The executor of your will has an incredibly important job. They’ll be the one to finally wrap up your affairs, sending your money, property and belongings to your heirs.

So, your executor should be trustworthy and well-organised. But who should you go with? Here’s our guide to choosing an executor for your will.

 

What does an executor of a will actually do?

The executors of your will are in charge of carrying out your wishes. They settle your debts, pay your taxes, and make sure that what’s left goes to the people you’ve chosen. If there are disagreements, they find fair solutions.

The job takes time. Most executors spend more than 20 hours sorting out an estate. One in ten spend over 100 hours. So, they need to be willing to put in the work.

Executors also have to manage serious admin: things like calculating the value of your estate, sorting out the tax due, and keeping a detailed record of all the transfers and transactions along the way.

The key takeaway here? A good executor is honest, patient — and very well-organised.

You can make a legally binding will online for just £90 here on the Beyond site. Quick and easy, it takes 15 minutes to settle your affairs and protect your family. Find out more here.

 

Who can act as executor of a will?

Here’s what you need to know before you decide who should be the executor of your will.

Anyone over the age of 18 can be the executor of your will.

You can choose up to four executors. But it’s better to go with just one or two, as it’s not easy for four people to work together on an estate. With two, you can be sure one will act if the other isn’t able to when the time comes.

Contrary to popular belief, an executor can be a beneficiary in your will. In fact, a lot of people make their partner or child one of their executors.

You don’t need to name a professional as your executor. But probate services or solicitors are a good option if you want to take some of the stress and burden away from your friends and family. They can handle the difficult paperwork easily, and take on liability, protecting your loved ones.

If an executor makes a mistake when settling the estate, they’re liable for that mistake. Complicated estates are therefore often best tackled by a professional.

 

How to choose an executor for your will

If you’re not sure who to choose as executor of your will, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who do you trust to follow your wishes?
  • Will they treat the other beneficiaries fairly?
  • Will they have the time and energy to settle your estate?
  • Are they well organised, good with paperwork and finances?

The good thing about being able to choose more than one executor is that they can split their tasks up.

So, if you trust your partner, but don’t know if they’d be good with the paperwork side of things, you could choose them as an executor plus a probate professional. Your partner could handle the personal side of things while the professional takes care of the admin.

 

Choosing an executor from your friends and family

It’s fairly typical to make someone close to you one of your executors. Many people choose their partner or children.

If this is your preference, be sure to ask them first! Being an executor can be stressful, and it’s a big responsibility.

When deciding who should be named executor of a will, it’s worth bearing in mind that your close family may well struggle to settle your estate while they are grieving.

Emotions can run high at this time, and the executors of the estate sometimes take the brunt of it. You could consider someone a bit more distant (but still trustworthy) instead.

 

Choosing a professional executor for your will

A professional executor will tackle the difficult paperwork and admin of administering your estate, so that your family doesn’t have to.

This can:

  • Ease any stress and worry
  • Protect the family from liability
  • Limit the inheritance tax bill
  • Prevent arguments
  • Settle the estate more quickly
  • Ensure fair, unbiased treatment
  • Prevent mistakes on a complicated estate

If you choose a professional executor, they will take their fee from your estate when the time comes. This might be:

  • An hourly fee
  • A percentage of your estate
  • A fixed fee, quoted up-front

If you choose a family member to be an executor as well as a professional, they can ask the professional to step down if needed.

 

Making Beyond your executor

Beyond offers a fixed-fee executor service with prices starting at just £495. Our experienced team has helped thousands of families like yours. We’re quick, professional and friendly.

We offer a flexible service, so that your family will only pay for the things they actually need help with. And we can do anything from tackling tricky tax paperwork to rehoming pets. Find out more here.

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