Being chosen as an executor is a major responsibility and depending on the complexity of issues that arise can be difficult at what is usually a sad and stressful time. The main responsibility of an Executor is to ensure the terms of the Will are carried out as efficiently as possible.
It is not just about what is in the cash register at the end of the process.
Executor responsibilities include:
• Locating the original Will
• Inform all institutions where the deceased held assets of the death
• Obtain proper valuations of all assets held by the deceased as at the date of death
• Paying all debts of the deceased plus funeral expenses, other debts such as inheritance tax and keeping auditable accounts relating to the estate
• Distributing the assets in accordance with the terms of the Will.
The appointment of executors is therefore as important as deciding who your beneficiaries are going to be. You know it might sound or be obvious but there are occasions when the appointment has not been carefully thought through.
A basic question is ‘Does the person you intend to appoint have the right skills to perform the tasks?’ and if the answer is ‘Yes’ then the appointment is a good one.
It is advisable when making a Will to appoint more than one executor and for at least one of the executors to be younger than you, to minimise the chances of the executors pre-deceasing or losing capacity before or around the time of your death.
Of course, you can change your Will at any time provided you have the mental capacity to do so.
There has never been a more important time to make a Will and to keep it up to date.