Often when considering their wills clients ask us who they should appoint as executor.
A person making a will can appoint anyone or several people as executor as long as that person is over 18 and of sound mind. However, there are some things that need to be considered before appointing anyone.
What is the role of an executor?
The role of the executor is to collect any assets and then follow the terms of the will to distribute the estate. To do this they will have to apply for the permission of the court – known as probate. And then account to the beneficiaries for the administration of the estate.
Who can be appointed as executor?
There are two main options as to who to appoint as executor: an associate or family member or a professional executor
Firstly, appointing a non-professional executor. To be totally honest this is the cheapest option. A professional executor would usually charge for their services but a friend or family member is unlikely to do that although they can claim expenses from the estate.
It’s important to make sure the chosen executor is ready and able to take on this responsibility, so it is a good idea to speak to them first. Here are a few questions to consider:
- Firstly to be appointed they will need to attend the court in Jersey in person; are they able to do this?
- What if they’re also a beneficiary; could it lead to a conflict of interest?
- Would they have the skills and ability to locate and deal with the assets?
- Are the assets complex? Are there any issues they may encounter with the estate?
- If there’s a dispute, would the executor be put in a difficult position given their relationship with the beneficiaries or family members?
- There’s also the question of whether that person will be put under undue pressure if they are also in mourning.
Appointing a professional executor
Alternatively, a professional executor can be appointed such as a lawyer or accountant or a company, for example Viberts’ in-house executor company; Viberts Executors.
Viberts Executors is well versed in taking on this role and can charge on either on a time or fixed fee basis. We can deal with everything from applying for probate through to distribution.
What are the advantages of using a professional executor?
There are some clear advantages to using a professional executor. It can take stress away from friends and family in a difficult time, be truly independent, we’re experienced in the role and the various issues that can arise in estates and can be pragmatic, flexible and reasonable with the beneficiaries to look to reduce costs wherever possible.
Should you like to discuss whether to appoint a professional or non-professional executor please contact me anytime.