There have been a number of recent cases where Executors have been removed by the courts due to disputes between those appointed. In order to help avoid matters becoming contentious, this blog highlights some factors to consider when choosing an Executor.
An Executor is the person responsible for administering the deceased's estate. More than one Executor can be appointed and their job is to identify and value the deceased's assets, gather the estate and ensure the assets are distributed to the beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the deceased will. In order to assist with the administration, an Executor will often appoint a solicitor to act on their behalf to assist them with this process, but the Executor remains responsible for ensuring all matters are correctly dealt with. The decision of appointing an Executor is therefore an important one.
Given the responsibility of an Executor, the person you choose should be someone you trust such as a close family member or friend. Many individuals also choose to appoint a professional individual as their executor, such as a solicitor or trustee company. The professional body can either act alongside another Executor or act alone. A professional Executor such as a solicitor also brings independence and impartiality to the estate administration process.
Regardless of who you choose to act as your Executor, it is recommended that you appoint more than one or at least a substitute in the event that the first-named Executor is unable to act for whatever reason. You may also wish to consider appointing an odd number of Executors in the event of a dispute, to allow a majority decision. It is important however to consider whether you feel that the intended Executors are likely to be able to work well together, though as the process of removing an Executor can be a difficult, lengthy and costly process.