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Murray Beith Murray is a leading Scottish private client law firm.

For over 170 years we have specialised in meeting the legal, financial and administrative needs of individuals and families, family trusts, charities and private companies.

Call us today on 0131 225 1200
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3 minutes reading time (520 words)

How to choose an executor

andrewYour executor is responsible for carrying out the instructions left in your Will to distribute your estate. Being an executor is no easy task, and failure to carry out the role properly can have serious legal consequences. Therefore, it is important to choose the right person (or people) to fulfil the role. In this post, we look at some of the things you should consider when deciding who will be your executor.

Duties of an executor

Executors play a critical role in ensuring your assets are distributed in line with the instructions you have left in your Will. Some of their duties include:

    • Collecting all of the assets of the estate and carrying out the associated paperwork
    • Applying for Confirmation – this gives them the full legal authority to deal with your assets and distribute them to the beneficiaries named in your Will
    • Paying Inheritance Tax and any other money owed
    • Contacting the beneficiaries of the estate

Given the duties involved, it is important to ensure you pick the right person to be your executor.

Can anyone be your executor?

Many people choose their children, spouse or close family members to be their executors; however, your executor does not have to be related to you. It is a personal choice, and you are free to appoint whoever you want. This could be friends or professional advisors such as solicitors and accountants.

Before naming anyone as your executor, you should discuss it with them and let them know you are considering appointing them in your Will. This then gives them the opportunity to refuse if they do not want to take on the role.

Should you have more than one executor?

You only have to appoint one executor, however, it is advisable to appoint more than one person. This is in case your chosen executor dies, or something happens that means they can no longer fulfil the role. If you think there is likely to be disagreements between your executors, you might also consider appointing an odd number to avoid any deadlock scenarios during decision making.

Who should you choose as your executor?

When deciding who to choose as your executor, you should make sure it is someone you trust to carry out the role. They should fully understand what is involved in the role and the responsibility they will be taking on should they accept.

What happens if you don’t appoint an executor?

If you do not appoint an executor in your Will, the court will have to do this after your death. This will also happen if your executor dies and there are no surviving executors.

Specialist Wills Solicitors, Edinburgh

If you have any questions about the issues covered here, or if you wish to discuss any Wills or estate planning matters with our solicitors, please fill in our contact form or call us on 0131 225 1200.

Murray Beith Murray was established in 1849, as advisors for generations of clients, committed to our values of integrity, expertise and trust. This aim and these values continue to this day as does our commitment to be here when you need us.

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