In simple terms, an Executor of a Will is someone who is named in the Will as taking legal responsibility for administering and completing the instructions left in the Will by the deceased.
Sometimes, there is no Will already in place or the people named in the Will as Executors refuse to fulfil the responsibility. If this is the case, a court may appoint an administrator in their place.
With the majority of Wills, the Executor is usually an immediate family member. There are a few rules as to who can become an Executor, they need to be over 18 years old, can’t be an official witness to your will and need to be of sound mind.
Due to the demanding nature and immense pressure of distributing a Will (even with the wishes already outlined), it is commonplace to choose more than one Executor to share the responsibility. Up to 4 can act at a time, but as the saying goes, “too many cooks spoil the broth". With this in mind, the recommended amount is two executors.
The main responsibility of an Executor are to:
- Apply for Probate
- Work out any Inheritance Tax
- Pay any debt/ bills owed by the estate
- Valuing and distributing the estate (in accordance to the Will)
- Making any court appearances (if required)