The 3 mistakes to avoid when choosing an Executor
What questions should you be asking before you decide?
CAN THEY DO THE JOB?
Check how much experience they have – 5 years or more is preferable.
If you are dealing with someone who is familiar with the whole procedure, who has the legal expertise and who has built up the necessary contacts over the years, then you have found the right person.
With Call Centres taking over, it is more and more important for your Executor to be proactive and to know who to contact if information is not forth-coming.
IS IT THEIR CORE BUSINESS?
If they are an individual or small company, make sure that this is their core business, as Estates are very admin-intensive and the process needs to be managed efficiently. If you are dealing with a Company, make sure that they have a dedicated Estates Department handling their estate matters.
(If you would like a summary of the procedure followed in winding up an estate, please go onto our website at http://www.proactivewillsandestates.co.za and send us a request. We will gladly send you our Estate Summary).
IS THE PERSON APPROACHABLE?
While you need to know that the person is competent, losing a loved one is a traumatic event and dealing with a Call Centre, or with someone who is difficult to get hold of or who doesn’t call you back, can add to your stress. Finding the right person is usually a ‘gut-feel’ decision that you will make, depending on your initial interaction with the person.
P.S. A note on price. Please bear in mind the old adage that “you get what you pay for”. Would you trust your car in the hands of the cheapest mechanic?
Finding the right executor to work with is an equally important decision. A competent executor should offer a turn-around time of approximately 9 – 12 months (since COVID this has extended to approximately 16 months) to wind up an estate – you don’t want it to drag on for years. You should be kept in the loop and receive progress reports on a regular basis, and you should feel free to contact the executor should you have any concerns or queries. If you can answer yes to the above questions, then you have found the right person.
If you think an expert is expensive, try an amateur. Anonymous.
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