WINTERBORNE LEGAL SERVICES
We often get asked – who are my executors and trustees?
These are the people who will deal with making sure your last wishes are carried out.
Your executors are the people you choose and appoint in your Will to deal with your financial matters after your death. This is the process which is referred to as ‘administering your estate’.
Firstly, your executors will need to locate your last Will. If you made one than one Will during your lifetime, your executors will need to be sure that the Will they have located is your last Will.
It makes sense to let your executors know where the original Will is being held so that they can access it quickly. If you have kept a copy of the your signed last Will amongst your valuable papers at home, the front page of the Will will usually provide details of the firm which prepared it.
Ask us about registering your Will with Certainty
Your executors will then need to locate all your assets. This is not always as straightforward as you would hope. Building Societies and life policy companies merge and change name over the years, as do listed companies making it difficult to trace what happened to any shares you may have held.
Of practical assistance to your executors would be an up to date list of all your:
- bank and building society accounts;
- life policies;
together with details of where the original policy documents or share certificates can be found.
To make life easier for your executors in due course, download our Personal Assets Record and keep the completed document with a copy of your Will.
If you have left any gifts of personal items, your executors will need to ensure these items reach your intended beneficiaries.
Cash legacies will need to be paid by your executors before making payment of the remainder of your estate in accordance with your instructions given in your Will.
If you have left any money to children under the age of 18, it will need to be held in trust for them until they reach 18. The people holding the money for the children will be your Trustees.
You don’t have to choose different people to be your Executors and Trustees, as the same people can carry out both tasks. But if you prefer, you can choose people who will act as your Trustees, whose job it will be to look after the money for the children.
The terms of your Will will govern:
- the way the Trust is set up;
- at what age the children can receive the Trust Fund;
- whether money can be made available for the Guardians of the children;
- what powers the Trustees have whilst they are looking after the Trust Fund.
So how do you choose your executors and Trustees?
You should think about:
- Age – will your executors (and Trustees) be able to cope with the work involved in administering your estate? ;
- Location – will they be able to deal with the logistics of clearing and/or selling your house?
- Finances – do they have the skills to look after and investment a potentially large sum of money? Although they will need to take expert advice, they will still need to make decisions based on that advice;
- Moral issues – do the Trustees have the same outlook on life that will mean that they agree to spend money on your children in the same way that you would have done?
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