Appointing Executors (or Trustees when a trust-based Will is concerned) and Guardians is a key part in preparing your Will and gaining peace of mind.
Appointing Executors/Trustees- what to consider
Where it’s possible to appoint personal executors rather than professionals, you can potentially save your estate thousanappointing them as ds of pounds.
Of course, that saving to your estate means little if your estate is not handled competently- which can lead to significant delays, hassle, and even expense for your loved ones.
To confidently select the right people, it’s worth knowing what executors are expected to do. Once the death has been registered, executors will need to retrieve the will.
They will then be responsible for: applying for grant of probate (the legal power to handle the estate) and completing an inheritance tax declaration, gathering all the assets, valuing the estate, settling debts and any tax liability, distributing the estate to the inheritors according to the will, and informing all organisations of the death (banks, utility companies etc.) so that accounts can be closed. They will need to keep accounts and records of their activities to demonstrate that they have discharged their duty responsibly. The whole process is known as probate- it is explored further in this article.
Given that the role of executor is a lot of responsibility (executors act under a legal duty), we recommend appointing people who, between them, are: reliable, organised, honest, familiar with you and your family, and have relevant skills (e.g. experience in law or tax) or are competent enough to seek advice from relevant professionals where necessary. Inheritors can be appointed as executors. If your estate is particularly complicated, it may be worth appointing a professional.
It’s recommended that you approach your potential executor(s) beforehand to confirm that they would be willing to act. If the people you nominate refuse the responsibility, it will fall to the courts to appoint someone to administer your will.
Appointing Guardians- what to consider
If you and your spouse pass away, any children of yours under the age of 18 will need a legal guardian.
If you do not have a will nominating someone, the courts will decide- and this may not lead to an outcome you would be content with.
The guardians you nominate should be: familiar to you and the children, you should be confident they have your children’s welfare and best interests at heart, and they should be of good character as they will be granted authority over, and responsibility for, your children.
We recommend appointing two guardians as one may not be able to accept the responsibility when the need arises due to circumstances.
If you wish to appoint a guardian overseas, we recommend appointing another guardian in the UK so that, if any visa arrangements are required for the children to reach your nominated guardian, they will be taken care of in the meantime.
Make sure the people you are considering nominating as a guardian are aware of it and have confirmed they are willing to accept the responsibility to safeguard your children’s security, welfare, and deliver them a good upbringing.
This article is part of our Islamic Wills FAQ series.