In a recent legal alert, we discussed the roles and responsibilities of an executor and how they need to manage the estate administration process with help from legal and financial professionals.
In this alert, we outline the qualities to look for when choosing the executor of your estate.
Selecting the right executor is crucial to the success of your estate plan. As a guide, when selecting an appropriate executor we recommend our clients consider the following qualities:
- Trustworthiness and Integrity
An executor must be someone you trust implicitly to carry out your wishes and handle your affairs responsibly.
- Organisational Skills
Estate administration can be complex, involving various tasks and deadlines. Even with professional help from a lawyer and accountant, an executor should possess strong organisational skills to manage these responsibilities efficiently.
If conflicts arise among beneficiaries, an executor should be able to remain impartial and make decisions in the best interest of the estate.
- Financial Literacy
Handling assets and financial matters requires a certain level of financial literacy to ensure proper management. Particularly if the estate involves a business, substantial property holding or investment assets. Advice can be sought from your professional advisors but it is helpful that the chosen executor can understand the process they will need to finalise your estate.
- Availability and Longevity
Choose an executor who is likely to be available for an extended period, as estate administration can take time. This may also include considering someone younger than yourself.
Choosing an executor who lives remotely (or overseas) can cause additional administrative issues during the estate administration phase, which may have otherwise been avoided if an alternative executor is selected.
Consider Professional Help
It is essential to recognise that an executor's role can be demanding and time consuming. Whilst many executors handle the day to day matters personally (such as distribution of personal property and household items), to alleviate the burden and ensure effective estate administration it is often preferable for executors to engage to seek professional assistance from a solicitor to navigate the complexities of the estate administration process.
Review Your Estate Plan Regularly
Once you've appointed an executor, it's crucial to review your estate plan periodically. Life circumstances change, and who may have been suitable as an executor choice in the past might not be the case in the future. Regularly updating your will and estate plan to reflect any changes in your life or the circumstances of your chosen executor is the best method to achieve a smooth estate administration process.
Appointing an executor is a significant decision that requires careful thought and consideration. Understanding the role of an executor is essential for Queensland residents to ensure their wishes are carried out and their loved ones are well taken care of. Taking the time to choose a trustworthy and capable executor will give peace of mind to both yourself, and your intended beneficiaries.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.