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Executors of a Will & Choosing Executors

Make a Will Online

Executors are the name given to the persons appointed in a Will to manage the estate for the Person who makes the Will. Executors do not have to agree to be named beforehand and can decline to act if they want to. Executors are usually chosen because they have a close relationship / friendship with the person making the Will and are usually willing to help and act as Executors.

Executors may also become Trustees of any Trusts which are created in the Will. During the lifetime of a Trust, the Trustees can retire from their roles and new Trustees can be appointed.

Choosing your Executors carefully may well be one of the biggest gifts that you can make to your heirs. Good decisions made by Executors can reflect financially, for example on the amount of tax paid on the estate, or affect the speed with which the estate is dealt with.

Most people making a Will say that they want to leave everything clear and simple, and that they don't want their family 'falling out' after their death. But sadly, fault lines have a tendency to appear at such times as on death.

Things to consider when appointing Executors

Honesty and conscientiousness are important. It's often good practice to appoint more than one executor and ideally they should get on.

They need to be able to make decisions about financial and other matters, in the interest of the beneficiaries as a whole.

They need to have the time and the inclination to deal with paperwork, the extent of which should not be underestimated.

What Executors have to do

The grant of Probate has to be applied for by way of an interview at the probate registry, and not by post (unless a solicitor application, see below).

Sometimes investments have to be dealt with urgently due to market volatility, or selling a house for a price that all the beneficiaries are happy with can involve large amounts of time.

There can be a considerable volume of administration such telephone calls, emails etc to all family members with updates.

The Executors you appoint also need the ability to recognise when they need to take professional advice. This is particularly important with regard to questions of valuations and inheritance tax.

Legal points

The Executors also need to pay close attention to detail, and realise that they're dealing with legal issues that aren't always straightforward. The answers may seem obvious, but law and tax have never been areas where common sense prevailed.

Most people think in terms of appointing their beneficiaries as Executors - often their wife, husband, civil partner and children. Try to ensure they get on, but if not, try asking a neutral member of the family, or a friend, to be an Executor.

Professional Executors

Another option is to appoint professional Executors, whose fees are often based on a percentage of the value of the estate and are payable out of the estate.

There are many different types of professional Executors, but glossLegal would only suggest dealing with solicitors or accountants. There are many 'unprofessional Executors' who have no qualifications which could result in money being lost! Different professionals charge in different ways but, as the broadest rule of thumb, 1% to 4% would not be unusual.

Only solicitors, and trust corporations, currently have the ability to make probate applications by post. Solicitors alone are governed by rules which limit their fees to what is fair and reasonable, and also have full professional indemnity and compensation scheme.

Probably the main area where professional Executors can help is in being detached, so that they can make decisions - sometimes difficult ones - in the interests of the beneficiaries, without having any vested interests themselves.

Making a Will Online

It is very important that your family know that you have made a Will and where it is kept, keeping a note of where insurance policies, share certificates or the deed of the house are, and the telephone numbers of your solicitor, accountant or financial advisor will help.

Read more Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) >

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this site is not legal advice, but general information on legal issues commonly encountered. GlossLegal is not a law firm and is not a substitute for a solicitor or law firm. GlossLegal cannot provide legal advice. Please note that your access to and use of the GlossLegal website is subject to additional terms and conditions. GlossLegal is the trading name of Enterprisexchange Limited registered in England, United Kingdom under Company Number 3803556.