Usually when someone passes away, after a period of mourning, there is the difficult process of sorting through a will. People can dedicate their finances, worldly possessions and belongings to different people, and so the will is the only way that you can find out what belongs to you, and what has been left for other people.
Typically, the process of sorting through the deceased’s possessions can be uncomfortable. Some people try to take advantage of your vulnerability and the situation, and will try to take assets if they can.
This is why you should be aware of what an executor of a will is, who the beneficiaries are, and what happens if the executor is also the beneficiary.
What Is An Executor?
The executor of a will is the person who deals with the estate and assets of a person who has died. The executor can also be referred to as the administrator, as they will be the person responsible for dealing with the finances, estate and assets of the deceased.
The executor of a will is usually a trusted or responsible person, and this can be chosen by the deceased person before they die.
The executor will therefore have to deal with all of the intricate, difficult and awkward situations of dividing up the estate according to the wishes of the dead person, or sending the belongings of the deceased to the new intended owner.
What Is A Beneficiary?
On the other hand, you have the beneficiary of a will. The beneficiary or beneficiaries is the person or persons who is receiving the items from the will, or benefiting from the will.
For instance, when a person writes a will, they will usually name a person, or specific people who will inherit their personal property, belongings, finances and assets.
This is why there are often multiple beneficiaries, if the person has siblings or multiple children that will inherit the estate and or possessions after they have passed.
The beneficiaries will be notified after the death of the person, and it will be made clear what has been left in the will, and what the beneficiaries can expect to receive after the death of the person.
In the event of there being no will made before a person dies, then the administrator or the executor may decide and have the authority to divide up the estate. The executor is also the person who is responsible for contacting the beneficiaries, and informing them of their inheritance.
Can The Executor Also Be A Beneficiary?
This is where the gray area comes into play. Many people are under the impression that an executor cannot be a beneficiary of the will, but this is actually untrue.
An executor can legally be a beneficiary of a will or estate, however it is important that the executor does not witness the will as they will not be entitled to receive any inheritance or possessions under the terms of the will.
It is actually not uncommon for an executor to also be a beneficiary, as many people choose a spouse to be the executor, and deal with the finances and will themselves.
Of course, being the spouse of a deceased partner, you would also be entitled to the estate and any of their possessions and belongings that they wish to leave to you.
In other cases, the executor may be a trusted close friend or relative to the deceased person, and therefore could also be a beneficiary in the case that they have been left some items or assets from the deceased.
Some people may feel uneasy with an executor being a beneficiary, as it raises the issue of greed, or some people may be worried that they would allow themselves to benefit more from the dividing of the assets. However, an executor of a will cannot take everything from the will unless they are the sole beneficiary.
The executor has a legal duty to act in the beneficiaries best interests, and distribute assets from the will in accordance to what the will states, and in no other manner.
What Rights Does The Executor Have?
The purpose of the executor is to ensure that all debts and taxes are paid, and the assets are cared for, before distributing them to the beneficiaries in accordance with the law. They will also need to identify everything in the estate, value the assets, apply for a Grant of Probate, and pay any funeral costs.
The executor has the right to act on the deceased’s behalf, dividing and distributing the wealth, assets and estate as stipulated in the will.