Legal advice from Ian Sydenham, FDR Law Partner, Head of Wills and Probate, based at Palmyra Square, Warrington
Who should you appoint as executor of your will?
Q: I am about to visit a solicitor to draw up a Will and have been asked to name my executors. What does this mean and who do I choose?
A: Executors are the people responsible for winding up your affairs after your death. Executors have the important and difficult job of valuing your estate, calculating tax and paying debts. They are also responsible for distributing your estate in accordance with your Will.
You may appoint whoever you like as executors but it’s an important choice to get right. Anyone aged 18 or above can be an executor and you can select people named in your Will. In fact this is very common. Lots of people choose their spouse, family or friends as executors and also make them beneficiaries.
You may appoint a sole executor but it is better to have at least two and you can name up to four. You can also name replacements in case your first choices are not available.
Being an executor can be a time-consuming and demanding job. It’s not unusual for the process to take a year or more. Your executors may have to make decisions about selling property to maximise returns for beneficiaries and arrange payment of tax. They can also become personally liable for losses suffered by beneficiaries if things go wrong.
It is quite common to appoint a professional, like a solicitor or accountant as one executor. Although this involves payment of fees, it can have benefits because it means that someone with specialist knowledge will deal with your legal and tax issues, without burdening your family.