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Choosing the executors of your Will can be really tricky. Who should you pick if you don’t have a partner or spouse? Or perhaps you want to choose your kids but they don’t get on and you’re worried they’ll never be able to agree on anything. Choosing the wrong executor can lead to all kinds of problems so let’s look at how you can go about picking the right person or people for your situation.
What is an executor?
An executor is the person responsible for making sure your wishes in your Will are carried out as smoothly and quickly as possible.
What does an executor do?
Executors can have a lot to do after you pass away. Often they need to organise the funeral, apply for Probate (this is where they apply to court for the big thumbs up that they are allowed to handle the estate), locate beneficiaries, collect and sell assets, pay expenses, the list goes on! As you can imagine, this can be hard yakka.
How many executors do you need?
This is totally up to you. Often people have one person as their executor, perhaps their partner or spouse, and often people will have more than one, like if they have a couple of children then they might name both children as their executors. Sometimes people might like to have a loved one as one executor and a trusted friend or advisor like a lawyer or accountant as the other executor. You can also have an organisation as an executor, like the Public Trust.
So….how do you pick the right executors?
The first question to ask yourself is “who do I trust the most to carry out my wishes when I die and make good decisions?” The first person you think of will be a great place start.
If you think of more than one person then you can consider having two or more executors. Just remember, your executors will need to make unanimous decisions about your estate, so before you decide to have more than one, think about how they get on with one another and whether they have a history of getting into arguments. It’s not nice to think about but sometimes the anticipation of getting an inheritance can be a lot for people to take in and can cause tension where there hasn’t been any before. If you’re worried about this, it is probably best you don’t have both of these people as your executors. Perhaps just choose one of them instead.
You might also think of a person who you’d like to be your executor, but you’re worried that they might not have quite the right skills to be an executor. In this case, you might like to ask a trusted friend or advisor who you know has the right skills and experience to be a second executor.
You should also think about who you’d like to be a backup executor in the situation where your chosen executor isn’t around to do the job, and this should be included in your Will.
Disclaimer: The information on this page is general information only and must not be relied on as legal advice. Legal Beagle is not a law firm or a substitute for a law firm. We are unable to provide any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defences, options, selection of legal documents or strategies.
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