How to choose an executor to administer your estate when you die
When making your will you need to appoint at least one executor who will be responsible for the important task of dealing with your estate on your death. Deciding who to appoint is one of the most important decisions you will ever have to make so you need to consider your options carefully. Deborah Adams, Director of Private Client Department for Parnalls Solicitors in Launceston, explains what you need to think about.
‘Administering an estate can be a complex process. When choosing an executor, it is important to select someone you know well and who is prudent and financially trustworthy. You need to have confidence that anyone you appoint will be able to deal with your property and assets and will distribute your estate according to your wishes,’ says Deborah.
‘It is also important that you have confidence in the ability of your chosen executors to handle the significant legal responsibilities that come with the role, and that you ensure they are happy to take these on when the time comes.’
What will my executor be expected to do?
Your executor has the legal authority to administer your estate from the time of your death. They will be required to apply for a grant of probate and to comply with their legal responsibilities and administrative duties, including collecting in money and property, paying any debts and inheritance tax, distributing your assets to beneficiaries and preparing estate accounts. Your executor may also be required to act as a trustee if your will creates any trusts.
Can anyone be an executor?
Anyone can act as an executor, so long as they are at least 18 years old, not bankrupt and are mentally capable. There is no rule against appointing someone who is also named as a beneficiary in your will, although in these circumstances you may want to think about appointing another executor to act alongside them, such as a solicitor or other professional person, to ensure your other beneficiaries have confidence that everything is being handled as it should be.
How many executors are required?
You can select up to four executors if you wish, but in most cases the appointment of two executors is recommended to cover the possibility that one of them may die before the administration of your estate can be completed. There are also some circumstances where the appointment of two executors must be made, including where you intend to leave money or property to beneficiaries under the age of 18.
Who should I appoint?
If you are married, in a civil partnership, or in a long-term relationship, you may decide to appoint your spouse or partner as an executor perhaps along with another relative or family friend. If you are not currently in a long-term relationship, you may decide to appoint a relative or friend, and then ask a professional person to take up the position of your second executor.
Careful consideration should be given to who you appoint. You need to select people you know are honest, dependable and trustworthy. It is not a good idea, for example, to name a child as one of your executors if you know that they struggle to keep their own finances in order or if they have a prior conviction for fraud or theft.
You also need to think about the age and health of your proposed executors. If they are a similar age to you, or do not enjoy the best of health, you need to face the very real possibility that they may die before you. You also need to consider the practicalities of appointing someone who lives far away, particularly if they will need to make frequent visits to the area you lived in prior to your death in order to deal with your affairs effectively.
Finally, you need to ensure that whoever you choose to appoint is willing to take on the role. If you fail to do this, there is a possibility that your named executors may decline to act after you have died. In this case, one of your beneficiaries will usually have to apply to the court for permission to administer your estate which may not be what you or they would have hoped for.
To find out more about making an effective will, and how wisely appointing executors can help safeguard the administration of your estate, please contact Deborah Adams, on 01566 772375 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.
Valuing an estate for probate
Do I need a cohabitation agreement?
Have you had an accident involving a horse?
Planning, Construction & Development
Preparing to sell your Launceston property
The Need for Updating Wills
Debt recovery and how we can help
Claiming compensation for a serious road traffic accident
Residential Sale and Purchases
Information to gather for your probate solicitor
Accidents, Compensation & Personal Injury
What type of will do I need?
Had an Accident in Someone's Home?
Ten common debt recovery mistakes
How to choose an executor to administer your estate when you die
The ultimate personal injury and accident claim checklist
Putting your legal affairs in order
Your responsibilities when you have people working in your home
10 reasons to appoint a Personal Injury solicitor
The risks of DIY probate
Does your lawyer progress your accident claim efficiently and provide you with a personal and professional service? Can I change solicitors for my accident claim?
Why you should always use a solicitor to prepare your will
Five problems with a leasehold property
Making a will when you retire
Buying your first home with a small deposit
Site assembly for commercial development
Meeting your conveyancing solicitor, what you need to prepare
Landlords’ options for enforcing commercial tenants’ obligations
Untangling Overseas Assets
KATHERINE FLASHMAN KITSON CELEBRATING 25 YEARS AS A DIRECTOR OF PARNALLS
Do you know the difference between…
When to consider appointing a professional attorney
Should I get a cohabitation agreement?
The Right to Make Noise
Ill-health pension transfer not liable for IHT
Legal Time Limits - why so important?
Would you pay a premium for a south-facing garden?
Video-witnessed wills to be made legal
New Planning Relaxation Is Not the Whole Storey
How to minimise delays in obtaining Grant of Probate
Could you benefit from the Green Homes Grant?
A SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM: new electrical safety regulations for residential tenancies
Property of Cornish residents who die without a will goes to Prince Charles
What effect could the new changes to stamp duty have on property sales?
