How to choose an executor for the winding up of your estate

Choosing and nominating an executor for your estate in your last will and testament is an important decision because that person will be responsible for carrying out the provisions of your will. This includes settling debts, paying taxes, and distributing your assets to your beneficiaries.

How to choose an executor for the winding up of your estate

When determining who a suitable executor of your will could be, it helps to keep the main duties of an executor in mind and to ensure that they tick the boxes.

It is also important to note that, should the person you nominated not be a professional executor (i.e., an accountant, attorney, or trust company) they will not be allowed to act as such without the support of a professional executor. 

The main duties of an executor of a deceased estate are

  • Taking control, protecting, and transferring the deceased assets as per the last will and testament.
  • Taking care of all the legislative requirements.
  • Paying all debts and administration expenses from the estate.
  • Ensuring that the final income tax returns are lodged and that all taxes are dealt with.
  • Distribution of the assets in the estate.

To ensure that these duties are executed efficiently, you should look for the following attributes in the person you nominate as executor.


One of the most important qualities to look for in an executor is, of course, trustworthiness. This person will have access to your assets and will be responsible for making sure that your wishes are carried out. You should choose someone who is honest, dependable and is known for their integrity. There have been cases where executors have defrauded beneficiaries of their inheritance, so electing someone with a proven track record is important.


Your executor will need to be available to carry out the duties of the position, which may include communicating with lawyers, accountants, and other professionals, as well as going to the Master of the High Court to communicate with the Master’s staff if necessary. You should choose someone who has the time and availability to handle these responsibilities. Many people nominate a capable family member without considering the onerous time burden this places on them, often leaving them unable to effectively execute their duty.

Financial knowledge

Your executor will, among other things, be responsible for managing your assets, paying off debts, lodging a full liquidation and distribution account with the Master, and ensuring that your beneficiaries receive their inheritance. It is important to choose someone who has financial knowledge and experience, or who is willing to work with professionals who can assist them in these areas.

Communication skills

Your executor will need to communicate with your beneficiaries to explain the terms of your will and answer any questions they might have. They may also need to communicate with creditors or other parties who have an interest in your estate. Choose someone who has strong communication skills and is able to explain complex legal and financial matters in a clear and concise manner.

Family dynamics

When choosing an executor, it is important to consider your family dynamics. If you have a large family with multiple beneficiaries, choosing a family member as your executor may lead to conflicts of interest or perceived favouritism. In some cases, it may be best to choose a neutral third party, such as a lawyer, financial advisor, or professional institution to serve as your executor.

Age and health

Your executor should be someone who is likely to outlive you and who will be able to carry out the duties of the position. It is important to choose someone who is in good health and who is not likely to predecease you or become incapacitated.

Why should Capital Legacy be a preferred executor of your will?

The answer is short and sweet. We tick all the boxes mentioned above, concerning trustworthiness, availability, financial knowledge, communication skills, family dynamics, age, and health. We also have over 150 dedicated estate practitioners countrywide, ensuring that your estate is in safe hands and will be executed professionally and efficiently.

Capital Legacy has its own panel of in-house conveyancing attorneys and tax practitioners, which speeds up the different processes since these functions don’t have to be outsourced.


An executor is the person or company you trust to execute your estate according to your wishes when you have passed away. An executor is usually nominated in a last will and testament.

As the wills people, it makes sense for Capital Legacy to draft your last will and testament and be your executor. You can also opt to make Capital Legacy co-executor along with someone of your choice. 

Contact us for a complimentary consultation or speak to your financial advisor.

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or the power of all three, we have got you covered.