In choosing an Executor the following is relevant.  

Firstly it is best to take someone who is younger than you for the simple reason that they should outlive you.  Someone who is older than you or the same age, even though these are the people you may trust in your daily life, may not be as good a choice.  Ideally appoint two Executors.  This doubles the chances of one of them outliving you to carry out your wishes.  Sometimes people appoint a professional advisor such as a Solicitor.  We recommend this in particular cases if you think there will be a dispute in relation to your affairs after your death.  At least the independent Solicitor has no family involvement and simply can apply professional expertise to the task.

In working out who to appoint they will clearly need to be people who you can trust.  If you have family this may be the most organised person in the family.  We have seen cases where the eldest son was appointed the Executor but for reasons best known they did not carry out their duties and left the rest of the family without the benefits which they were entitled to under the Will.  This very often leads to an application to the High Court to take that person off as Executor and appoint another Executor.  You should bear in mind that the person appointed is practical and can “get the job done”.

The role of the Executor is to deal with the administration of the Estate.  This will involve identifying the assets owned by you at the date of death.  They will deal with any tax queries that may arise, close bank accounts and sell properties or investments.  In most cases the work involved is not very complex.  The two tasks are to bury the dead and gather the assets. The CA24 Form for Revenue purposes has to be completed and signed.  Executors are traditionally given one year called an “Executors Year” to administer the Estate.  With the use of technology by the Irish Probate Office usually most straightforward Estates can be administered in less time.  

Wills should be reviewed on a regular basis so the identity of the Executors can change over time.  Remember an Executor is also allowed step back from dealing with the administration of an Estate if they wish to allow other Executors to act however they can only do this at the start of the administration and cannot change their mind half way through.

Finally if a Solicitor is appointed as Executor together with a member of the family then that Solicitor should insert a clause entitling them to be paid for any work on their behalf and also they should never witness the Will.  It is best to get two completely uninvolved witnesses to witness the signature when signing and dating your Will. 

If you are appointed an Executor you can only claim out of pocket expenses .However if you take time out of you daily work to administer the estate it is reasonable that some payment for this should be made by the estate.