What are Executors and Trustees?
2 min read
Executors and trustees play an important role when you pass away and they should be appointed in your Will. We have put together some important information about executors and trustees to help guide you through the process.
What is an Executor/Trustee and what are their roles?
Although the role of an executor and trustee is different, there is a lot of overlapping and they are generally the same people who would act on both roles.
With just a few clicks, you can choose whom you would like to be your executors/trustees.
Their role includes:
Collecting your Will and bringing it to the court for probate.
Liaising with the court or attorneys to collect your estate.
Valuing your assets and settling estate duty formalities (if applicable) and estate tax.
Clearing any of your debts and liabilities.
Distributing your estate in accordance with your Will.
If there are minor children, they would hold your assets on trust until the children reach adulthood.
Generally, the provisions of the Trust laws lay out the duties and obligations of the trustees.
Who should I choose as the Executor/Trustee?
You can choose family or friends whom you trust to administer your estate. The person must be over 18 years of age (21 in some states), of sound mind and have not gone through bankruptcy or convicted a felony. You should also ensure that they are willing and are agreeable to act.
If you are married then the first common choice would be your spouse, failing them, you can choose family members or friends.
Your Executors/Trustees have the power to hire attorneys or other professionals when they administer your estate, and the fees to hire these professionals would be at the expense of your estate. This gives them the flexibility to either do the process themselves or choose the appropriate law firm at a reasonable fee to administer the estate at that time.
It is fine to choose someone older or the same age as you, but you should consider what the likelihood is for them to outlive you i.e. statistically there is a higher chance for your parents to die before you.
How many Executors/Trustees can I choose?
You can choose up to 2 executors/trustees in our online Will service, so they can provide a check and balance. Alternatively, you can choose one person as the main executor/trustee with a second person as an alternative.
Can I choose an Executor/Trustee different from my spouse?
Yes, you can choose different persons. They may however need to work together if you have joint assets.
Can an Executor/Trustee also be the same as the guardians?
Yes, they can be the same as the guardians. In this way, the executor/trustee can also look after the children’s needs. You should however consider whether the Executor/Trustee is an appropriate candidate to also look after your children.
Can my Executor/Trustee be a beneficiary in my Will?
Yes, the Executor/Trustee can also be the beneficiary of your Will. It is in fact quite common so the beneficiary can also manage the estate.
However, you might consider whether there would be a conflict of interest if the executor/trustee is also the beneficiary, as the executor may be tempted not to act in the best interest of the other beneficiaries.
- what are executors
- executors and trustees in a Will
- United States probate