What is the role of an Executor?

Being the Executor of an estate is not really an honour…

  • Being an executor is a difficult and time consuming job.
  • The role carries some legal liability.
  • Relatives may be too distressed to perform the role.
  • Decisions could make them unpopular with beneficiaries.

You should choose an executor to carry out your wishes, as stated in the will. Executors can be beneficiaries under the will and often people appoint their spouse, civil partner or children as executors. Check with your proposed executors that they are willing to take on this role before naming them in your will, as it can involve considerable responsibility.

Consider naming more than one executor in case one dies before you. It may also be easier for the executors if there is more than one person to share the work and the responsibility. The executors may have to deal with any day to day administration of your estate in the period before it can be distributed. Executors can claim from the estate for expenses incurred in carrying out their duties. If the estate is large or complicated, there may be advantages in appointing a professional executor. A professional executor such as solicitors, accountants or bank managers will charge between 3 and 5% of the value of the estate for the work that they do and often an hourly rate in addition to this. Our Legal Partners charge only 1½ % with all fees and disbursements disclosed in advance of any work being undertaken.

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