Headshot of Nick Hawkins - Solicitor at Everingham Solomons TamworthOne of the most important things to consider when making a Will is who you wish to appoint as your executor. Your solicitor will discuss appointments of executors with you but there are a couple of issues to consider before giving instructions to prepare your Will, including:

  1. Capability – The executor’s job is to manage your estate, call in, sell and distribute your assets, and pay any debts and liabilities. If you are leaving gifts in your Will to children who have not attained the age of majority, your executor will have to invest your assets and manage the estate for many years. Therefore, you need an executor who is up to the job. They need to be organised and trustworthy. They also need to be comfortable managing, investing or selling your assets, or at least able to adequately instruct a solicitor or financial advisor on these issues.


  1. Number of Executors – You should really have at least two executors appointed in some capacity; that way, if one is unable to act, you have a backup. You can appoint a primary executor and a substitute who can only act if the first is unable. Or you may wish to appoint multiple joint executors who must work together. If you appoint joint executors they need to get along with each other to facilitate the administration of your estate. You do not want to create a situation where disputes arise between your executors.


  1. Location – If you appoint executors who live across multiple states, or executors who live overseas, the management of the estate can be a lot more difficult. Issues with the location of executors often arises when signing Probate documents and documents to authorise the distribution of the estate assets. All executors need to sign the original Probate documents and all executors need to have their signatures witnessed by a Justice of the Peace or solicitor. If there are many executors spread out across the country it can take much longer to finalise the estate.


  1. Practicality – Primarily, the executor needs to be someone that knows enough about your assets and financial affairs to be able to provide this information to a solicitor.


It may also be practical to appoint an executor who is a beneficiary of your estate and is motivated to start the administration process and follow it through to distribution. In other instances it may be more practical to appoint someone who will not benefit from your estate and can remain completely impartial. This may be necessary if your Will gives some discretion to your executors as to how to divide a particular asset between your beneficiaries or the beneficiaries don’t get along with each other.

If you need assistance drafting a Will or wish to discuss appropriate executors to appoint, contact a solicitor at Everingham Solomons because Helping You is Our Business.

Click here for more information on Nick Hawkins.