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Choosing the right executor is probably one of the most important decisions you need to make when preparing your will, and can ensure the accurate and prompt settlement of your estate with minimal family friction.





Three 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.


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.


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 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.





Article provided by:

Proactive Wills and Estates


  • W H Steyn says:

    What fee does an executor charge?

    • Neville Lichtenstein says:

      They can charge 3.5% plus Vat – was 3.99% and now 4.03%. However you can negotiate – I paid 1.75% on my late parents Estates

  • Sandy Knevitt says:

    Hi there
    My 80 year old mom just past away with no assets and 1 x small policy of R35,000. She has a typed up document as her Will and 2 witnesses.
    I have Power of Attorney for her Medical Aid and ABSA accounts.
    There is a funeral policy linked to her Account but ABSA needs an Executors letter.
    I do not know who the beneficiary is of her policy.
    There is no appointed Executor.
    What do we do?
    Kind regards
    Sandy (Daughter)

    • Marilynh says:

      Dear Sandy

      YEI is trying to find out a response for you. We will advise you once we have heard back from our contact.

      Kind regards
      Marilyn, YEI Editor

    • Marilynh says:

      Dear Sandy

      We have sent you an email with response from the author. We trust that this will assist you.

      Kind regards
      Marilyn, YEI Editor

  • Ellenor says:

    Is it safe to let a bank be the executor of an estate, is small amounts of money are involved

  • Pauline Bongers says:

    Dear Ellenor
    Thank you for your enquiry.
    It is quite safe for the bank to handle an estate. However, for the smaller estates if the total assets are under R250 000,00 the Master will let you do it yourself and it will not cost you anything. So in these cases it is best to nominate a family member in the Will – then you can just go direct to the Master and report the estate and lodge all the necessary documents. We do help clients to do this at a fee, as it is quite challenging dealing with the Master’s office, but there is nothing stopping you going direct.
    If this does not cover your query fully, please feel free to contact us directly.
    Paula (Bongers)
    073 217 2644
    021-5511741 W

    P.S. We will be closing over the holiday period from 20 December, reopening on 2 January 2020.

  • Pete says:

    Can I nominate a beneficiary of my will as executor?

    • Marilynh says:

      Dear Pete
      Your enquiry has been sent on to Proactive Estates and Wills for their response.
      Regards, the YEI team

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