Choosing your Executor

The executor is the person (persons or organisation) that has to do all the heavy lifting with regards to fulfilling your Last Will and Testament.

An Executrix is not as exciting as it sounds, it is simply a female executor.

Note that in New Zealand they, very sensibly, call executors and executrices Personal Representatives.

This can be a long and arduous task, so you need to pick someone who is up for it and someone you can trust to do a good job.

So what are the duties of an executor (executrix or personal representative)?

  1. Obtain Probate (ie get the law to recognise the Will).
  2. Arrange the funeral.
  3. Locate the Assets.
  4. Locate the beneficiaries and notify them of their inheritance.
  5. Claim any insurance policies.
  6. Liquidate (sell!) assets.
  7. Lodge tax returns and pay any tax.
  8. Distribute the estate as required by the Will.
  9. Maintain a set of accounts for all financial dealings.

So basically you’re looking for someone who as a lot of patience, someone who is a fiscal genius, someone who is as honest as the day is long, and someone who has plenty of time on their hands.

Obviously that person does not exist. So you might want to consider hiring a legal firm to take care of it for you. That would save your loved ones from a lot of headaches and hassles, but might leave them with nothing when your entire estate is soaked up by the legal costs.

Clearly the only reasonable solution is to avoid dying.

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