How you should choose an executor for your Will

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How you should choose an executor for your Will

If you are in the process of writing a will then you might be wondering about how to choose an executor.

What does an executor do?

Your executor is the person who makes sure that your wishes, as set out in your will are carried out and consequently it’s an important position.

Very few estates are straightforward and so someone needs to be appointed who can handle all of the administrative tasks that come with carrying out the job.

Your executor will need to gather together all of the assets of the estate, pay off any debts and then distribute what is left.

Often the executor will need to make difficult decisions like when and how to sell a property or what point to sell shares and they will have the job of deciding on whether to realise cash quickly or wait to try and get more money.

Once the estate is assessed then they will be required to make sure that the right amount of inheritance tax, capital gains tax and even income tax is paid.

Who can be an executor of a will?

Legally, anyone over the age of 18 can be an executor of a will.

And, contrary to popular belief there aren’t any rules against an executor also being a beneficiary.

Consequently, many people choose their partner or children as executors but they are still able to benefit from the will.

Who should you choose?

This is a balancing act between choosing someone who has the legal training and experience to complete all of the duties and making sure that it is cost-effective.

But the most important thing is that the person you choose is someone you trust.

As we have said it is perfectly possible to appoint your partner or children or another family member as executor and this will have the benefit of being free but of course they probably won’t have experience of the task.

The obvious place to turn is to your family solicitor or accountant and this is a good choice as they will have the training and experience needed but of course, this will cost money and people often complain of the time it takes to administer an estate.

It’s also a good idea to make sure that you appoint more than one executor in case your appointee dies or is unable to carry out their duties.

 

What if you don’t have anyone who can be an executor

There are professional probate services that will help in appointing executors and although this is naturally a paid-for service.

As a last resort, there’s a government official called the Public Trustee who will be your executor if there’s really nobody else who can do it and this can be used where someone is left everything in the will and the person can’t act as an executor due to illness or disability.

Choose wisely and review

Our advice is to think long and hard about who you want to act as your executor.

Make sure you have someone who has the ability and the professionalism to carry out your wishes but also review your choice regularly to make sure that they are still able to act. Smart Will offer this service and it can be easily added to your Will whilst using the application.

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