When creating your Will, you will be faced with the decision of who to name as your Executor(s). This blog will provide an overview of the role, the options available, and what to consider when appointing an Executor.
What is an Executor?
An Executor is a person named in a Will by the Testator (the person whose Will it is). They are responsible for carrying out the wishes set out in the Will when the Testator passes away. It is best practice to name more than one, as this ensures that there is someone to deal with the estate even if an Executor passes away. Up to four people can be named as Executors in a Will. However, there is a legal framework – known as the chain of representation – that ensures the estate will be distributed properly if an Executor dies before the process is complete.
Executors are sometimes referred to as Personal Representatives. This is an umbrella term that also includes the Administrator role; an Administrator acts on behalf of an estate when there is no Will left behind. They will be appointed according to the rules of intestacy.
Personal Representatives are responsible for probate (if required) and estate administration, meaning that they need to deal with all of the deceased’s assets, liabilities, debts, and taxes before distributing the estate to the beneficiaries.
Who can act as an Executor?
You can appoint anyone as an Executor in your Will. However, it’s worth considering that they need to be over 18 to apply for a Grant of Probate. Most people choose family members or trusted friends as their Executors, and it’s common for Executors to also be beneficiaries of the estate.
As it’s a time-consuming role that involves a lot of legal paperwork and jargon, it’s important that you name Executors that will have the capacity to undertake the necessary tasks. It’s also best practice to advise your Executors that they’re being named; this gives them the chance to let you know if they don’t feel capable or comfortable to take on the responsibility.
What is a professional Executor?
Another option is appointing a professional Executor, either solely or alongside your other Executor(s). This can be a Will Writer, Financial Adviser, Solicitor, or estate administration specialist such as Kings Court Trust.
This can be a useful option for those struggling to choose who to appoint as their Executor. It also provides you with peace of mind that your estate is in safe hands.
What are the benefits of appointing a professional?
Appointing a professional Executor can ease some of the worries that surround creating a Will. It gives you peace of mind that your estate will be dealt with efficiently and correctly when you pass away. Some of the advantages of a professional Executor are:
- Efficiency – a professional Executor will have the expertise to administer the estate competently. Your family and friends may not have administered an estate before, whereas a professional Executor will have the experience and knowledge to complete tasks as quickly as they can.
- Impartiality – disagreements between Executors and beneficiaries are very common; it’s a difficult time for those who have lost a loved one. A professional Executor can manage the estate impartially and follow the deceased’s wishes without question. They will act in the estate’s and the beneficiaries’ best interests.
- Security – appointing a professional ensures that your estate is not left without an Executor, avoiding delays in the administration whilst an Administrator is appointed.
When appointing a professional, you should look into whether they’re regulated, the services they offer, and their pricing method. Learn more about instructing a professional estate administration provider.
How much does a professional Executor cost?
It’s hard to predict what a professional Executor will charge, as it depends on their service offering at the time. There are several ways by which professionals will offer their fee. This includes a percentage fee based on the estate’s value, an hourly rate, or a fixed fee depending on the work involved.
Here at Kings Court Trust, we provide Executors with an upfront, transparent quote. Our fixed fees are based on the work involved, not the value of the estate, and we will break down any additional third-party charges.
The cost of estate administration can usually be paid from the estate if there are sufficient funds available. As well as the fees charged by your professional Executor, all reasonable expenses can be claimed back from the estate, including the probate fee, valuation services, property clearance, and more. Estate accounts will be produced by the Executor(s) and these can be shared with the beneficiaries to ensure transparency and accuracy.
Kings Court Trust is a specialist probate and estate administration provider. We can be named as a professional Executor in your Will to ensure that, when the time comes, your wishes are carried out and your estate is in safe hands with our expert team.
If you have any questions about probate, estate administration, or instructing a professional provider, call our Client Services Team on 0300 303 9000 or fill in the form below.