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Appointing Executors

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Home / Appointing Executors

An executor is the person you have appointed in your Will to be responsible for handling your estate and ensuring that your wishes are carried out after you die. Usually you would appoint more than one executor.

On this page: 

The duties of an executor

Being an executor involves the following responsibilities:

Choosing your executors

It is important to choose the people you appoint as executors with care, since their job involves a great deal of work and responsibility.

You should always approach anyone that you are thinking of appointing as an executor to see if they are happy to take on this duty, as there are long-term responsibilities involved, particularly if you include trusts in your Will. If someone is appointed who is not willing to be an executor, they have the right to refuse.

When considering who to appoint as executors of your Will, you will need to look for people who:

Here are some possibilities:

* Using one of the last four options will incur charges. For more details, see Using professional executors.

Using professional executors

Some people when making their Will decide to use professional executors. Doing so brings the advantage of having one's estate administered by an experienced expert, but also incurs fees which must be paid out of the estate.

There are different types of professionals that you can appoint as your executors. They are:

  1. Solicitors - With this option, your estate would be administered by someone with relevant legal experience and expertise. The solicitor's fees would be paid from your estate.
  2. Accountants - Likewise, your estate would be administered by someone with professional expertise in financial matters, and the accountant's fees would be paid from your estate.
  3. Banks - Many banks offer an estate administration service. Fees vary, and are usually higher than those charged by a solicitor or accountant.
  4. The Public Trustee - The Public Trustee is a government official who has the power to act as an executor, if appointed in a Will, or as an administrator when a person dies intestate. The Public Trustee's fees are fixed by the 'Public Trustee (Fees) Order 1999', and amended every few years.

For more information, contact:Public Trustee 81 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1DDTel: 020 7911 7127

Email: enquiries@offsol.gsi.gov.uk 

How many executors?

While it is permissible to appoint one executor, it is better to appoint two or more, so that if one of your executors dies before you do, the surviving executor(s) can take on the responsibility. Here are some points to consider.

Changing your executors

In some circumstances it may become necessary to change your appointed executors, for example:

You can change your appointed executors in one of two ways:

  1. By writing a codicil.

  2. By writing a new Will.

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