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Considerations when appointing Executors or Trustees

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Most testators will usually appoint their surviving spouse or partner, children, close family or friends to act as their executors and trustees. Whilst there is nothing wrong with appointing family members and friends, there are a number of points that a testator may need to be advised of. Personalities Where multiple people are being appointed, they should consider the personalities of those people and relationships between them. It would be highly inadvisable for example to appoint children to act together if it is well known that they do not get along, particularly for appointments as trustees for trusts that may last for a long amount of time, such as a discretionary trust. Location Executors do need to be physically present to deal with the testator’s affairs. Appointing executors who live at the other side of the country or even abroad may not be the best decision if there are other…

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Executors & Trustees

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Many Testators will choose the same people to act as both their Executors and Trustees, however each role is very different and comes with its own responsibilities so this may prompt testators to consider appointing different individuals for each appointment. Firstly, those who will deal with the administration process of the Estate – the Executors, and those who will manage any assets which are required to be held once the administration of the Estate is complete – the Trustees.   Where necessary and upon the death of the testator, the duty of an Executor is that they shall apply to the Court for a Grant of Probate. This enables the Executor to accumulate the assets and where it is appropriate, liquidate assets to enable distribution, in accordance with the terms of the Will. Before distributions, they must ensure that any debts and liabilities have been settled. The role could include…

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Roles of executors and trustees

By | Executor, Inheritance, Legal, Trustees, Wills | 2 Comments

Who are trustees? A trustee is someone who is given legal responsibility to hold property in the best interest of or for the benefit of someone else (the beneficiaries). As the name implies, the trustee acts under a “trust” to do what is best and to act in the interests of the beneficiaries and not themselves. Number of trustees No more than 4 trustees can be appointed to act at once, however reserve trustees can be appointed. If the property of the trust includes land a minimum of 2 trustees must be appointed. Where a Trust is inserted within a Will in favour of a spouse (as a beneficiary) upon first death, it is almost always advisable that a MINIMUM of two other trustees be appointed to act jointly with the spouse. This is in order to prevent any conflict of interest due to the spouse acting as the sole…

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Understanding the decision in Ilott v Mitson: Does your will now mean nothing?

By | Executor, Inheritance, Legal, Wills | No Comments

The recent case of Ilott v Mitson caused a bit of a stir in the media over its possible impacts on testamentary freedom in England and Wales. ‘Your will means NOTHING’ was the headline in the Express, with similar headlines in the Mail and the Telegraph and much of the media named it as a landmark or ground-breaking case. Much of the reporting of the case was done without a full account of how the decision was made and is likely to be an overreaction. The Law The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 allows a child to apply for an order (for a lump sum or periodical payments) where the deceased has not made reasonable financial provision for their maintenance. In such a case the court can make an order for a lump sum or periodical payments that will, directly or indirectly, pay for the costs of…

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