An Executor's role is to ascertain the assets you own, account to HMRC in respect of inheritance tax, income tax and capital gains tax, obtain a Grant of Probate, transfer or sell any property and then distribute your estate in accordance with your Will. Therefore it is important that you chose the right person.
Who can you choose to be an Executor?
It is widely recommended to have at least two Executors in case one should be unable or unwilling to act at the time of your death. You can also appoint a substitute Executor who would only take over in the event your first choice cannot act.
You can have up to four Executors, although they will all need to work collaboratively and must agree on all decisions, so it is important to choose people who work well together. It is also important to ask someone's permission before you appoint them as they will be personally liable if something should go wrong.
All Executors must be over the age of 18 years old.
Can I appoint a beneficiary as my Executor?
It is a common misconception that you cannot appoint one of your beneficiaries, such as a spouse or child, as your Executor. It is very common to appoint a family member to keep them involved. Sometimes it is advisable to appoint another person to act alongside them if they are financially involved to ensure that your wishes are carried out. For this reason many people chose to appoint a professional Executor, such as a solicitor, as they are not financially or emotionally connected.
Whilst a professional Executor, such as a solicitor or accountant, will often charge for their work they will bring their professional knowledge on all legal, tax and financial implications.
Appointing a professional Executor also helps to take the burden off loved ones at a difficult time when they will be grieving and may not be in the best state to deal with the paperwork involved.
If there is no one to be your Executor
In rare cases where there is no appropriate Executor available, for example where everything is left to a child, or to an adult with disabilities meaning they are not able to deal with financial affairs, a government official called a Public Trustee can be named as your Executor.
Gepp Solicitors have been in practice for 250 years and have vast experience in helping clients with their Estates and Wills. If you would like more information, or wish to discuss your current Will, please call the Private Client team on 01245 228127.
This article is not to be substituted for legal advice.