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Who should you appoint as the executor?

The executor must have an interest in the administration of the estate – the executor will be usually the beneficiary with the greatest interest in the estate.

It is usually appropriate to appoint the surviving spouse as executor where that person has the largest interest in the estate. It may not be appropriate to appoint the surviving spouse if that person is likely to come into conflict with the other major beneficiaries.

If the beneficiaries are not suitable to be appointed as executors and the estate is large enough you should consider appointing professional executors.

You should not appoint a minor as executor.

Should I get the approval of the executor before signing the will?

Executors are not bound to accept the office. Hence the proposed executor should be consulted and the executorial duties explained to them before the will is made.

Who is commonly be appointed as executor?

  • Spouse or partner
  • Children over 18
  • Siblings
  • Trusted family friends
  • Trusted professional advisors – lawyer and/or accountant 
  • Trustee company

What are the qualities you should be looking for in an executor?

  • A trustworthy person who has the skill set to deal with the role
  • A person who can engage with lawyers and other professionals whose help may be required in the administration of the estate
  • Younger than the testator and unlikely to die before the testator
  • Likely to be available and to have time to deal with the estate

How many executors to appoint?

A sole executor is preferred if the testator’s circumstances are simple. A substitute executor must be appointed if the executor predeceases the testator.

When to appoint more than one executor?

If substantial gifts are made to unrelated parties or children from an earlier relationship you should consider appointing a second executor.

It is not advisable to appoint more than 2 executors jointly.

You should consider the costs for appointing multiple executors, the benefits to be gained and if the persons appointed can work together.

Joint executors may be suitable if:

  • the estate is to be held in trust for minor beneficiaries or as a life interest
  • the testator is in a blended family.

You should appoint a joint executor if

  • you have give a gift to a beneficiary subject to a condition
  • the proposed executor is appointed to be a guardian for your minor children.

How much do executors charge?

Family members and close friends will carry out the role for free.  Third parties such as trustee companies and lawyers, will charge a fee which will come out of your estate. These fees can be calculated in different ways, and you should enquire how your intended executor will charge before appointing them.

For advice about your specific circumstances please call 0421 145 637.

What are the duties of the executor?

Fixed fee Will for a single person