When it comes to drafting your will, one of the most important decisions to consider is who will be nominated as the Executor of your deceased estate. An Executor is the person that will carry out your wishes when you pass away and make sure that your deceased estate administration is carried out thoroughly.

The role of an Executor can become challenging. The Executor is responsible for reporting the deceased estate to the Master of the High Court, closing all accounts, settling all expenses and debt, and making sure that all the remaining assets are distributed to the heirs in accordance with your will.

People often prefer to choose a spouse or child to be the Executor in their will, but this can cause certain complications especially having to make decisions based on logic rather than emotion.

There are various qualities to bear in mind when choosing your Executor. The following characteristics are suggested when making your decision.

1. Trustworthy and Organised

First and foremost, the person must be trustworthy. This person must act in the best interest of your estate as they will be involved in your personal and financial matters. It can take anything from 6 to 12 months to wound up an estate, which means that this person must be organised and able to handle a lot of family dynamics. The compiling of documentation and submission of documents within the prescribed periods will also be crucial and therefore this person must preferably be good at paperwork.

2. Knowledge

Although you are allowed to nominate a family member or friend as the Executor, the Master of the High Court will make the final appointment. If the person nominated in your will does not have the sufficient skills and knowledge to administer an estate, the Master will request that your Executor must be assisted by a professional agent for example an attorney, accountant, or fiduciary specialist. If an estate is complicated, it will be advisable to appoint a professional person. An expert will be knowledgeable about the relevant succession law, the tax ramifications, and the potential reliefs.

3. Communication and Social Skills

The Executor is responsible for maintaining relationships with multiple parties including debtors, creditors, heirs and businesses. You want an Executor who will frequently communicate with your family and beneficiaries. Beneficiaries don't understand the role of an executor, so make sure to pick someone who can keep them informed throughout the process.

Making the right choice by nominating your Executor can save your estate a significant amount of money in the future and guarantee that your estate is administered as swiftly and effectively as possible.

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.