The importance of choosing your executors carefully
One of the most important decisions you’ll need to make when writing your Will is who to choose as your executors.
Your executor has an important and responsible role. It’s the executor who will manage your estate and affairs in the event of your death. They’ll also be responsible for ensuring that the wishes you’ve expressed in your Will are carried out in full and in the manner you intended.
What should you look for in an executor?
Whilst honesty and good communication skills are crucial, you’ll also need to give careful consideration to whether the person you’ve chosen is truly capable of carrying out such a role on your behalf.
Two recent cases have once again highlighted the importance of choosing the executors of your Will wisely and the added importance of obtaining legal advice when creating your Will or Power of Attorney.
In the first case, the executor of the Will was a close friend of the deceased.
After the Will holder’s death, the executor transferred £133,000 from the deceased’s estate into his own personal bank account. This sum was bequeathed to a children’s charity, however the executor instead used it to fund a lavish lifestyle, clearing his own debts and spending frivolously on new cars.
The charity – which helps vulnerable and neglected children – has received nothing from the deceased’s estate to date, despite efforts to recover some or all of the money.
The second case involved a breach of trust by a stepdaughter appointed to manage the financial affairs of her very elderly stepmother.
The victim was extremely frail, suffering from dementia and living in a residential home when she appointed her stepdaughter and her husband to act as Power of Attorney. They were granted full control over management of her finances.
During the nine month period up until her death, the victim’s stepdaughter defrauded her stepmother by more than £10,000, representing a significant proportion of her estate.
The abuse of power only came to light when the solicitor dealing with probate noticed a financial irregularity. The victim’s stepdaughter has since been charged with fraud.