What is the role of an Executor ?

Appointing an Executor

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, 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 who 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. Countrywide, if appointed at outset charge only 1.5% of the value of the estate and VAT, and disbursements.

Choice of Executors

They all have advantages and disadvantages which need to be considered in the light of the circumstances.

You should take into account the following:

Where professionals are chosen as Executors, they may be appointed as individually named persons or as a firm. Executors like Trustees, are in a fiduciary relationship so they cannot make a profit out of their office. They may only claim out of pocket expenses. Therefore, a charging clause must be included, authorising them to charge for all work done by the Executors or their firm in administering the estate.

There is no legal objection to a Beneficiary being appointed as an Executor where he or she is the sole Beneficiary, or where the estate is small or uncomplicated.

Understanding the role of an Executor

An Executor has to carry out certain tasks and duties in order to legally fulfil the obligations of the task. As an Executor you should therefore:

A key consideration for you will be the extent to which you wish to involve professionals to help and support you in this role.

Countrywide can deal with the administration of the estate if you so desire. In addition we have a professional duty of care to explain clearly in advance the basis of our charges, so you know what to expect.

If you are considering asking someone to serve as the Executor of your estate, be sure you understand the duties and responsibilities of being an Executor. Being the Executor of an estate is not really an honour; it’s a difficult, and time consuming job, and that carries personal legal liability. An Executor will probably work long, hard hours for at least a year or two getting your estate settled and they could quite possibly be a very unpopular person to your heirs.

Making a Will enables you to plan exactly what will happen to your property (estate) following your demise. This ensures that those you would like to benefit actually do so, in accordance with your wishes and at the same time avoiding any disputes between relatives.