Harmans Lawyers
27 May 2024

What does the role of “executor” in my Will entail?

All Articles & News, Residential Property

When preparing a Will, you will be asked to appoint one or more people to act as your executor. The executor’s role is to carry out the terms of your Will, and where possible, see to it that your wishes are complied with.

Your executor is responsible for taking care of your assets until they are distributed to the beneficiaries of the Will, as well as ensuring the debts of the estate are paid. If an application for probate is required, the executor will, with the assistance of your estate’s lawyer, be the one who makes the application to the High Court.

If your nominated executor (and/or any successors named in your Will) is unable or unwilling to act as your executor, then an administrator will be appointed. This is usually the person who has the greatest beneficial interest in your estate. So, it is important that you take into consideration your chosen executors’ age and circumstances when nominating them in your Will.

Often you will nominate a family member or friend to act as executor, however in some cases it might be wise to appoint a trusted professional advisor such as a lawyer or an accountant (either on their own, or jointly with your family member or friend). This is often useful where there is a blended family, or complicated family dynamics.

The role of an executor is one of great responsibility. Your executor must account to the beneficiaries of your estate with regards to the administration and distribution of your estate, deal with any disgruntled beneficiaries and family members, and deal with any claims against your estate.  Therefore it is important that a suitably responsible person is appointed to this role.

The friendly and experienced team at Harmans specialises in estate planning and can assist you in making a Will, or reviewing your existing Will to make sure not only that it still accurately represents your wishes, but that you have appointed the best people for the position of executor.