Your executor or executors look after your affairs when you pass. They are responsible for ensuring the wishes you set out in your will are carried out. They can engage experts (e.g. Solicitors) to help fulfill their duties. Executors can benefit from your Will.
How many Executors should I appoint?
- You must appoint at least 1 executor.
- Appointing additional executors allows the executors to share duties and responsibilities.
- Having additional executors also safeguards against one or more executors being unable to fulfill their duties (e.g. due to injury/death).
- Practically speaking it is recommended you limit your appointments to 4 maximum. This is because the executors must act jointly (e.g. some forms must be signed by all executors, etc.) which can slow down the administration of the estate.
Who can be an Executor?
- An executor doesn't need any special skills, but you do want someone you trust will execute your wishes faithfully and who will find fair solutions to any disagreements.
- Generally it is family members who are appointed as executors and ideally the executors should be living in the country to avoid any practical difficulties.
- If you appoint an executor who is under the age of 18 years at the date of your death, they will not be permitted to apply for the Grant of Probate. Their guardian or another person the court deems fit can apply for the Grant of Probate for the minor.
What are their duties?
- Taking charge of and protecting your assets - Getting property insurance, discharging property tax, etc.
- Funeral arrangements - You should inform your executor(s) and family of any specific wishes regarding burial and funeral arrangements ahead of time since the Will may not be read until after the funeral.
- Paying funeral expenses and discharging any debts of your estate.
- Obtaining the Grant of Probate from the High Court. This document gives the executor(s) authority to administer your estate.
- Notifying the beneficiaries named in your Will what gift or share of the estate they are to receive.