1st February 2024
Selecting an Executor in your Will
An Executor is a person you appoint in your Will who is tasked with the responsibility of administrating your estate. It is by no means an easy role and imposes a personal liability on the Executor should they fail to carry out the role correctly.
Given that even the most straightforward estates can become complicated, it is vital that you have selected the right person or people.
See below for some helpful pointers:
- While a maximum of 4 Executors can apply for a Grant of Probate, decisions will need to be made jointly and thus it may not be practical to appoint this many.
- Executors do not have to be UK-resident, although it is beneficial. Choosing someone you trust will do the job properly is more important than choosing an individual who you do not feel is capable simply because of their residency.
- Executors can be a beneficiary under your Will. Please note: while an Executor can act as a witness to your signature, beneficiaries cannot. A beneficiary who acts as a witness forgoes their inheritance.
- It is a good idea to appoint more than one Executor in your Will to account for unforeseen circumstances. This may be achieved by way of appointing replacement Executors should your original Executor be unable or unwilling to act. It becomes problematic when the only Executor appointed has predeceased you, as there are additional costs and delays which could be avoided had a backup been appointed.
- It is common to appoint family members as Executors, especially your children. If, however, you are concerned that your children will not work well together in administering your estate and disagreements will occur, it is wise to appoint another individual who can act impartially. In addition, if you are excluding a child from your Will, you may wish to appoint someone other than the child who is inheriting to act as an Executor.
- Appointing a solicitor is advantageous as they have knowledge of UK law and the probate process. They will also be able to handle disputes in an appropriate way. Whilst a solicitor will charge for their services, they will also be able to ensure appropriate exemptions/ allowances are claimed to keep tax bills to a minimum and complete the process in an efficient manner.
We at Buss Murton Law know there is no one way to select Executors and it is very much dependant on the individual’s circumstances. Please contact our friendly Private Client team who are on hand to discuss your Will and choice of Executors. Wills are not a one size fits all and a well drafted Will can make your Executor’s role easier.