Writing a Will and choosing executors

When making a will, one of the most important decisions that needs to be made is who to appoint as executors. Being an executor involves a lot of responsibility and work so it is important to make sure that the people you ask are able and willing to take on the task. It is a role with considerable obligation and some personal risk, so you need to make sure you choose wisely.

Your executors are responsible for dealing with your estate, which means collecting in all the assets, paying off all the liabilities and expenses, dealing with all the paperwork formalities including HMRC, settling the inheritance tax and any other tax liabilities and ultimately ensuring that the right people inherit the right part of your estate at the right time.

"Any number of executors may be appointed but only a maximum of four are able to apply for the grant of probate. The grant of probate is the official document that confirms your executor’s appointment and enables them to progress the administration of your estate in accordance the terms of your Will," explains Wills & Tax Solicitor Malky Chaloner.

Your executors can inherit from your will but are not paid for undertaking the role, unless they are professionals such as solicitors or accountants, in which case the fees come out of the estate before it is distributed. If your estate is likely to be complicated, or you can’t find anyone willing to undertake the role, it may be a good idea to appoint a professional executor such as a solicitor. Similarly if there is likely to be a dispute, or perhaps the terms of the will won’t match your family’s expectations, then having an impartial, professional executor will help progress the estate much more easily. Solicitors are unburdened by the emotional side of your death, and their judgement will not be clouded by personal views on how the estate could be distributed differently from the way the will is drafted, and therefore can dispassionately progress matters. This leaves the family to grieve, concentrate on the personal side of matters and if things turn sour, argue, with each other but without holding up the administration of the estate.

Our Wills & Tax Team, based in Christchurch, also cover Bournemouth, Poole and the New Forest. For a free initial chat, please call 01202 499255 and Malky or a member of the team will be happy to discuss any questions that you may have.