None of us like to confront our mortality. One thing that makes us do so is deciding on the distribution of our estate as we write our will. What do we leave, and to whom? Appointing executors, however, can seem less important and we might see it as almost an afterthought. Once we’re gone, our problems are over, and it is the executors who will have to deal with everything – so it’s crucial that we choose the right people.

The banks have recently been criticised for appointing themselves as executor and then charging substantial fees for administering the estates. The Law Society issued a practice note in 2011, which requires solicitors to provide their clients with the information necessary to make an informed choice of executor and the costs of appointing them.

As consumers, we are becoming increasingly cost-conscious and these days are much less likely to use solicitors or a bank as executor to our will.

Who should be executor?
An executor should be willing to take on the role and competent to carry it out. In some cases, it will make sense to appoint lay executors – perhaps beneficiaries and / or family members, if the administration of the estate is going to be straightforward.

However, if things are likely to be out of the ordinary, a professional executor will bring detailed knowledge of the law surrounding the administration of the estate and will be highly accustomed to dealing properly with the problems that can crop up.

What sort of professional?
Look carefully at what’s on offer: what will they charge to administer the estate come the day? What if the professional’s services aren’t required after all – will they step aside? Solicitors are not obliged to do so. Is there a charge for taking on the role of executor? Or just for administering the estate? What about fees for acting as trustee of any trusts contained in the will?

Anyone offering themselves as a professional executor should:

  • Make no charge to be appointed as executor
  • Be competent and have a demonstrable track record
  • Guarantee to step aside on request without charge at any time before the estate administration begins
  • Carry professional indemnity insurance
  • Offer a suitable will storage facility

S J Drury & Associates do all the above.


For further information or assistance, please contact us via:

  Telephone: (01529) 306005 or
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