If you were to pass away today, who would take care of your legal and financial affairs? If you have a Will, you can appoint a person of your choosing to take on this important role.
What is an executor?
An executor is the person or people appointed by way of a Will to look after a deceased person’s estate. They are also responsible for distributing the estate in accordance with the deceased person’s wishes.
Roles and duties of your executor
Executor’s tasks include:
- determining funeral arrangements;
- applying for probate;
- paying any outstanding debts of the estate;
- determining estate assets;
- determining whether to sell or distribute assets held by the estate;
- arranging distribution of the estate to beneficiaries named in the Will; and
- in the event a challenge is made on the Will, defending or settling the claim.
Whilst your executor is responsible for looking after the estate, this does not mean that they must tackle each and every task themselves. Executors regularly engage lawyers and accountants to assist them with taxation and administration matters.
Choosing your executor
The role of executor is an important one and should not be entered into lightly. When you are choosing your executor consider:
- age – you should generally pick an executor who is younger than you to administer your estate. Your executor must also be over the age of 18
- relationship – your executor can be a family member, friend or even your neighbor but you should ensure that they understand your wishes regarding funeral arrangements, disposal of your personal items and any other specific instructions you may have.
- financial and organisational skills – is your proposed executor able to keep things on track? If there are potential beneficiaries under the age of 18, is your executor willing to look after the estate until they become adults?
- location – if your executor lives far away or overseas, there may be considerable delays in administering your estate
- Alternatives – if your proposed executor could not act, is there someone that could act in their place?
Appointing your executor:
To appoint an executor you must have a Will in place. Choosing the right executor for your estate can give you comfort that your affairs will be looked after effectively when you pass away, however it is only one piece of the estate planning puzzle. Contact the Kells estate planning team to ensure you have proper arrangements in place for your estate.