Choosing an Executor

One of the most important things you have to consider when making a Will is who you would like to act as your executor. You need to be comfortable that the nominated executor will undertake the tasks necessary to obtain a Grant of Probate, bring in the assets, pay the debts, attend to any other matters which may be required, and attend to the distribution of the estate in accordance with the

If your family circumstances are relatively uncomplicated it may be appropriate to appoint your spouse or an adult child as executor with an alternate person able to act in the event the appointed executor is not.

In a blended family situation, it may be prudent to appoint two executors with one representing each side of the blended family.

As a general rule, choosing one of your beneficiaries will have the added advantage of that person being motivated to attend to the administration of the estate.

In some circumstances, a non-beneficiary executor is appropriate where the beneficiaries are minor children or where it is expected that the beneficiaries may not be able to work together.

If there is nobody amongst your family and close friends who are able to act in the role of executor, there are public trustees and trustee companies who can perform these duties.

Once you have decided on who to appoint as your executor you need to consider whether or not the executor should be given a commission or a legacy to compensate for the work they will have to do. This is not usual in circumstances where a beneficiary has been appointed executor but should be considered if a non-beneficiary is going to be appointed.

Whilst there is no legislative limit to how many executors can be appointed, some states do restrict the number that can make a formal application for Probate to four. In practice, four executors create additional work and incur additional costs and can lead to delay in having the estate administration attended to.

In practice, it is preferable to have one or possibly two executors with an alternate able to act if necessary.