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Executors for our will - how did you choose?

(13 Posts)
Sugarbeach Sun 30-Dec-12 20:04:58

I'm not sure what people normally do for executors for their wills or what s best, so how how do you choose?

In our current wills, we've got my MIL AND our solicitors down as the executors.

Who do you have and why?

helenlynn Sun 30-Dec-12 20:19:03

We're doing all the Will stuff at the moment. I've read quite a lot of strong recommendations not to name solicitors as executors, since they often take a great deal of money from the estate for acting as such, even if another named executor is willing to act alone and asks the solicitor not to act. I think I Googled "solicitor as executor" or something like that, and found some press coverage as well as accounts of people's individual experience. If you name "lay" executors, there's nothing stopping them from going to a solicitor to carry out the work for them if that's what they decide they'd like to do if the situation arises; you're just allowing them the choice.

BlackandGold Sun 30-Dec-12 20:39:19

I've been sole executor twice now, although both were very straightforward wills and estates.

Why would you have someone older then you (MIL) as an executor?
We currently have oldest DC with SIL to help share the burden.

Sugarbeach Sun 30-Dec-12 22:09:26

Good question about having MIL (who is older) as executor with solicitor.

If I survive. Dh, I would be the executor and vice versa. MIL and solicitor. As executor only if we both die.

Dh and I are both the youngest siblings in our family, we have only child, 7 yo, there really aren't anyone else very clued up or who we trust enough in our family to choose from.

I guess it would be the best decision to have a trusted family member be sole executor, but in our case, we can't see that as a possible scenario....so am wondering what best to do or how to approach making this decision.

The MIL and solicitor as executor was really to have a degree of check and balance ....that's the thinking anyway.....any thoughts on pros and cons much appreciated.

MirandaWest Sun 30-Dec-12 22:10:47

I'm not sure if I'm executor for my mum and dads wills - ought to check really.

My sister and her DH are executors for my will.

Alad Sun 30-Dec-12 22:15:28

Do not, repeat do not ever ask a bank to be an executor. They will do very little and charge loads.

Waswondering Sun 30-Dec-12 22:18:38

We each have a brother who will be our executors as younger than our parents and both have legal knowledge. One of these (all agreed!) would have our dc in the event of dh and i dying. However, we've not appointed a trustee for the dc to oversee decisions re our estate and the dc (ie I know he wouldn't but so my db didn't use the assets of our house to buy a Porsche!). We didn't do this when we wrote our wills but something to think about.

HelenLynn Sun 30-Dec-12 22:56:26

We will most likely have two trusted friends (who are not a couple, so as not to put all the burden on one household) as executors, and will name another two as guardians of our children. Three of the four have known and remained close to each other, and us, all their adult lives, and the other (the partner of one of the three) for a good number of years, which will hopefully mean that sorting things out is no more difficult or awkward than it need be.

mumblechum1 Mon 31-Dec-12 13:45:24

I worked for many years in High Street firms and always recommended that the clients only appointed us as executors if they really had no one else at all, or only as defaults, in case their first choice execs all died/couldn't act.

Solicitors will normally charge either an hourly rate (which in my opinion is fair enough), or a percentage (which isn't, when you're dealing with very large estates).

I'm a will writer and normally recommend that you choose two executors (who will usually also act as trustees if the children aren't grown up when the second parent dies). These should be trustworthy and reasonably competetent at doing admin, and ideally not the testators' parents.

I also recommend, as HelenLynn pointed out above, that the executors don't also act as guardians. This is partly to spread the burden of responsibility, but also to minimise the risk of a conflict of interest arising.

(I have a paid for advert over on MN Classifieds (Small Business) for anyone who's thinking of making a will, and have a special offer on for the New Year btw)

Sugarbeach Mon 31-Dec-12 15:22:06

Thanks for all the useful info ladies!

I think we will have to rethink our wills. Our solicitors, who are locally very well known, didn't even give the advice you gave about how o choose executors mumble....

What are people's views on getting friends rather than family to be executors? It seems a big ask to me, even for a best friend as they have their own lifes and family.

This is when we feel really quite sad and alone in the world when we struggle to think of suitable executors, trustees and guardians.

mumblechum1 Mon 31-Dec-12 16:44:39

OP, you are not alone in feeling alone! (sure that's a song lyric!).

The execs and trustees are usually the same people, so you only need 2 people in that role.

So far as choosing a guardian is concerned, this is by far the hardest bit of making a will. No one wants to think about the possibility of the children being orphaned, and equally it's a big responsibility to put on someone's shoulders, BUT, you need to remember 3 things:

1. The chances of both parents dying before the youngest child is 18 are incredibly small. It is unusual to have the "perfect" guardian, so a "good enough" appointment is actually better than just not making a will at all. You can always change that section if circumstances change during the children's minority.

2. The guardian you appoint doesn't actually have to have the child living with them full time, only to take decisions about residence. So some of my clients appoint their parents as guardians now, with the intention that if they did both die and the parents were too elderly to look after the children, the parents would make appropriate arrangements, eg for them to be cared for by aunts or uncles.

3. I usually recommend that a clause is put in the will to say that the children's maintenance is paid for from the trust fund, so that the guardians aren't out of pocket.

HelenLynn Mon 31-Dec-12 18:05:29

It is a big ask, but I think an entirely reasonable one to make of a good friend. After all, in the event that someone actually has to act as executor you will have died, and I reckon that's a circumstance in which most nice people won't feel too put out at doing something for their late friends! I hope that the people we ask to be our executors feel they could ask us to do the same for them if they wanted, and it's certainly something I'd be willing to do for a friend unless their affairs were so complicated that I thought I honestly wouldn't be able to do the job properly. And we are being very clear, when asking people, that they should feel quite able to say "no" if they don't want to do it.

fatnfrumpy Tue 01-Jan-13 18:04:15

Just a word of warning about choosing family.
My Sil is the executor to her dads will, she has also used a solicitor.
2 years have passed since probate but Sil has still not divided out the estate because she was not happy that she had to share with two others!
I guess she has had her share but her solicitor refuses any information to the other two beneficaries.
Nobody talks anymore!

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