Choosing an executor

Date: Aug 13, 2012

When it comes to making a will, there are plenty of important things to think about - but one key part of the process that should not be overlooked is choosing an executor.

The executor has an important role to play in representing your wishes, and this decision is not to be taken lightly.

Your executor should be someone who you trust - and if you prefer, you can appoint more than on executor or even enlist a professional executor for the job.

Appointing more than one executor could be an option well worth considering, as this role can be time consuming - although for practical purposes, you may wish to keep this number low, as all executors will be required to sign off on legal documents. The Law Society of New South Wales observes that in most cases, usually one or two executors is sufficient.

In some cases, it may be beneficial for the second executor to be the lawyer who helped to draw up the will in the first place. In many cases, this is a preferable option, as an experienced wills and estates lawyer can help your executor through the specific duties they must perform in the course of applying for a grant of probate and distributing your assets.

The executor is responsible for making sure that your assets and property are distributed fairly and in accordance with your will, as well as ensuring that any debts, taxes, funeral costs and administration expenses are paid.

Assets the executor may be responsible for managing and distributing include bank accounts, property, vehicles, shares and investments, insurance policies, jewellery and household appliances, among many others - and in some cases, these items may need to be valued.

If you are wondering about the role of your executor, or thinking about how to choose one, you may find it beneficial to seek out the guidance of an experienced wills and estates lawyer.

A lawyer can provide detailed information about an executor's responsibilities and rights and can offer valuable legal support to this individual through every stage of the process - from advising on potential tax liabilities to addressing the legal order in which debts must be repaid.

Your lawyer can also help you with all the required paperwork, from drawing up a legal will to assisting your executor with any claims that may be made over the administration of your wishes or distribution of your assets.