Staying safer in video meetings
Making Sure Your Great New Home Comes With Clean Air
Property Market Re-Opens in England
Coronavirus: Wills and Powers of Attorney FAQ
Medical Care Received Not Up to Scratch?
Accident or Injury Involving a Dog?
Social Distancing No Obstacle for Parnall's Mobile Document Signing Team
Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Commercial Property Legal FAQs
Rent Charge Suspensions: Protecting Your Interests
Been Asked to Sign an Employment Settlement Agreement? Seek Advice Urgently...
Services Update: Continuity of Legal Service Provision
Advising You in Uncertain Times
Could carelessness on social media land you in court?
Is an electronic signature on a commercial property document acceptable?
What happens when there is no health & care LPA in place
Social Media Training for Businesses
Gazundering, what it is and how to avoid it
Relief from forfeiture – what happens if the tenant forgets to pay the rent?
Not so safe at work - compensation for an accident at work
New organ donation law: giving you control
Running a business from home
Have nude photos of you or your teenager been posted online?
Landowners’ rights and the Electronic Communications Code
Building in your back garden
Christmas is a time for giving (and inheritance planning)
Buying the freehold of your leasehold house
Redeveloping an empty pub for commercial use
Why it takes time to obtain the Grant of Probate
Social Media: The unconscious privacy threat
Is your reputation being threatened?
Making a will after your spouse or partner has died
Interns celebrate completion of internship at solicitors
Selling your home in a flat market, some top tips
New Media and Communications Court list reflects surge in internet defamation claims by Laura Baglow
Has your personal information been shared without your permission?
Planning your escape to the country, what you need to consider – part 2
Government consultation on new national model for shared ownership
Choosing a partnership structure
Planning for what happens when you die by Deborah Adams
Changes to legislation could offer protection for tenants in the private rental sector
Move to the country - Part One
Will your septic tank still be legal in January?
The death knell for ‘kiss and tell’?
Selling your property at auction
Not looking so good - your guide to compensation for botched non-surgical cosmetic procedures
New threshold of seriousness in defamation proceedings
Legal considerations when building a granny annex
Choosing the right person for your power of attorney
Formal Interviews - Do you need legal representation?
Privacy rights and aerial images
Trustees’ duty to give information to beneficiaries
Taking your first commercial lease
Is your organisation protected from employee social media legal risk?
Have you been targeted by negative social media posts?
Farmers be alert when being inspected
Help for House Sellers?
Don’t let your digital assets end up in a digital grave
Development proposals and your local authority search
What can you do if your child is injured in a serious accident
NetRights welcomes new protection for social media users
SHOULD I GET A LAWYER FOR A SPEEDING OFFENCE?
Supreme Court recognises that social media is a “casual medium” in libel battle
Choosing the best conveyancer who is right for you
Making a will after a second or subsequent marriage
Option or promotion agreement – which is best for landowners?
Anonymous pub and restaurant online reviews leave a bad taste
Help to Buy – beware of some cracks in the structure
Understanding Lasting Powers of Attorney
Changes to Energy Performance Certificate for Landlords
Had a cycling accident? Your route to obtaining compensation
New year, new home: tips to sell your home in the New Year
Tax Planning for your inheritance
Hearing loss: when your employer may be liable
Buying a home for your retirement, five things you need to consider
Farmers plan to diversify after Brexit
Ministers press ahead with probate fee shake-up - reports BBC News
Botched dental treatment? You may be entitled to compensation
Why a Health and Welfare Power of Attorney is a good idea
Will the new charge on building developments in Cornwall affect you?
Energy Performance Certificates – Do They Matter?
HMRC Challenging Stamp Duty Land Tax Payments
Ben Mitchell qualifies as a solicitor
The potential implications of Brexit on employment law
Appointing a guardian for your children
Houses in multiple occupation – new rules from October 2018
New Agriculture Bill published
Will Brexit affect my pension?
Dreaming of a holiday home? Sort out the legals before putting your feet up
Lasting Power of Attorney by Deborah Adams
Settled status after Brexit by Alexis Hager
How overage agreements can boost profits from your land
Top tips for first-time buyers
How Could Brexit Affect My Farm?
Wills & Succession in Spain by Deborah Adams
Brexit – an international and local view by Alexis Hager, Litigation
Capital gains tax - important facts for non-residents of the UK
Buying a home: the importance of making sure the seller is entitled to sell
Changing a will after someone has died: it is possible and it could save you money
Sad passing of Battle of Britain pilot who served with Parnall family member
Considerations when buying a heritage property
Disciplinary proceedings at work: guide for employers
Employers should have a disciplinary process in place, but just following this may not be enough to avoid falling foul of the law and exposing yourself to the risk of an employment tribunal claim.