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25th June 2019

Beecham House – Who should be John’s Executor?

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John’s narrow escape in episode 2 should make him consider his Will – if his complex family situation hasn’t already prompted that thought! John seems to have a trustworthy, true and tried friend in Samuel. His brother Daniel, however, may be charmingly unreliable and this episode revealed his mother has a certain problem (no spoiler, but it’s typical of that era) – not to mention that 1700s women didn’t own or manage property.

John has substantial asserts (or are they his?) and an increasingly complex family set up. It’s doubly important therefore that he chooses the right person as the executor of his Will (and trustee of any monies for August). My colleague Elizabeth Herbert commented as below:

Choosing the right executors can be one of the sticking points when making a Will. Ideally one would choose close family members such as your spouse or parents (if well) or adult children (provided dependable!). Siblings are another popular choice - perhaps not for John! In any event the person or persons chosen should be people who know you well enough to know your wishes with regard to your estate and whom you know well enough to be sure they will do the right thing. Ideally they would be people with some experience of financial dealings so that they won’t be fazed by the task at hand, although trustworthiness is key because they can and usually do use solicitors to assist them through the financial maze and paperwork trail. Informing them of their appointment ahead of time avoids any extra shock on your death.

The size and complexity of one’s estate should also guide the choice of executors. The more complex the estate, the more financial acumen your executors are likely to need. Does your Will include trusts? If so your executors will (unless you specify otherwise), have an ongoing responsibility. Solicitors are often chosen a professional executors, either to act alone or with family. This can be a helpful solution where there are no, or insufficient, suitable family members, and professionals can also be an important neutral voice in any dispute arising out of your death or the terms of the Will. You should be aware there may be extra costs associated with appointing a professional executor or trustee.

For more information on the structure of a Will generally and the key considerations please visit our Writing A Will information sheet.

Meanwhile, what will happen next week? We’ve learnt a lot about August’s parentage, but there are clear hints as to something further. Not to mention a possible war…..