Who to Appoint as Executor in a Will
Published on 27th October, 2015 by Benjamin Li Yong Le
Choosing who to act as the Executor and Trustee under the Will is as important as making the decision to make a Will.
The Executor and Trustee is the person(s) appointed under the Will to carry out the wishes of the person making the Will ("Testator") after he has died. Legally, there is a distinction between an Executor and Trustee. However in practice, they are the same person and we will simply use the term "Executor" here for this purpose.
The Executor is the person who will look for a lawyer to obtain probate of the Will (i.e. a Court Order to approve the Will so that the banks, insurance companies, CDP and HDB etc will release the money or assets).
After probate is obtained, it is the Executor who will have to bring a certified true copy of the Grant of Probate to the banks, insurance companies, CDP and HDB to collect the monies to put into an Estate Bank Account before distributing to the beneficiaries. It is also the job of the Executor to go to HDB to effect the transfer of the ownership of the HDB if the Testator gives away his HDB flat.
We always recommended to our clients to have at least two (2) Executors in case one of them refuses to be Executor or dies before the Testator.
Executors are not paid for their services unless a clause is specifically included in the Will for him to be paid. Because of this, it makes sense for people to appoint the biggest beneficiary or beneficiaries under the Will as the Executors of the Will because they stand to gain the most and would do it for no fee.