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A few choice words

Being an executor is not for everyone, and clients must understand how costly the wrong decision can be for the estate and relationship, says Fay Copeland

27 November 2013

One of the first questions I ask when taking instructions for a will is the client's choice of executors. Some haven't considered the issue until then, others have already decided. Simple, they say, we'll have the surviving spouse and our eldest child because he is doing a law degree at university, plus all the kids get on so the others won't mind. We'll also have cousin Bob because he has appointed us as executors of his will. This all sounds fine on the surface, but death and grief can do strange things to people. Are these the right choices?

It is easy to assume that being an executor is a tick-box, sign a few papers type of exercise. It is much more than that. The role can last many years and is really quite onerous. This is the message that I try to get through to clients.

Yes, the executor can appoint solicitors to deal with a lot of the legwork, but this does not mean taking a back seat. They have to fully understand and approve ...

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