whom you think suitable. When appointing one from outside your immediate circle, a small monetary gift, contingent on their performing the role, is sometimes given.
Some choose a professional executor such as a Solicitor or Accountant etc. who would normally charge a fee. It is important to enquire as to their terms of engagement and fees, in advance of instructing them, to make sure they are acceptable to you.
The Executors you choose don’t have to be professionally qualified, if they need professional help with financial or legal aspects of the work, they can always seek this at the time.
There can be quite a lot of work involved in executing a will and it is worth asking potential Executors if they would be prepared to undertake the task. Consider discussing your estate’s complexity with them so that they can decide if they are prepared to act for you, when the time comes.
Tasks which fall to executors include (non-exhaustively):
- Obtaining proof of all your assets such as bank accounts, insurance policies and property ownership. If you own a property overseas, for instance, this may involve significant extra work.
- Obtaining valuations of all your personal assets such as heirlooms, jewellery, cars, caravans, boats and property etc.
- If you are a property owner in the UK and/or overseas, instructing agents to sell the property after having obtained several valuations (always a good idea to get more than one!) is required.
- Dealing with your financial affairs, such as outstanding debts, mortgages etc.
- Liaising with the HMRC to ensure correct calculation of Inheritance tax Liabilities (this can be particularly onerous in the case of larger estates).
These are just some aspects of the job, it is important to choose someone you can rely on to execute your will in an efficient and sensitive manner and most of all who you can trust.
You can have up to four Executors but it’s worth remembering that they must work jointly and the more you have, the more difficult it may be for them all to co-ordinate and agree. Many choose to have one or two executors, so as to minimise logistical challenges. You can appoint ‘reserve executors’ to act in the event that one or more of those you appoint cannot fulfil their role.
If you’d like help with any aspect of probate or will writing, contact Confidence Wills now on 0121 202 4714 or visit us at www.confidencewills.co.uk and book a free consultation.