Do You Have to Appoint an Executor When You Make Your Will?

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You may realise how important it is to craft a will now that you are reaching your golden years, but you're still confused by some of the formalities. In particular, you may not understand why you need to have an executor, but why is this person necessary and what are the responsibilities?

Understanding the Duties

In legal terms, you will need to nominate one or more executors. They will then need to apply to the court before they can validate both their appointment and the content of the will. You may have noticed a reference to a grant of probate when you were reading all of that terminology, and this is the process.

Once they have done that, the executor has to go out and physically gather the assets together by talking with banks or other facilities and by determining how many debts you may have left to settle. Any assets that you do have need to be placed in trust until everything else is settled, but once this is done then the executor can get on with the task of distribution.

If you've taken steps to deal with your debts prior to your passing, then it may not take long for the executor to handle your deceased estate. However, if your affairs are complex after your passing and difficult to understand, then delays can occur and, in some cases, an individual may challenge the content of the will itself.

There may be additional complications, especially if some of the beneficiaries are minor or not capable of managing any inheritance that you may want to give them. In this case, the deceased estate may last until these minors come of age or until any managed inheritance is finally cleared.

Not For the Fainthearted

You will need to find somebody who can take on this job effectively and see it through to its completion. It may not be easy and will require the right type of personality, especially as this can be time-consuming and sometimes stressful. Perhaps for obvious reasons, it's not a good idea to appoint somebody who is older than you, but you also need to ensure that the executor is older than the age of 18.

Can the Lawyer Do It?

Many people choose to appoint a wills and estate lawyer as their executor, as this person will be used to many of the procedures involved and will be sure to handle the job very carefully. If you simply cannot think of anybody else to do this, then it's probably going to be your best course of action, as well.