Have you decided to draft your will? If you feel like giving some of your assets to your closest friend who has been there for you through thick and thin or maybe to an organisation that you are passionate about, you may be intrigued to draft a will. When drafting a will, one key consideration is determining who shall be your executor(s). 

An executor of a will is someone who is responsible for administering the assets and carrying out the wishes of the deceased as per his or her will. An executor is not necessarily a lawyer because anyone who is over 21 years of age, not a bankrupt, and is of sound mind can become an executor. Let’s find out more about the roles of an executor and what to consider when appointing one.

Roles and responsibilities of an executor

An executor is responsible for realising the deceased final wishes as outlined in their will. And some of their roles may include to:

  • Understand the deceased instructions in the will
  • Make funeral arrangements for the deceased as instructed in the will
  • Obtain relevant documents to apply for a grant of probate
  • Apply for a grant of probate
  • Pay off the deceased’s debts 
  • Distribute the deceased’s assets as indicated in the will
  • Keep an account of the administration of the estate

To ensure that executors fulfil their duties fairly and honestly in carrying out the final wishes of the deceased, executors are considered fiduciaries. This means they are held to a certain standard by the law.

Choosing an executor

Typically, one executor is appointed along with backup executor(s) just in case the first executor passes away or refuses his or her appointment. As the testator, you may choose to appoint up to four executors. And these executors can be either lawyers and professionals or someone that you know personally who you trust will carry out your final wishes efficiently.

1) A professional executor

Assigning professionals to become your executors is a great option as they have the knowledge and expertise in the subject matter. They are also better able to deal with unexpected legal obstacles and know how to comply with their duties under the law. 

However, compared to a close friend or relative, a professional executor cannot be expected to know your personal preferences. Meaning to say, your will should be drafted with specificity to help your executors carry out your final wishes in greater detail.

2) Close relative

A close relative would better understand you and your wishes. And having chosen a close relative as your executor must have meant that you know how trustworthy and competent they are. However, while being chosen as an executor can be a great honour as a close relative, it can also be a burden. Being an executor means having to deal with various administrative responsibilities and possibly a court appearance. And if not prepared, the role as an executor can become stressful. 

3) Trusted family friend

If you are worried that a close relative would be too emotionally affected to complete their duties, you can also opt for a trusted family friend. A trusted family friend may be able to remain focused during a time of sadness. And this may lift up some of the burdens that would originally be placed on family members. This person should also be someone that you trust will be responsible and fair when carrying out your final wishes.

4) Combined option

Last but not least, you can also opt for a combination of professional and non-professionals as your executors. Professional executors are more experienced and knowledgeable in the subject matter while non-professionals are more familiar with the deceased and beneficiaries. When combining both options, the professional executor can have control over the more complex administrative duties while the non-professional executor can be consulted on more personal matters such as funeral preferences.

As mentioned above, you can appoint just about anyone to be your executor, as long as they are of sound mind, not a bankrupt, and are over the age of 21. But it is important to keep in mind that when appointing an executor, best avoid appointing any one of your beneficiaries so as to prevent any conflict of interests. Similar to drafting a will, choosing an executor also requires careful planning and strategising. To learn more about will writing and get the ideal probate solutions, visit Probate Enterprise.