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    Who should be my executors?

    When you make your will, you will need to consider who will deal with your estate and carry out your wishes after you’re gone.

    The people you choose to do this are called your ‘executors’.

    They are appointed in your will to take control of your assets and administer your estate according to your instructions.

    You need to think carefully about whom you want to appoint.

    If you don’t appoint any executors or if your appointed executors cannot accept the role, your various family members will be entitled to apply for a Grant of Probate which would allow them to administer your estate (there is legislation which sets out the order of entitlement). This can lead to disputes between your loved ones, so it best to consider this issue carefully and appoint suitable persons to act as your executors in your will.

    The role of an executor is one of great responsibility. It can also be an onerous job, so it is important to consider whether those whom you choose to appoint will be able to take on the role.

    How many?

    Most people appoint two individuals to act as their executors: this not only allows the burden of administering the estate to be shared, but also ensures greater security because the one executor’s actions will be checked by the other and vice versa.

    In some circumstances, there are legal requirements for two persons to be appointed to deal with your assets (for example, if your will creates a ‘trust’ over any real property you own at the time of your death then two ‘trustees’ are usually required by law in order to sell the property).

    It is therefore common for executors to also be appointed to act as the trustees of any trusts created by someone’s will.

    ‘Trusts’ exist where one or more persons hold property on behalf of and for the benefit of another or others. Those who hold the property are known as ‘trustees’. Trusts can be expressly created (in a will, for instance) or they can come into effect by operation of the law.

    For example, if you died without leaving a will and had only one living relative who was a child at the time, the law would require trustees to be appointed to hold the property on behalf of the child because minors (those under 18) cannot legally hold real property.

    Whom to choose

    If your estate is modest and uncomplicated, it may be appropriate to appoint close family members or friends to act as your executors; but if your estate is large and complicated, it may be more suitable to appoint professionals.

    At Hutton’s, we have all the experience required to administer estates, large and small, and are often appointed as executors in our clients’ wills.

    As well as handling the routine administration of smaller estates for many of our clients, we also deal with vast, complex estates, including those with assets in other countries, on a daily basis.

    In addition to acting as executors ourselves, we also act for executors, taking care of the often time-consuming and stressful tasks which flow from the death of a loved one, allowing our clients to get on with their own lives, comfortable in the knowledge that the administration of the estate is in safe hands.

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