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Laceys top 5 benefits for appointing a professional Executor in your Will

20th November 2019 by Lee Goodwin

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An Executor is the person or organisation appointed in a Will to administer the Deceased’s Estate. which in doing so, gives them a great deal of power and responsibility.

An Executor also faces a significant amount of risk, as they may end up being held personally liable for any financial loss arising from their negligence (honest or otherwise) during the course of an Estate administration. It is therefore extremely important to ensure that you make the right decision when choosing who to appoint as your Executor.

People will commonly appoint a trusted member of their family or friends to act as their Executor, however, appointing a professional Executor to administer your Estate can have many benefits, the top 5 of which we have detailed below.

1. Expertise

There can be many complex aspects involved in administering an Estate, particularly when it comes to dealing with issues such as inheritance tax, capital gains tax and income tax.

A professional Executor will have the necessary expertise to deal with these issues in a competent manner, as well as knowing ways to help reduce the potential tax burden on your Estate.

By appointing a professional Executor, your beneficiaries can be reassured that the Estate administration will be dealt with as competently and efficiently as possible.

2. Impartiality

Regrettably, disputes amongst family members and friends are common, and often never more so than after a bereavement.  Disputes between Executors, or between Executors and beneficiaries, can make it very difficult to administer an Estate efficiently and are likely to result in additional costs and delays, and possibly even litigation.

The appointment of a professional Executor will ensure that the provisions in your Will are implemented impartially, efficiently and in the best interests of your chosen beneficiaries.

3. Protecting your family from responsibility and burden

Following a bereavement it can often be a very emotional and difficult time for family and friends.  There can be a lot to manage and many important decisions to be made during the course of administering an Estate. Often this kind of responsibility is the last thing that a bereaved family member or friend will want to assume at such a time.  Also, as mentioned previously, an Executor can be held personally liable for any financial loss arising from their negligence when administering an Estate.

The appointment of a professional Executor therefore serves to relieve your family and friends of the burdens inherent to such an appointment.

4. Ability to act

If you appoint a friend or family member as your Executor they may die before you, or be unwilling or unable to act as your Executor for some other reason when the time comes. If you have not appointed a substitute Executor in your Will then the law will determine who is entitled to administer your Estate and you will lose control of this important decision.

If you appoint a professional Executor you minimise this risk.  Even if the firm that you have appointed as your professional Executor has been taken over by another firm prior to your death, the successor firm will typically be entitled to act as your professional Executor in its place.

5. Expense

A common misconception amongst people making a Will is that it will be too expensive to appoint a Solicitor to act as their professional Executor.  Whilst it is likely to cost a minimum of a few thousand pounds, when considered as a percentage of the overall value of an Estate (as one would when paying an Estate Agent’s commission in connection with the sale of your property, for example), the cost of appointing a professional Executor often proves to be very reasonable.

Indeed, the appointment of a professional Executor can actually end up saving an Estate money in the long term, as it commonly ensures that the payment of tax is kept to a minimum, as well as reducing the risk of mistakes being made, or litigation ensuing, which would otherwise end up proving costly.

In closing, whoever you select to appoint as your Executor, it is imperative that they are capable of acting responsibly, impartially and with the necessary level of expertise and diligence.

If you are interested in finding out more about appointing Laceys to act as your professional Executor, please contact one of the Solicitors in our Private Client Department.  They will be able to advise you fully as to the possible costs involved and will be delighted to assist you in relation to the preparation of your new Will.

Lee Goodwin

Associate — Private Client

Direct dial: 01202 377856

Email

  • “I was very impressed by the manner in which Lee and his secretary dealt with me during a difficult period following the loss of my mother.”

    Mrs Sandra Budd

  • “I was extremely happy with the level of service provided by Lee in relation to the preparation of my new Will, and I believe that Lee is everything that a good solicitor should be.”

    Mr Michael

Lee is an Associate Solicitor in our Private Client department and advises clients in relation to Will drafting, Administration of Estates, Trusts and Estate Planning, and Powers of Attorney.

Lee is an Affiliate Member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and he has been awarded Advanced Certificates in the Administration of Estates and in the Administration of Trusts.

Outside of work Lee’s interests include cricket, kayaking, natural history and photography.

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