An executor is an important job.  It is the person or persons you nominate to carry out your wishes left in your will.  The executor(s) will be in charge of your estate, organising it as per your instructions and they will do their best that your wishes are followed – as long as lawful. 

Your executor should be the person(s) you feel most comfortable taking on this responsibility.  It could be a family member: a sibling, a son or a daughter for example, or could be a good friend. 

Another option is a professional service.

  • A solicitor
  • A will-writing service
  • A bank
  • Accountant

There are two ways to look at this, and then there’s also the financial element to consider – meaning what a professional service will cost your estate when it comes to taking your estate through probate.

Many people choose a professional service, however, who writes your will does not have to be executor of your will. Be careful as some professionals will push to be made executors of your will or even add themselves without asking the question. This can cause big problems after death, as it is so difficult to remove unwanted executors from a will.

A professional executor is also normally extremely expensive – many charge an hourly rate or work on a percentage of what your estate is worth – or sometimes a mix of both.

Financial-savvy family member
it’s a good and no-fee option to choose a family member. The automatic thought might be your spouse or partner, but discuss it with them and your close family, as while your spouse is dealing with your death, maybe a sibling, child, niece, or nephew might be a better choice to lessen or share the burden.

Solicitor, bank, accountant –even with fees incurred
charging for their time or a percentage of your total estate that’s written into your will – this may be the best option for you. If your estate is complex and you don’t have a family member that could handle the burden of paperwork, legal and tax issues around it, then this option is best.

As a ballpark of costs, an estate worth £500,000 at the time of your death, this could end up costing around 4%, so £20,000.

If you don’t have anyone who can be an executor

If there is nobody who can be your executor, there’s a government official called the Public Trustee who will do it.   However normally, where the Public Trustee will step in is if your will leaves everything to one person, for example, your child or an adult with a disability – essentially where a person isn’t able to act as executor himself or herself. 

Also Read: Why wills are important