An executor is the person or organisation you chose to administer your estate and carry out the wishes in your will. When writing your will deciding who to appoint as your executor is a big decision.
Many family and friends are happy to act as an executor; however, choosing a professional executor to administer your estate has many benefits.
My colleague Ben previously discussed ‘Why you should consider a professional executor’. Like Ben I too have come across estates where the administration has been difficult and protracted due to appointing an unsuitable executor.
The main benefits are:
- Responsibility When a loved one passes away it is a very difficult time for family and friends. There is a lot to manage when administering an estate and it is a very responsible role. A professional executor can relieve family and friends of the burden of administering your estate. Further, if an estate is not administered correctly the executors can be held personally liable for any claims brought against the estate.
- Expertise A professional executor will have the necessary expertise to deal with your estate. There can be many complex matters during the administration of an estate such as sorting out the deceased’s tax affairs, selling a property and managing investments. By appointing a professional executor, your beneficiaries can be reassured that all matters will be dealt with correctly.
- Impartiality Unfortunately, tensions amongst family members and friends are common. This can cause difficulties in the administration of an estate especially if, for example, siblings do not get on and one of the siblings is appointed the executor. A professional executor can ensure that all matters are dealt with impartially and in the best interests of the estate. Further, if any of the beneficiaries have any queries, as stated above, the executors will have the necessary expertise to answer those queries.
- There will always be someone available to act If a friend or family member is appointed as your executor, and at the time you pass away your executor is unable or unwilling to act then the Non-contentious Probate Rules governs who will act as your personal representative. This may fall to someone who you would not want to administer your estate. Further, if they act inappropriately it will be a very difficult and drawn out process for your beneficiaries to remove the personal representative. Therefore, appointing a professional allows you to retain control. Further, if you appoint a solicitor’s firm or trust corporation to act on your behalf, there will always be someone who is capable of stepping into the role as your executor.
- Costs Some people may be concerned about the costs when appointing a professional executor. However, administering an estate is a complex process and even if a friend or family member is appointed it is likely that they will appoint a solicitor to act on their behalf. Therefore, the costs associated with appointing a professional executor or appointing a friend of family member are much the same.