Isn’t it surprising to know that 59% of UK citizens did not have a will in 2015? It is even more surprising to learn that nearly 40% of the people above the age of 55 in the country, who are supposed to have a will by this point in life, did not have a will. Although it is possible to write your own Will, this is generally not advisable as there are various legal formalities that must be followed to ensure that the Will is valid. Without an expert’s help, there is a risk that you could make a mistake that could cause problems for your family and friends after your death.
Not having a will in place makes the deceased person’s estate subject to intestacy laws, where the distribution of the estate will be done by a court, regardless of the decedent’s wishes.
Who is an Executor?
A will is a person’s desires regarding the allocation of their hard earned or inherited assets to their chosen loved ones. But once the person is dead, how does he/she ensure that what they have written in their will is executed correctly? That is where the role of an executor comes into play.
While writing a will, you also need to appoint a person or an organisation that will be responsible for carrying out the wishes stated in your will. Till the time the assets have not been distributed to the beneficiaries, the executor is also responsible for administering your estate.
On your demise, the executor will also make sure that the appropriate funeral arrangements are made. After this, they need to locate the will, apply for probate, and identify all the assets and liabilities. Upon distribution of the deceased person’s assets, the executor should also meditate and resolve any disputes between beneficiaries.
Tip: If you have been wise enough to make a will, but don’t know who you should appoint as the executor, SCL Wills and Probate, leading solicitors in London, have provided a quick guide that will help you decide.
Who can be Appointed as an Executor?
According to UK laws, anybody who is strong headed can be an executor. The reason why we mentioned strong headed is that at a time when the family is grieving, the executor needs to should a big responsibility. It thus becomes necessary to make sure that the person whom you are appointing as your executor is willing to take on the role.
The executor can be chosen irrespective of their gender, age or relationship with you. However, when the role of the executor comes into play, the person appointed should be above 18 years of age. Till the time he/she turns 18, their guardian will be appointed the executor by the court.
Most family members and close friends (especially if they are a beneficiary) serve for free, but if you opt for a third party executor, it will cost your estate. Executor fees are set by each state and typically run anywhere from one to five percent, depending on the size of the estate.
When choosing an executor, most people turn to their best friend or close relative to take on the responsibility. However, make sure they have the capacity, knowledge and skills to administer complex financial and legal affairs related to your estate. And once you’ve made your choice, go over your financial details in your will with that person, and let him or her know where you keep all your important documents and financial information. This will make it easier on them after you’re gone.
In some situations, conflicts of interest arise when you appoint an executor, especially if the executor is also one of the beneficiaries of the estate. It is important to keep the possibility of conflict in mind when designating an executor.
If it is difficult to find a family member who will be just and wise enough to properly carry out your wishes, as expressed in your will. This is why it is advisable to hire the best solicitors with years of experience in wills and probate in London for this job.