Kith & Kin

Who should I choose as an executor?

testator and executor shaking hands

Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash

When writing your will, you may have faced a lot of questions such as ‘Do I need a lawyer to write a will?’ or ‘How much is the cost of will writing in Singapore?’ Nevertheless, one of the most important decisions you have to make is naming your executor.

An executor is a person who will have the responsibility of carrying out the terms you have outlined in your will. So it’s important to fully understand what does an executor of will do. Most commonly, their duties include applying to the court for a Grant of Probate so they can start the process of distributing the estate.

They are also tasked with locating your assets and paying your creditors before distributing the remainder of your estate to your beneficiaries. Oftentimes, they are also in charge of your funeral arrangements.

With such key functions upon your passing, you want to make sure that you are selecting the right person for these tasks when you are writing a will.

Here are things to consider when appointing your executor of will.

What are the legal requirements to become an executor?

Anyone who is of sound mind and who is not bankrupt can become an executor of will, provided that they are at least 21 years of age when the will comes into effect. This means that you can appoint a minor at the time of will writing if you foresee that they will be of legal age upon your passing.

What are additional considerations when selecting your executor?

1. Choosing among your friends and relatives

Because they personally know you and your wishes, close relatives and friends are logical choices to become executors for your will. However, bear in mind that they also have to deal with the emotional stress of your passing. Make sure that you choose someone who will be able to handle the administrative work even at a time of mourning.

Aside from this, it is best to choose executors that have some knowledge of tax, investments and financial matters. If needed, they should also know how to seek professional help from lawyers or tax experts.

2. Hiring a professional executor

If at one point you have asked yourself ‘do I need a lawyer to write a will?’ then you may have already considered how professional help can be beneficial in certain cases.

Professional executors are well-equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to manage your estate when you die. This is especially helpful when your estate is particularly large and involves complex assets.

Professional executors will be able to better handle situations wherein your assets are located overseas or when your relatives dispute the validity of the will, or where you have trust instruments involved.

3. Proximity to you and your assets

It is advisable to choose an executor of will who lives reasonably close to you or where your assets are located. This makes it easier for them to perform their obligations as executor as they do not have to deal with long travels for each transaction.

4. Consider naming more than one executor

You have the option of naming several persons as co-executors to your will, so you can include family members, friends and professionals. It is essential that those you have appointed are going to survive you and that they will accept the obligation.

If you would like to be more prepared, you can specify a back-up executor in case your first choice will not be able to fulfil the role for whatever reason.

Having written your will, you may already know the answer to the question of ‘what if you die without a will?’, but making a poor choice for your executor may also lead to similar problems.

An executor of will carries much responsibility and careful consideration should be done in the selection of this person. In most cases, it will be helpful to have a professional’s advice, or even enlist a qualified lawyer as an executor.

Do I need a lawyer to write a will?

Writing a will without a lawyer is perfectly acceptable. If you are looking for an alternative, you can also consider a living trust fund vs will.

That said, a  lawyer will still be able to provide you with valuable legal insights that will allow you to prepare the most suitable estate plan for you.

Here at Kith & Kin Law Corporation, we offer expert advice on Will Writing Singapore with the conviction to provide the best approach based on our client’s personal circumstances and needs.

Send us a message so we can schedule a discussion with you.