14th JULY 2022
Naming an executor is an important part of the process of writing your Will. This person will take on a great responsibility following your death, so it is important that you pick someone who you trust and who can handle this duty.
While many people choose to name someone who they know and trust as their executor - such as a close friend or family member - it is sometimes recommended that you hire a Solicitor or professional Executorship Service to handle your estate following your death. This article will explain the benefits of these options to help you decide.
What is the role of an executor?
The executor of an estate is responsible for handling the estate administration following the death of the person who wrote the Will. This usually means applying for a grant of probate and distributing the assets to the beneficiaries named in the Will. However, this role is often a lot more complex than that.
There are a huge number of tasks that must be undertaken by the executor, particularly in the case of complex or large estates. These responsibilities might include selling property, paying off liabilities, closing bank accounts, accessing pension funds, claiming on life insurance policies, distributing gifts and assets to the beneficiaries of the Will, and much more.
Choosing someone you know as executor
You can choose whoever you want to be your executor, but it is highly recommended that you choose someone that you trust. While they have a duty to follow the instructions laid out in your Will, they do have the ability to make some decisions regarding the distribution of the estate. If you pick someone who you trust completely, you can rest assured that your estate will be distributed in the way you have outlined.
For this reason, many people choose to name their spouse or children as the executor(s) of their Will. It is entirely possible and very common for the executor to also be a beneficiary of the Will.
However, it is also helpful (though not necessary) to choose an executor who is good with paperwork and has some basic legal knowledge. Probate is a complicated and time-consuming process and many people find themselves unable to understand the jargon or keep up with the timeline. This is why it is sometimes recommended that you choose a legal professional to act as executor, rather than a close friend or family member.
Hiring a professional
While it is more expensive to hire a professional to handle your estate for you, it is an option well worth considering to avoid what could be an immense pressure for your loved ones.
Many people choose to hire a Solicitor, bank, or a probate service such as Kwil to act as their executor following their death. This means that the Solicitor or organisation will take on the responsibility of acquiring a grant of probate and administering their estate.
If you decide not to hire a professional to handle probate for you, your appointed executor still has the option to pay for a Solicitor or probate service following your death.