What to Consider when Naming your Executors

In previous articles we've talked about how important it is that everyone has a Will and we often refer to your Executor or Executors; the person or people you have chosen to carry out the instructions laid out in your Will and ensure your wishes are carried out in a timely and efficient manner.

The importance of choosing the correct people to be your Executors

The role of the Executor/s is incredibly important carrying with it both a legal responsibility and though not always talked about, a moral responsibility too.

The role can often be complex and time consuming, so when you name your Executor/s in your Will it is important that you give careful consideration to exactly who the right person or people should be and that they are willing and able to take on the responsibilities of the role.

In this article we outline why you need Executor/s including an overview of their responsibilities and what to consider when choosing them.

Why do you have to appoint Executors?

Executors are responsible for carrying out the instructions outlined in a person's Will after their death. Below you'll find a list of the main responsibilities your Executor/s have to undertake:

  1. Legal authority: An Executor is appointed by the testator (the person who created the Will) and has the legal authority to act on behalf of the deceased.
  2. Asset distribution: An Executor is responsible for distributing the deceased person's assets according to the instructions laid out in the Will. This may involve selling property, transferring ownership of assets and distributing funds to beneficiaries.
  3. Managing the estate: The Executor is also responsible for managing the estate until all the assets have been distributed. This may involve paying debts, filing tax returns, and managing the estate's finances.
  4. Resolving disputes: In some cases, disputes may arise over the distribution of assets or the validity of the Will. The Executor is responsible for resolving these disputes and ensuring that the deceased's wishes are carried out.
  5. Applying for probate: The Executor is responsible for applying for probate if it is required. A grant of probate will give the Executor the legal authority to access bank accounts, sell assets and settle debts.

Overall, the executor plays a crucial role in ensuring that a person's wishes are carried out after their death and that their assets are distributed according to their wishes.

Who should be your Executor/s

Choosing an executor for your Will is an important decision, and there are a few factors that you need to give careful consideration to prior to making your decision.

  • Trustworthiness: The Executor should be someone you trust to carry out your wishes and act in the best interests of your beneficiaries. It's important to choose someone who is reliable and honest.
  • Availability: The Executor should be someone who is willing and able to take on the responsibilities of the role. This includes managing the estate, distributing assets, and resolving disputes. It is best to avoid appointing someone who lives overseas.
  • Financial knowledge: Ideally the Executor should have a good understanding of financial matters and be able to manage the estate's finances effectively. This may involve selling assets, paying debts, filing tax returns and keeping accurate accounts.
  • Legal knowledge: Again, ideally the Executor should have a basic understanding of the legal requirements and procedures involved in administering an estate. They may need to work with a lawyer to ensure that all legal requirements are met.
  • Age and health: The executor should be someone who is likely to outlive you and be in good health. This will ensure that they are able to carry out their responsibilities when the time comes.
  • Relationship to beneficiaries: Ideally the Executor should not have a conflict of interest with any of the beneficiaries of the Will. This means that one of your Executors should be completely independent so they can be completely impartial when dealing with the estate.

Overall, the best person to choose as your Executor will depend on your individual circumstances. It's important to choose someone who you trust and who has the necessary skills and knowledge to carry out the responsibilities of the role. You may also want to consider naming a second Executor who could share the workload or in case your first choice is unable to serve.

Can a solicitor be an Executor?

You can appoint a Solicitor to be your Executor in your Will. In fact, some people prefer to appoint a solicitor or a professional trustee company as their Executor to ensure that their estate is managed properly and that their wishes are carried out.

The parent company of Savigny, APS Legal & Associates can offer this service.

A solicitor can provide valuable legal expertise and advice during the probate process, which can be particularly helpful if the estate is complex or if there are any disputes. It's important to note that a solicitor will charge a fee for their services as an Executor, which may be higher than what a family member or friend would charge, indeed many family members will undertake the role for no fee at all.

If you do choose to appoint a solicitor as your Executor, it's important to discuss their fees and the terms of their engagement with them beforehand. You may also want to consider naming a backup Executor in case the solicitor is unable or unwilling to serve following your death.

Gaining your Executors consent

The fact that you have named someone as an Executor in your Willl should never come as a surprise to them. Prior to writing your Will you should talk to the person or people you are considering as your Executor/s and gain their consent that they are willing to take on the role.

If necessary, you can suggest they contact us at Savigny where we can help with advice and information about what the role of Executor entails.

We help many people to write their Wills and as part of the process we always check that they have asked the suggested Executors if they are willing to serve in the role. We can always help with a letter, email or phone call to make sure your Executor/s are willing to take on the role and can therefore be named as such in your Will.

Ensure you receive a kind, understanding service

At Savigny we believe that everyone should be treated with respect and kindness receiving a caring personal service. We take the time to understand your needs and provide the professional experience, knowledge, skills and accreditation to write your Will, so you can be reassured your wishes will be met after your passing.

Find out how we can help you!

Fill in the form below

Would you like to know more? Get in touch by filling out the form below to ask questions, get advice or to request an initial chat.

Captcha Code - Please enter the first word in our logo beginning with m in lower case.

Trust Savigny to help

We make writing Wills and Trusts easy for you ensuring your assets will be protected and your wishes fulfilled when the time comes.


will writers.

© 2021. All rights reserved

Savigny Consulting Ltd

Companies House registration No: 12961151

Captcha Code - Please enter the first word in our logo beginning with s in lower case.