Estate Administration- Why it can be the Elephant in the Room & how do you Choose an Executor?
By Andy Brown
It's a topic that many people avoid but it is important to discuss and plan so you minimise the stress to those left behind. The question you need to ask yourself is: "How smoothly do I want the process to be?" and "How do I minimise any risks in passing my assests on?"
A planned will, with your advisor is a good start, as discussing the options allows you to think through the issues, one of which is "who is the executor?"
When it comes to the management of a deceased estate and the appointment of an executor there are two options: you can choose a family or friend or professional advisors eg. Andrew Brown.
In some cases the Public Trustee has been appointed as executor. While obviously well known, often the administration costs for the Public Trustee to administer an estate is more than would be charged on a professional level by us.
I often act as joint executor with either the clients legal advisor and/or family member.
The benefits of appointing a professional advisor include:
1. Ability to be independent, objective and impartial - we act on your wishes and are not subject to family influence.
2. The sense of security and peace of mind in having us undertake the often onerous and demanding role of executor or trustee.
3. I can be appointed as the executor or administator of a deceased estate or in the case of a legal incapacity as a (joint) Power of Attorney.
Each situation is different and there may be some instances (eg. a conflict of interest) where it may not be appropriate to accept the appointment.
Our main recommendation is to have Estate Planning as a seperate project, which, done in an orderly basis will reduce stress and minimise the risk to a family executor.