To will or not to will (2)


The executor is the person appointed in a Will to attend to the affairs of the testator after the testator's death. The executor is the person entitled to take out a Grant of Probate in the estate of the deceased testator. From the date of death the executor can issue proceedings and enter into contracts to sell property. However, the executor cannot get judgement or sign a deed transferring property until the Grant of Probate has issued.


It is advisable that you ask a person(s) you trust to act as executor. You do not have to tell this person that you have appointed them as your executor. However, it is prudent to do so, to ensure that the person you are choosing is willing to act. He or she cannot be compelled to act as executor simply because you have appointed him or her to be your executor. However, once an executor accepts his appointment as executor and a grant of probate issues, he cannot resile from his responsibilities as executor.

You can appoint a family member to be your executor. A trust corporation can be appointed. It is not advisable to appoint anybody under the age of 18 years. A professional person such as a solicitor or an accountant can be appointed.

A person who is mentally incapable of managing his own affairs will not be allowed extract a grant of probate. Therefore, you should not appoint as your executor a person who himself does not have testamentary capacity.

In some cases it may be wise to appoint more than one executor.


In short, the executor must extract a Grant of Probate and administer the estate of the deceased testator. The duties of the Executor commence on the date of death of the testator. The duties of an executor last for life.

From the date of death the whole estate of the deceased testator passes to the Executor.

It is the duty of the executor to dispose of the deceased testator's body.

In reality, the family of the deceased testator attend to this.

The executor must arrange valuations and protect all assets in the deceased testator's estate.

The executor must ascertain what the liabilities of the estate are.

The executor must ascertain the identity of all beneficiaries.

The executor must extract the Grant of Probate.

The executor must pay the debts of the estate, obtain tax clearances and distribute the estate in accordance with the Will.

The executor must prepare an administration account.

While the duties of an executor are onerous, the executor is only expected to do what an ordinary careful person would do in managing their own affairs.

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