Recently I was contacted by a former client who is the Executor for a relative who had sadly passed away.

He had contacted the relative’s solicitor to ask them to deal with the probate, but after two weeks, no one had called him back.

When he contacted me, I confirmed that an Executor is under no obligation to use the probate services of the solicitor who drew up the Will, unless the solicitor’s firm is an Executor.

The client was very pleased that he could instruct me, and he is now getting the help and advice that he needs.

Being willing and able to respond quickly when the worst happens is not just the hallmark of a good solicitor, it is one of the qualities we all need in our own Executor.

But how else can you decide who best to appoint?

Who Should Be The Executor Of Your Will?

Deciding on who you should appoint as an Executor(s) can be a very difficult choice.

The responsibilities you will be bestowing upon that person(s) are huge. You will have many questions mulling over in your mind, which really only you can answer (can I trust this person to carry out my final wishes?)

There are, therefore, many qualities an Executor needs to have including:

  • trustworthiness;
  • fairness;
  • and an ability to withstand pressure from anyone who disagrees with your final wishes.

Consider the task that faces your Executor.

Will it be easy for your Executor to ascertain what is in your estate? Are your finances complex? Is your paperwork in order? Are your beneficiaries likely to come into conflict with each other or with your Executor? Is there someone not included in your Will who might challenge it?

Appointing An Executor For A Will

I recommend that you discuss your answers with your Executor and check that they are still happy to fulfil that role.

If they are still happy, consider whether you should include a gift of money to them in your Will.

A lay Executor is only entitled to reimbursement of expenses, not any payment for the time involved.

In particular, if your Executor is not also a beneficiary, it is quite usual to include a gift to the Executor as a thank you and to reflect the many unpaid hours that the Executor will need to put in.

If you would like to review your existing Will, or if you are an Executor and want to know more about what you will need to do when the time comes, why not book a free initial appointment with Stephen Sampson or Jess Riseborough?

You can contact the Private Client team using the details below.


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