One of the important decisions you need to make when considering your Will is who to choose as an executor. This will be the person, or people, who will administer your property and finances after you die, and carry out your wishes in line with your Will.
Up to four executors can act at a time, but they all have to act jointly so it might not be practical to appoint that many people. It’s a good idea, though, to choose at least two executors in case one of them dies before you do, or to appoint a reserve executor in case the person you have chosen is unable or unwilling to act. Whilst it’s a good idea to ask executors in advance whether they’d be willing to take on the role; it isn’t essential to tell them or have their agreement.
Here are some key considerations that you need to think about when choosing who to name as an executor:
• You do not need to name a solicitor or other professional person. If you choose family members or friends, and they find that they need professional help, they can choose who they want to work with at the time, and then pay for the services out of your estate. Your executors can choose to have as little or as much professional help as they need. Bear in mind that if you do go down the route of appointing a solicitor and you die many years later that solicitor may have died before you, or at least retired. This can cause major problems as anyone appointed has to ‘renounce their responsibility’ or be proven as deceased before anyone else can take over the role.
• It is common practice that spouses name each other as executors. It is a good idea to appoint at least one reserve executor as well – often that will be a child or children.
• Once you’ve made your choice of executor/s, let them know where you keep all your important documents, financial information and other relevant information such as funeral plans. We have a really helpful document that you can use to make everything easier for family members (click here to view)
• An executor can act as a witness when you sign your Will, as long as he/ she (or their spouse) isn’t also a beneficiary.
• Another consideration when choosing an executor is do they have the time? If it is a simple estate it might not be too time consuming, but if your affairs are complex then it can be a considerable amount of work.
• Although, as already mentioned, the people you choose do not have to be professionally qualified, it is a good idea if they are reliable, organised and if they have some financial acumen. Not essential but definitely useful!
If you require any more information on making a Will, help with Probate or any of our other services, then please contact us at A R K Lasting Powers & Wills. We would be happy to help and support you to make the important decisions you will need to make. Contact us on 01438 746977 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.