When you make a Will, you need to choose an Executor. This is someone who is named in the Will and is responsible for dealing with the estate (i.e. everything you own including money, property and possessions).
Being an Executor can involve a lot of work and responsibility, so it is important to think carefully about who you choose.
It is also often a good idea to choose two Executors – these can be family or friends, or indeed anyone you trust to carry out the job. If you don’t have someone suitable then you can ask your solicitor or accountant to be the Executor of your Will.
The Executor must collect all assets and money due to the estate of the person who has died, pay any outstanding taxes and debts out of the estate, and then distribute the estate to the people who are named as beneficiaries in the Will.
Think carefully before choosing your Executor. Many people choose their spouse or civil partner or their children to be an Executor and there’s no rule against people named in your Will as beneficiaries being your Executors. However, not only does it need to be someone you implicitly trust, it should be someone who is able to take on this responsibility (you may not wish to burden your spouse with this job at what will already be a very upsetting and stressful time).
You can appoint Executors who are based overseas, however, consider whether they will be the best placed people to deal with your estate if they are still abroad when you die. Sorting out the estate of someone who has died is a considerable responsibility and can be very time-consuming, and when the Executor is not in the same country, this can often cause extra delays.
So think carefully when writing your Will and appointing your Executor(s) and ask yourself the following questions:
- Are they honest, dependable and trustworthy?
- Are they based in the UK and if not, is it going to be practical if they live far away?
- Are they good at keeping their own financial affairs in order?
- Are they in good health (you need to face the possibility that if someone is of a similar age to you, or do not enjoy the best of health, they may die before you)?
- Are they willing to take on the role?
If you would like any help for you and your family to be prepared for the future, please get in touch with our experts.