Choosing an Executor of a Will: What to consider

How do you choose who acts as Executor to your Will? We discuss things you might like to think about in this Will.

Have you ever thought about what happens with your Will after you die? Like, as in what actually happens?

Believe it or not, your stuff doesn’t just magically transfer over to whoever you’ve named in your Will – shocking, I know. Someone needs to sort everything out – distribute your estate, pay any inheritance tax, make sure that your final wishes are carried out. That person is known as your Executor, and you get to choose who that is.

So in this blog, we’re going to take a look at the role of Executor of a Will. We’ll explain exactly what they are and what they do, and we’ll talk about things you might want to consider when choosing someone to act as Executor of your estate.

A family sat on a sofa, examining the contents of a Will. They are discussing who will be named Executor of a Will.

What is an Executor of a Will?

An Executor is the person who’s legally responsible for dealing with your estate once you’ve died. When they act as Executor they must follow the wishes outlined in your Will – it’s a legally binding document.

You can name multiple Executors if you’d like. Up to 4 people can act as Executors at any one time, and you can also name ‘substitutes’ to step in and act if one of your named Executors is unable to do so.

If you don’t name an Executor or your named Executor(s) are unable to act for you, the courts will appoint one.

What does an Executor of a Will need to do?

The Executor manages the deceased’s assets and makes sure their wishes are carried out.

An Executor’s responsibilities include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Making sure all assets are accounted for
  • Transferring assets to whoever’s been gifted them in the Will
  • Calculating and paying tax on the estate
  • Applying for a grant of probate
  • Ensuring any of the deceased’s debts are paid (from the estate)
A young couple in a kitchen looking some documents.

How should I choose my Executor?

You can name anyone you want to act as Executor of a Will as long as they:

  • Are over the age of 18
  • Have mental capacity

But you probably want to give it a bit more thought than that. Don’t just pick names out of a hat. Take the time to think about who’s the best person for the job. Here are a few things that you might want to consider when naming your Executor:

1. Trust

Do you trust them? Legally, they’re bound to follow the wishes expressed in your Will, but you still want to name an Executor who has your best interests at heart. Spouses, parents, close family members – these are likely to be the first person you consider as Executor, because you know that they should be willing to help.

2. Competency

It might sound harsh but it’s something you’ll want to consider. There’s a lot of work involved in being an Executor and it’s unfair to put that responsibility on someone who you think might struggle to get it done. If you’re considering naming someone as your Executor but they’re unorganised, forgetful and clumsy it might be best to consider someone else. Mr Bean might be hilarious but you don’t want him administering your estate.

A woman sat at a desk in an office poring over some documents and working on a laptop.

3. Availability / Willingness

Are they able to act as Executor? Do they have the time and facilities to do it? And, more importantly, would they be willing to act for you? There’s no rule saying you have to ask someone’s permission to name them as your Executor, but it’s definitely good practice to ask. It’s a lot to just drop on someone without asking them first.

4. Conflict resolution

If you think there’s a chance your Will might cause disputes amongst your beneficiaries, you might want to name an Executor with good mediation skills to avoid any unnecessary family conflict. You want to make the process go as smoothly as possible.

You know your circumstances better than anyone. You know who you can trust and who’s got your best interests at heart. Think about who you think would make a good Executor of a Will, reach out and explain what the role entails and ask if they’d be willing to act as yours.

If you have any questions about Executors, Wills or the administration of an estate in general just get in touch – we’re more than happy to help you understand the process! Book an initial consultation with us, or contact us using the details below!

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Declan Ramsden
Declan Ramsden

Declan is a Content Creator at Vital Documents! He studied English Literature for 4 years before joining the company. Outside of work, he enjoys listening to retro music and reading classic novels – particularly Charles Dickens!

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