Firstly, let’s try to understand what is an Executor and what do they do?
An executor can be a person or an organisation that you appoint to be responsible for carrying out the wishes you have stated in your will. You must nominate at least one person or organisation as the Executor in your will.
The executor/executors are responsible for the entire administration of your estate until all assets have been distributed to your beneficiaries. Their role includes gathering and maintaining the deceased’s assets, and ensuring all the estate’s outstanding debts and taxes are paid.
The executor must distribute the deceased’s assets in the manner specified in their will.
There is no hard and fast rule about selecting the best person to be executor. It can be your husband/wife or partner, or it can be your child or children, or it can be any other person who can be trusted to manage the distribution of your assets.
Keep in mind that your Executor should be 18 years of age older. If they are under 18 years of age the Court will appoint the child’s guardian as the executor until the child reaches 18 years of age.
If you don’t know anyone, or in the advent that you want someone independent to be your Executor, you can appoint a solicitor, accountant or a person from a trustee company.
This List May Help in Selecting Your Executor
a) are they likely to outlive you?
b) do you trust them?
c) do they have a good relationship with your family?
d) will they be impartial if there is a dispute?
e) do they have some understanding of your assets structure and financial situation?
f) will they have time to fulfill the role properly?
g) If your asset structure is complex, do they have the expertise to administer complex financial affairs?
h) will they be prepared to deal with your assets confidently, and in the way that you want?
What is the Executor Likely to Have to Do?
• locating the original will;
• ensuring that appropriate funeral arrangements are in place;
• obtaining probate (this is the legal process required before most major assets can be distributed. Probate may not be required if the estate is small);
• preparing tax returns;
• locating all of the beneficiaries named in the will;
• collecting any debts or investment income;
• dealing with any legal claim against the estate;
• claiming life insurance;
• protecting and insuring any assets of the estate;
• resolve any disputes between beneficiaries;
• recording their actions as the executor;
• managing all the finances of the estate;
• selling assets, if required; and
• distributing the remainder on the estate etc.
Can the Executor Refuse the Role of Executor?
Any individual named in the will can turn down the responsibility (renounce the duty) if they are appointed as an executor.In this situation, you can request that the Public Trustee administer the estate instead. The Public Trustee charges a fee which can be provided as an estimate on request. Alternatively, A.L.F. Lawyers suggests you include a second Executor in the advent that your nominate one renounces the duty.
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