WHO CAN BE AN EXECUTOR OF A WILL?
Anyone aged 18 or over can act as an executor of a Will. The only caveat is that you should choose those who are comfortable and capable of taking on the responsibility.
We find that for most of our clients, their affairs are sufficiently complicated to justify a professional executor, although most people also choose their spouse, partner, adult child, friend or close relative to act on their behalf. It’s worth noting that your executor can be a beneficiary in your Will; they don’t have to be impartial.
It’s good practice to have two executors, one of whom should be a professional, although up to four are legally allowed. Having two offers good ‘cover’ if one is unable to act or passes away before you’ve updated your Will, whilst removing the difficulties of having too many people involved. A professional executor will have specialist knowledge to ensure your estate is looked after and help remove some of the burden from your family. It’s worth noting that some of the documentation which executors might face is extremely daunting; the forms related to IHT top more than 100 pages alongside a similar number of pages of notes! Specialist software can be a big help, although the costs can be prohibitive for if you have specified a family member or friend as your executor.
SERVICES FOR EXECUTORS
We have worked with many families over the years to provide a range of services for executors. These include:
When administering an estate, it can be useful to set up an executor account which can hold payments that are due and distribute funds to beneficiaries. A professional executor will ensure that any necessary accounts and surrounding paperwork are managed professionally and securely. We hear a wide range of examples about how cooperative or otherwise banks are in opening such accounts. This is only likely to worsen as the regulation of financial services deepens over the years. Whilst we cannot offer banking services outside of those we act for, we have very streamlined arrangements.
REMOVING A PROFESSIONAL EXECUTOR
If you’ve named a professional as one of your executors it may be that, when the time comes, this choice is no longer relevant or appropriate. This might be for a number of reasons, including the fee involved, disputes between your beneficiaries and executors or concerns with how the professional executor is acting. Any dispute can create even more distress at what is a difficult time already, and it may be in the best interests of all involved to replace the original professional selected If they are willing to step aside graciously.
The best way to manage this is to hire another professional to take on the responsibilities of this task. This will save your other executors significant time and effort and keep the interests of your estate in focus.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT PROFESSIONAL
It is important to choose a professional executor who is properly capable of managing your affairs. Many high street probate practitioners’ services are not used to seeing overseas assets in multiple jurisdictions, which is not unusual for many of our clients. Likewise, matters involving foreign domicile may be rare for UK high street probate practitioners, whereas for us it is mainstream.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
We aim to offer a very personal service to beneficiaries and executors. Our friendly, professional and knowledgeable team can help provide guidance on selecting an executor, or act as one if needed. With many years of experience our experts are able to offer support with the day-to-day administration needed to properly deal with your estate.
To discuss your estate plans please contact your nearest office.