29th April 2020
One of the first things we will ask you when discussing your will instructions is ‘who would you like to appoint as your executor?’ This question requires a lot of thought and is one of the most important parts of your will. Here, we will try and simplify the questions which you may have regarding executors.
What does an executor do?
An executor has a legal responsibility to administer the estate as per the terms of your will. They will need to value all your assets, pay any inheritance tax and apply for a grant of probate. Once they have grant of probate they will then have to distribute all your assets in accordance with your instructions.
The executor may also have to organise your funeral, pay any debts, deal with any claims and keep a detailed record of all the money in and out of the estate.
Who can I appoint?
You can appoint any friend or family member who is over the age of 18 (if they are under 18 then we can include a clause that will allow them to be your executor should they turn 18 before you pass away). We highly recommend checking with the people you wish to name before naming them to ensure that they would be happy to act as your executor.
It is a common misconception that you cannot name beneficiaries as executors – you can! Even people named within your will are able to be your executor.
We recommend that people think about family or friends when decided who to appoint.
It is also useful to think about the ages of the people you intend to appoint. We don’t recommend you choosing people who are older than you and may pass away before you. However, this is still your decision and everyone’s circumstances are different.
How many should I appoint?
We recommend appointing more than one executor. If you only wish to appoint one then we recommend appointing some replacement executors who can step in and act should any of your executors be unable to act, for example if they have died first or if they are unwell and unwilling to act.
If you are appointing more than one executor it is important to consider whether the people you have named get along. You do not want to have two executors named who do not get along – it is often an already upsetting and stressful time as they will likely be dealing with their grief whilst acting as your executor.
The maximum number of executors who can act and obtain probate is 4.
Should I appoint a solicitor as my executor?
You are more than welcome to appoint Battrick Clark to act as executors – we would appoint two directors of the firm to be your executors. We have a great deal of experience when it comes to acting as executors and therefore, if your estate is tricky it may be worth thinking about appointing us.
If you think there is potential for any claim against the estate then it is the role of the executor to handle that claim and therefore it may be worthwhile appointing a solicitor so that they have the knowledge to deal with the claim.
As mentioned above acting as an executor can often be a difficult time, your family and friends will be dealing with their grief. Solicitors are less likely to make mistakes in these upsetting times as they would remain neutral, without the emotional tie.
If you were to appoint Battrick Clark as executors we are entitled to claim our costs for acting. The way in which we charge will be explained to you if you decide to appoint us, however, our fees may change over time and if your assets change. We will fully advise your family of our estimated costs when we begin work and we take our fees from your assets once we start to collect them in.