One of the most important person(s) that you will have when you arrange your Scottish Will is the Executor(s) that you appoint to carry out your wishes upon your death. This fundamental task may make the difference between an efficient administration and one that is beset with delays and additional associated costs. The Executor’s job carries many responsibilities so such a nomination should be to someone whom you trust implicitly and also have the capabilities of carrying out such a role adequately. Taking the time to appoint your correct choice of Executor will prove to be invaluable in carrying out the deceased’s wishes for the administration of their estate.
Who can be your Executor?
The choice is yours entirely. You may appoint anyone you wish to act as your Executor as long as they are over the age of 16 and of sound mind. You can nominate up to a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 4 Executors, however a minimum of 2 is normally recommended. Alternatively, you may decide to employ a professional to carry out the role. As stated the role of an Executor carries with it much responsibility and if the nominated person does not feel confident enough to carry out the task when they are required to act then they can appoint a professional to take over the role.
Therefore your executor(s) could be:
- your husband or wife
- your adult children
- your brothers or sisters
- a good and trusted friend
- a beneficiary in your Scottish Will
- a professional Executor such as a Solicitor, Accountant or Trust Corporation.
All of the above are good choices as long as they are capable and trustworthy.
Some things to consider when appointing your Executor(s)
- Their age. Will they be too old or even alive when the time comes for them to act? It is advisable to choose someone from the same generation or age group or younger.
- Their location. Will it be easy for the Executor to apply for a Grant of Confirmation and administer the estate without having to travel long distances?
- Whether they will agree to do so! The chosen Executors should be asked if they are willing to act. As stated, it is a very responsible job, can be time consuming and involve a lot of travelling.
- Whether they could cope with such a task. Is it wise to appoint an infirm or elderly spouse? Will the bereavement make it difficult for them to act?
- Are the physically or mentally able to carry out such a task?
- Have some alternative Executors been chosen? If the original Executors cannot act and the Will does not stipulate substitutes, then the Court will appoint administrators to act from a “pecking” order. This may not have been the person you may have liked or it could be someone who is unwilling or unable to act.
Duties and Responsibilities of Executors
The role of the Executor
Before they are able to carry out their duties in Scotland, the Executor(s) must first obtain a Grant of Confirmation. This is where the Executor has to provide the Court with a list of the deceased’s assets and liabilities. Confirmation is a legal document issued by the court. This gives the Executor the authority to access money and other types of property that belonged to the deceased from an institution i.e. a bank and to administer and distribute it according to the deceased’s Scottish Will and in accordance with the law.
Besides ensuring that the terms of the Will are carried out, the Executor of a Scottish Will sometimes find themselves with a lot of extra responsibilities at what is usually a very sad and stressful time.
An Executor MAY be involved with all or some of the following duties:
- obtaining the death certificate
- registering the death
- informing the relatives
- arranging the funeral
The Executor IS responsible for the following duties:
- Locating the original Will
- Applying to the Court for Conformation including the completion of Inheritance Tax returns
- Opening and managing an Executor’s Account
- Collecting in all the deceased’s assets, storing and insuring them
- Paying all the debts of the deceased including income tax plus the funeral expenses and other expenses of obtaining the Confirmation
e.g. Court fees and other professional fees etc.
- Distributing the assets in accordance with the terms of the Scottish Will
- keeping receipts and a record of what has been done in case the Court wishes to see them at a later date. This may happen if someone disputes
- The way the estate has been administered
Executor and Executry Services
When you nominate a family member or friend to act as an Executor to your estate they are not normally paid other than being able to reclaim expenses or with a modest cash gift as a “thank you” contained within the Will.
Professional Executors, on the other hand, are doing a professional service and as such expect to be remunerated by their normal fees otherwise they would not act for you. This is a long, complex and expensive procedure and normally the residuary estate cannot be settled and paid out within the first 6 months.
Normally a solicitor would work for a percentage of the value of the estate, typically between 3% and 5% or even more plus you would pay them by the hour with no commitment or cap the hours they will work plus disbursements. A bank or other financial institution may typically charge from 5% up to 8% of the estate value. It is very unusual for solicitors or banks to work for a fixed fee, they will not give you such a commitment. You can see that it can therefore be very expensive to wind up an estate, even for a modest estate, you do the maths.
It is therefore essential that you shop around. Willtrust Ltd will find you the right Executry service that you require at a fixed cost and you will have this pledge in writing. You will not have to write a blank cheque. Our preferred nominated solicitors will provide you with an expert, unbiased and value for money service and a transparent fixed fee arrangement. This means there will be no hidden costs and other nasty surprises and therefore there will be more money in the deceased’s estate to be disbursed, as per their wishes, to their beneficiaries.
To receive qualified and ethical advice in relation to any aspect of your Scottish Will-Writing and Estate Planning requirements, please visit our contact page.