Making a will - Executors

You have to decide who to name in the will as your executor(s). They will do all the work of winding up your affairs after your death. They have to collect all your property, including getting valuations and realizing the value of investments, pay all debts and taxes, deal with funeral and administration costs and then distribute the balance of your estate according to the terms of the will.

Being an executor is a detailed and time consuming job. Normally the will provides for a payment to the executors for the work: £600 is reasonable for a nonprofessional but a professional will want to be allowed to charge his or her full fee. If the executors are relatives and also beneficiaries, this payment may be less or nominal.

If the executor is not a beneficiary, it may be a friend or someone completely impartial who does the job for a professional fee - a solicitor or a bank, for example. The latter can be very expensive, and if there is a beneficiary who can take on the task it will be in their interest if you name them as executor.

You can appoint more than one executor: that can help share the burden. There is a problem, however, if you appoint one relative and one professional. Both have duties and rights and you can find that the professional insists on doing the work and charging the fee. The will must provide for the fee for a professional or for a specific gift to someone who does the job as a friend or relative.

More information

Making a will - Executors What You Own

The next step is to write down what you own with approximate values. You may be surprised at what it amounts to. You can get an estimate of the value of your personal possessions from the insurance policy for your house contents. Make sure that you include the value of any life insurance policies and, of course, the value of your home after any mortgage has been redeemed. If you are married, remember that much of your property is jointly owned and that only half the value is yours.
Who Inherits?
Normally it is a straightforward matter to decide who inherits your property. You make a few special dispositions of small items to named people � grandchildren, perhaps, or friends � and then leave the balance of your estate . . . ... see: Making a will - Executors What You Own