In this blog post, we are going to explore the question, “how do I nominate my executor?”. This is the third post in our series on executors. If you have not read either of the first two posts, we recommend you start there. You can read post 1 here and post 2 here. If you know of anyone who would benefit from reading these articles, please share these blog posts with them!
How do I nominate my executor?
So, exactly how do I nominate my executor? The answer to this question is simple. Ensure that you write a will. In your will, write down the person who you would like to be your executor. Make sure that your nomination is entirely clear. Ambiguity just causes issues when you are gone and those left behind are trying to interpret your wishes.
Also, when nominating your executor, you should indicate the level of remuneration you wish your executor to receive. If you do not indicate this on your will, the Master will fall back on the standard rates, which you might not be entirely happy with. Your chosen level of remuneration will potentially differ depending on whether you choose a professional or a loved one to be the executor of your estate. This obviously has an important effect on your estate, so be sure to choose what you are happy with.
Who do I nominate as my executor?
You do not need to nominate only one person as an executor. There are a variety of options available to you. You may nominate:
- A professional only (a professional person such as the family lawyer or accountant, or an institution); or
- A relative/spouse/friend plus a professional; or
- A relative/spouse/friend who will then work with a professional as an agent after your death; or
- A relative/spouse/friend whom you believe has sufficient experience to liquidate and distribute the estate alone and whom you believe will be acceptable to the Master as a stand-alone executor.
If you nominate a relative, spouse or friend, it is always advisable to nominate at least one alternative executor in case that first person is unable or unwilling to carry out the executor’s duties him or herself.
There is merit in nominating both a professional and a relative/spouse/friend to be executors for your will. This is because you have one person who possesses the skills and experience in handling the intricate process of winding up the estate (the professional) and another person who is well acquainted with your personal affairs (the relative/spouse/friend). If you do choose to nominate both in your will, you must decide on the relationship between the two. Once again, clarity is key. Clarity makes things easier for those you leave behind.
What if I don’t nominate an executor?
If you do not nominate an executor before you pass on, things can become complicated. Your beneficiaries will have to decide who should be nominated as executor. In this scenario, there is the risk of disagreement, which could very likely increase stress and tension between family members in an already difficult time. If no agreement can be reached between the heirs, the Master will appoint an objective third person capable of carrying out all of the duties of an executor.
Do you need help in drafting your own will, or with choosing an executor? Contact us at [email protected]. Do you know of someone who could benefit from reading this blog series on executors? Please share this post and the others with them! Would you like to ensure you don’t miss a blog post? Please subscribe to our blog today.