EXECUTOR. An executor is the person appointed in a will by the testator to pay his debts and distribute his assets, according to the instructions in the will. Ills duties are practically the sanie as those of an adminis trator, except that an administrator settles the deceased's affairs according to law and an executor settles them according to the terms of the will.
When a customer is deceased, a banker should not allow the persons named in the will as eXecutors to withdraw, or transfer, the balance of the deceased's account, or to deal with any securities left in the hands of the banker by the deceased, until Probate has been exhibited. When Probate has been seen, it is customary to transfer a credit balance to the executors' account by a cheque signed by the executors. If the deceased's account is overdrawn, it must be paid off by the executors in such manner as may be arranged. The banker cannot him self transfer, from any account which the executors may have opened. an amount to clear off the overdraft on the account of the deceased. A specimen of the execu tors' signatures should be obtained in the signature book.
If executors open an account in their private names it is treated as an ordinary joint account, and if one person is to sign cheques the usual authority must be ob tained. But if the account is opened as, for example, " Executors of John Brown, John Jones, R. Smith," it is held by some authorities that either of the may, in the absence of an arrangement to the contrary, draw cheques upon the account without any written authority from the other. It is, however, customary in some banks, and is a desirable practice as it pre • vents any misunderstanding, for a form of authority to be signed by each executor, when the account is opened, stating exactly in what manner and by which executor or executors cheques are to be signed. If an authority states that two executors arc to sign, any cheque which is signed only by one of them would not, of course, be in order. It is not usual for an authority to be given for someone who is not an executor to operate on the account.
If a banker receives notice from one executor that cheques must be signed by all the executors, he must carry out the instruction.
When securities, of safe custody articles, belonging to the deceased are withdrawn, it is desirable that all the executors should join in the acknowledgment, or in the request to . deliver to one of their number.
An infant cannot undertake the duties of an executor.
On the death of a sole or sole surviving executor (say, of the estate of John Brown), his executors carry on the duties of the executorship, but if there is no will then letters of administration require to be taken out for John Brown's estate, and an admini strator dc bonis non is appointed by the Court.
When an indorsement upon a bill is by an executor it is usual for his banker to confirm such indorsement.
With regard to shares which a deceased person may have held. his executors are liable as executors for any calls which may I be made, but they are not liable personally I unless the shares have been actually trans ferred into their names. If the shares still continue in the deceased's name the divi dends may be paid to the executors, and that may be done without rendering the executors personally liable.
An overdraft is frequently required for the purpose of paying probate duty before probate has been granted. In such cases a banker regards the loan as being made to the parties in their private capacity. He should, however, ascertain that the persons making the application are the executors nominated in the will and also satisfy him self generally as to the nature of the estate and the contents of the will. In order to avoid any misunderstanding as to liability, a guarantee by the executors is often taken.
Money cannot be lent to an executor so as to bind the general estate of the deceased. An executor, however, has power (unless ' forbidden in the will) to pledge specific assets belonging to the estate. Unless a banker lends on the personal liability of the executors, he should obtain a proper charge from the executors upon some of the de ceased's securities. If there are several executors, a mortgage or charge may pro bably be sufficient if signed by one of them, but it is desirable, and customary, that they should all join in signing such documents. A banker should peruse the will before accepting the security.