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Executor & Trustee

The Executor is bound by the terms of your Will.  They cannot act with discretion and failure to fulfill your wishes under the Will can make the Executor personally liable to the beneficiaries.

Consequently you must give careful thought to who you wish to appoint as your Executor or Executors.  You can appoint a single Executor or you can appoint up to four joint Executors.

Some of the common mistakes made when appointing Executors are;

  • Appointing someone who either lives remotely or overseas and consequently cannot be easily contacted;
  • Appointing someone who is now elderly and consequently will even be older when they take on the role;
  • Appointing joint Executors who cannot agree or do not see eye to eye with each other;
  • Appointing a person who is reluctant to undertake the position;
  • Appointing someone who does not agree with your wishes under your Will.

Appointing an Executor who is not suitable for the job can have a major impact on the transfer of your estate to the beneficiaries and ensuring your last wishes are carried out.

It is important to discuss this with your proposed Executor/s prior to drafting your Will.  If you are wishing to appoint joint Executors it is important to ensure that there are no personality clashes between them and that they can work together.

It is also important to appoint “backup” Executors who can fulfill the role if your appointed Executor/s are unable to do so.

While the Executors are holding onto the assets pending distribution, they are also the Trustees of your Estate.

This only highlights the need to make careful choices of who you wish to be your Executor and Trustee under your Will.

You need to be confident of your choice of Executor and Trustee and that the role is not out of their depth or that they may neglect their obligation.

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