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Your Executor or Executrix

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As promised, I am bringing on the request of one of my readers more information on the executor (male) or the executrix (female) of the will with regard to the trustee. The former is in charge of your will while the latter is in charge of any trust you may form. Your trustee can be your executor/ executrix and vice-versa. I will bring more information on these two important persons in successive articles.{{more}}

The decision to choose someone to perform for you after your death is an important one. You should give it deep thought as you want to have the right person/s to act on your behalf. This may give some people sleepless nights, especially where there are many beneficiaries and a large estate.

Your executor/executrix would be responsible for collecting the assets of your estate, preparing an inventory, obtaining a death certificate, paying valid claims against the estate, representing the estate against the claims of others, securing a Lawyer to get the documents through the probate court and swearing to the oath for a grant of probate. A company or trust corporation or solicitor may also be appointed executor. The process by which the will is dealt with by the Court is known as proving the will.

After the grant is obtained, the executor distributes your estate to the beneficiaries. That person would do so by providing the beneficiaries in the case of real property deeds of assent. The estate most often would provide for the expenses to be paid for. But if there is no ready cash, the beneficiaries would have to pay. The person who you choose should, therefore, be an able bodied person who is trustworthy and responsible.

You should be polite and do the right thing by asking the person you want to be the executor/s of your will to perform for you. You do not want to spring a surprise when he or she discovers after your death that he or she is your executor. A named executor can refuse to act in that capacity. We say that he or she has renounced probate. Many persons ask trusted relatives and friends and would discus the distribution with that person. It is best to choose someone who gets along with your beneficiaries.

You may appoint one (sole) or more executors as you wish. One or more can act as general executor (over the whole estate) or a limited executor (over a part of the estate). All your appointees do not have to prove the will. One person can do so, and power could be reserved to the others. For a minor, however, the law requires that you appoint two persons as executors/executrix. You can choose one of your beneficiaries to be your executor without any adverse effect to that person.

Ada Johnson is a solicitor and barrister-at-law.
E-mail address is: exploringthelaw@yahoo.com

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