People in the UK are generally more prepared for the death that overcomes us all eventually. At least that’s according to Will Aid as posted in Today’s Wills and Probate e-magazine. The number of people ‘with their affairs is order’ now stands at 50%. That’s up from 47% from last year so a positive trend.
Meanwhile, the question remains whether one executor is sufficient, or two are preferable. We could simplify things if we have one, and if we choose a solicitor their partner may be able to take over if they die or fall ill.
Having one’s spouse or a close friend act as co-executor means our personal possessions – a pet perhaps – are in the care of someone whom we love and trust on the other hand,. However things are not always that simple. They seldom are in UK probate law.
The Ups and Downs of Having a Sole Executor
A sole executor can normally close out a simple will. A spouse, for example could work their way through probate if they are able and willing. However, a trust is best administered by two people, especially if one become becomes incapable during what can be a long duration.
Family dynamics are another aspect to consider. If there are tensions between heirs, then having an impartial solicitor to assist can be a great relief for a partner already struggling to come to terms with grief.
The Pros and Cons of Joint Executorships
If you choose two executors instead of one – which therefore seems a wise decision – then know that ‘joint’ means joint agreement about everything. An estate can be held up for months if there is a dispute. In such a case, two options present themselves:
# All but one executor steps aside upon a notice of power reserved
# They could apply to resume later unless they renounced completely
Alternatively, someone could ask the court to remove an executor on the basis they were unable to perform their duties. The court may also decide they are unsuitable because of a conflict of interests with the estate. Other possible grounds for removal are:
# Ineligibility due to past criminal convictions or mental incompetence
# Being unable to attend to the estate because of other commitments
# Stealing from the estate or wasting the assets of the estate unnecessarily
# Refusing to take care of the assets properly, or communicate with the heirs
# Taking too long to perform their duties or finalize the estate responsibly
Avoiding These Hassles Is In the Hands of the Person Leaving the Will
People leaving a will generally want to achieve specific goals concerning their assets, and simplify things for their loved ones. After careful consideration of all of the above points, we are inclined to recommend choosing two executors, provided they are able to reach decisions through negotiation and compromise.
Disclaimer: We are not solicitors. The above is our personal opinion expressed in good faith, and shall not carry the weight of the law.