When it comes to making a Will, one of the key considerations is choosing a person or a few people to act as your Executor/s.
Executor may not be a term that you are familiar with so this article is to help you understand what an Executor is, and what the Executor of a Will will need to do.
Firstly, it’s important to know that an appointment of an Executor can only be made in a Will.
Secondly, your Will only comes into effect after your death. So whilst you are alive, you can update your Will and change who you want to be the Executor of your Will.
Thirdly, immediately after your death, you will still have important things in your name such as bank accounts, credit cards, investments, property or car. Also utility accounts such as gas, water, electric and telephone. Then there’s your online accounts such as email and Facebook, and memberships to organisations like the Co-op or a subscription for your favourite magazine.
Once you've died all of these things still remain in your name so you'll need someone you trust to deal with them on your behalf. This is essentially the role of your Executor.
It is an incredibly important position because your Executor is also responsible for carrying out the terms of your Will as well as winding up your estate.
Typically the things an Executor will need to do would include:
- Registering your death
- Arranging your funeral and for it to be paid
- Notifying organisations that you've died
- Obtaining valuations of assets and liabilities in your estate
- Obtaining details of the income you received
- Liaising with beneficiaries named in your Will
- Preparing an Inheritance Tax Return for HM Revenue & Customs
- Paying Inheritance Tax from your estate (if applicable)
- Applying for a Grant of Probate (if required)
- Selling/transferring assets
- Paying off any liabilities you owed
- Paying any tax on income received after your death
- Keeping accurate accounts of every penny received and paid
- Distributing your estate in accordance with the terms of your Will.
As you can see there is quite a lot involved and an average estate administration takes about 9 months to complete.
You should consider your choice of Executor very carefully because they should not only be willing to carry out the role of Executor but be capable as well.
It’s well worth knowing that that if you choose someone you trust as your Executor who ultimately decides they don't want to do all this work, then the Executor can choose to instruct a legal professional to do it instead. The cost of this work is normally payable from your estate and not from their own pocket.
Alternatively, if you feel that there is no one suitable then you do have the option appointing a professional Executor in your Will to undertake all this work and responsibility after you’re gone. There would be a legal cost to this but it might help alleviate some the pressure on family members at an already very difficult time.
We can discuss who you would like to be your Executor as part of our fixed fee Will Writing service.