Who can be an executor of a Will?

There are a lot of decisions to make when creating your Will. A key question that is often asked is who can be an executor of a Will?

Friends or family members

So, who can be an executor of a Will? Most people tend to think their executor has to be someone they know, either a friend or family member.

However, there are other choices. After all, it’s understandable why some people choose not to burden a relative or friend with the job of dealing with their estate after their death. It can be a ‘poisoned chalice’ for some.

Executors have to contend with paying the right amount of tax to HMRC or dealing with potential claims from dissatisfied members of the family.

The alternative: A professional executor

A good alternative to who can be an executor of a Will is to choose a professional executor. This could be your lawyer or someone else who knows your affairs, such as your financial adviser or accountant.

There are a number of situations where a professional person might be appropriate. For example, when the estate administration is expected to be complex, or where a family dispute is anticipated. For other people, without trusted family or friends, it is their only option.

Here at Astle Paterson, we always discuss the options with our clients when it comes to choosing a suitable executor.

Pitfalls of a professional executor: What to watch out for

Unlike at Astle Paterson, some Will writers use underhand tactics to get themselves appointed as executors of the estate. This secures the legal work and fees when the client passes away.

Some of these firms have included a clause in their terms of business which automatically appoints the firm as the executor in the Will. Many of these firms will charge a percentage of the value of your estate when it comes to dealing with things after your death. This could work out to be excessive if the estate is low in value or quite straightforward to deal with.

Following professional practices

Our professional body, the Law Society, issued guidance some time ago. Their advice set out what should be a solicitor’s practice when discussing the appointment of a professional executor with a client. We follow this guidance, which requires us to explain the options to our clients.

We ensure that if a client does choose us or another professional executor, then they are aware of the potential cost implications.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority is now taking this a step further. They will require all solicitors dealing with estate administration work to publish clear information about their services and costs on their websites from December. The Solicitors Regulation Authority’s aim is to help consumers make an informed choice about which firm they choose to help with an estate.

Accordingly, we will be publishing full details of our estate administration services and fees on our website in December.

Do you need guidance on who can be an executor of a Will?

If you need advice on making your Will, we offer a free 30 minute Will Review Consultation. Our expert solicitors can advise you on your Will and help you to choose the right executor for your estate.

To find out more about our Wills & Probate services, please take a look at our services to learn more about what we can do to help you organise your Will.

You might also be interested in our video Wills, your commonly asked questions answered.

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