An Executor plays a critical role in the winding up of a deceased estate. The person appointed as Executor carries significant responsibility and risk.
The key benefits of choosing an experienced Executor are the following:
Winding up a deceased estate can be complex. If you appoint an Executor who has experience in the administration of deceased estates, tax affairs, wills and probates, the process of winding up the estate will be smoother, as the nominated person can provide specialists advice and knows which processes to follow.
Independence - acting in the best interest of the beneficiaries of the estate
Disputes between family members occur regularly, especially if a loved one has passed away and has significant assets. If the family members cannot agree on specific matters, the Executor will remain independent and fair and will act in the best interest of the beneficiaries.
Personal liability and stress
Sometimes the burden can be too much on a family member when they are appointed to wind up the deceased estate. This can cause unnecessary stress and feuds between grieving family members. It is therefore advisable to appoint an experienced Executor as it also removes personal liability and stress between family members.
It may seem that appointing a family member as Executor might be more cost effective than appointing an experienced Executor, however if the family member does not have all the necessary knowledge on winding up the estate, the family member might have to engage an experienced attorney or accountant to assist. Ultimately there will be costs involved in winding up a deceased estate.
If a family member is appointed as Executor, they might not be aware of the complexity and the required time frames for the winding up of the estate, especially if they do not have the necessary knowledge and skills. An experienced Executor will know the exact process and estimated time frames for winding up a deceased estate.
Jacomi du Plessis
Supervisor: Deceased Estates, Johannesburg