Your Executors are the persons who ensure your Estate is wound up and distribute your assets in accordance with your Will.
If more than one Executor is appointed they must all sign the form applying for Probate (see our Probate page) although an Executor can renounce their position if they are unable or unwilling to act when the time comes.
- Register the death and obtain the death certificate
- Arrange the funeral
- Locate and identify the assets and any liabilities of the Estate
- Deal with the administration of the Estate according to law by collecting in these assets
- Determine the beneficiaries
- Apply to the Court for a Grant of Probate of the Will.
- Make sure all claims and debts are received, assessed and paid if substantiated
- Arrange for the distribution of the Estate in accordance with the terms of the will
- Prepare accounts
- Deal with taxation returns
- Defend litigation
- An Executor is entitled to have proper expenses paid out of the Estate, so that the task should not normally be a financial burden.
The task of dealing with the administration of an Estate can seem too much for some, especially when grieving and your Executors can, and in most cases would, appoint professional Executors, at the expense of the Estate to deal with its administration.
At Good Wills we offer advice and assistance. Your Executors can therefore decide how much of the work they would like to do themselves. They may just want us to assist them in completing the tax forms.
In order to eliminate this additional stress, you may appoint professional Executors in your Will. We are often appointed as professional Executors for our clients.
Your Executors are normally referred to as Trustees in your Will, unless you have made a specific appointment for a trust in your Will (see Trustee Duties below). Ideally Trustees should not be beneficiaries as this could be a conflict of interests, and we recommend that an independent Trustee is appointed (ideally a professional).
- Managing any Trust that might arise in your Will;
- Holding funds for children until the date specified in the Will or until a child’s 18th Birthday;
- Your Trustees are bound to act carefully and properly and in accordance with the various Trustee Acts and will need various powers in relation to these Trust Funds, such as the power to pay monies for maintenance or education of a beneficiary. These powers are contained in the Wills we produce (The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) provisions);
- A Trustee is entitled to have proper expenses paid out of the Estate, so that the task should not normally be a financial burden.
Your Trustees can appoint professional trustees, at the expense of the Estate, to deal with its administration. Our sister company, Good Wills Law Limited, runs Trusts and can be appointed as your Trustees to act in a professional capacity and you are free to appoint family members to act with them.
TRUSTEE DUTIES – when a Trust arises
Trustees have a fiduciary duty to look after assets held in the trust (the trust fund) for the beneficiaries. This is a position of trust and good faith. Trustees have a duty of loyalty, must be honest and have integrity, act in good faith and be transparent.
Some of the duties of a Trustee:
- Act in the best interests of the beneficiaries and act fairly between them;
- Not allow themselves to be put in a position where there is a conflict of interests;
- Take advice and reasonable care in making investments and keep these under regular review;
- To read and fully understand the trust instrument and comply with its terms;
- To keep accounts;
- To act unanimously;
To distribute to the correct beneficiaries at the correct time and in the correct amounts.