Choosing your executor
When making your will, you will need to choose who you would like to carry out your instructions on your death. This person is called your executor, and you can appoint more than one person to this important role.
Anyone aged over 18 can be an executor. You can appoint up to four executors, but it is important to bear in mind that they will need to act jointly, so you might find two executors to be sufficient.
As there can be a considerable amount to do to administer an estate, many people find that it is a great help at a difficult time to be able to call on specialist professional help in carrying out the responsibilities of an executor.
People often choose one family member and one professional adviser, such as a partner in their accountancy firm. The benefit of choosing a professional executor is not only the wide range of technical skills and experience they offer, but also the continuity they provide. In addition, they operate impartially from the beneficiaries of the Estate.
The qualities of a good executor
You will need to feel confident that whoever you choose will follow the instructions set out in your will and any letter of wishes. They will need to act honestly and conscientiously. If you are thinking of asking a family member to act, it is a good idea to get their agreement before naming them in your will, as if they say no, you would need to change your will.
If you choose your husband or wife, they may find it too much of a burden to act as sole executor at a time when they are dealing with grief and loss, so you may want to appoint another executor to act alongside them.
You may also want to think about appointing someone who is likely to outlive you.
Choosing a professional adviser such as your accountant makes a lot of sense. They are experienced in administering estates and understand the responsibilities of an executor and can deal with all the financial, tax, legal and property issues involved. In addition to acting as executors, they can also act for executors helping to deal with financial, technical and administrative issues that arise.
When you’ve made your choice
It is important to bear in mind that you can leave something to your executor in your will, but if you do, they cannot attest to your will. Your will must be appropriately attested in order for it to be valid.
You should ensure that you add the full names and addresses of your executor to your will; this ensures that they are notified quickly and can begin to administer your estate.
If your chosen executors do not want to act when the time comes, they can appoint HW Fisher or another professional to act on their behalf.