What does it mean to be the executor of a Will?

How are executors of a Will appointed?

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Welcome to our web page on Will executors, this will help to advise you when you have written a Will, who you should appoint as an executor and what it will mean to be the executor of a Will and what duties you will have if appointed.

What is the role of an executor of a Will?

An executor of a Will, shall be responsible for administration an estate and take legal responsibility to follow the wishes in the Will of the deceased. If you have been appointed as an executor it is advisable to get specialist legal advice as there a number of different obligation which you will have and this can be confusing and time consuming at such a difficult time so getting help will give you a peace of mind at a difficult time.

Appointing an executor of a Will

When writing your Will you will need to consider who you are going to appoint as your executor. You can either appoint an individual, for example a family member or professional executor, this means that you can appoint a solicitor to be an executor of your Will. The executor will need to be over 18 years old.

We generally advise that you appoint two people as an executor of a Will, although you may appoint up to four. This is in case one of them can’t act as an executor due to ill health or if they die before you or they decide that they are no longer willing to be an executor, therefore you will always have two people to rely on. This means they will share the responsibility for administering your estate.

One of the most important things to consider is whether you trust the person to honour your wishes which are stated in your Will. Also, you may want to consider who you think will be able to handle the legal and practicalities of administering an estate. We also advise that you speak with whoever you are considering and make sure they are willing to act as your executor. When creating your Will, it may be best to discuss your own situation so that your solicitor can advise on who may be the most appropriate person.

What happens if I no longer want to be the executor of a Will?

If an executor doesn’t wish to act for whatever reason, they have several options available to them so that they don’t have to. An executor may renounce their position or have the power reserved to them, if they wish to no longer carry out their duties. If somebody renounces their position this means they have given up the role. However, having the power reserved means that you will not have to act if they wish to but can act at a later stage if they change their mind.

If you renounce, a formal deed of renunciation is required. This must be signed and sent to the probate registry. This should be done before they start administering an estate as otherwise it may be said they have intervened in an estate, so if you are unsure, it is best not to get involved in administering the estate until you have decided what you wish to do. If you are thinking of doing so we can help and give you specialist advice. If there was only one executor this means somebody would have to apply to become administrator of the estate.

Instead of this you may want to have your power reserved, this means that you can reserve your right to act as an executor later if there are other executors who can act instead. Any executor who isn’t applying will be served with a “notice of power reserved” which is a formality to state to the person that they are applying for the grant of probate. When receiving the grant, it will be in the acting executors name with a note that they reserve that power to act. This is a lot more flexible than renunciation as it means that they can change their mind easily, although this can only be done if there are other named executors who are willing to act. This may be helpful in a situation when one of the executors lives abroad making it difficult for them to sign all the paperwork required without it delaying the process.

Another option would be to appoint an attorney to act on your behalf, this will mean that you need to appoint a power of attorney. To read more on this please click here.

You can also remain as the executor however you can engage the assistance of professionals such us ourselves to help you throughout the process, we can do the work for you and will work hard for you.

Professional executors

This may be preferential especially if you have a complex estate as they will have special knowledge of probate so will be aware of the issues which may arise and will know how to deal with the matter. This will relieve the responsibility from your family members and friends in a very difficult time and reassure your family that everything is being done correctly and giving them peace of mind. If there are any tensions between family members, the professional executor will act impartially and do everything that is in the best interests of the estate. This will take the liability away from them as if anything in administering an estate is done incorrectly, they may be found liable, this will therefore help to reassure you.

However, if you choose not to appoint a professional executor, your executor will still be able to get legal advice at any stage of the process to help give their expertise if they are unsure of anything. If you would like any further information on professional executors, please call us for a free no obligation chat and we can answer any queries you may have.

Can I change the executor to my Will?

You can change the executor at any time you wish by rewriting your Will.

If you require any further advice on appointing executors when writing your Will or what you need to do once appointed as an executor, please give us a call free on 0800 3 10 11 12 or telephone 01536 276300 and ask for Adrian or Mandy at our Corby office or 01536 311690 and ask for James or John at our Kettering office or contact us online. We are known as the “friendly professionals” and will work hard for you.

Adrian Chambers - Seatons Solicitors

Probate & Estate Specialists

I’m Adrian Chambers and I specialise in Probate and Estate matters. We at Seatons are known as the friendly professionals, we aim to provide clients with an outstanding legal service.

We will help and support you and most importantly we work hard for you.

If you need help in obtaining probate and/or administering a loved one’s estate, please click here for further information.

Please contact me for a free, no obligation chat on 01536 276300 or contact me online.

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