Making a will is something that lots of people put off doing, but it’s an essential part of estate planning. Your will is key to ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes when you pass away and without a will, your assets will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy. Not having a will can cause several probate disputes among family members too.
There are several things to consider when you’re writing a will and arguably one of the most important decisions you need to make is who you’re going to appoint as an executor. Below we have explored the role of an executor in more detail and looked into who people typically choose for this big responsibility. We have also touched on why professional lawyers, like Gillhams, are often chosen as executors of a will.
What is an Executor?
An executor is a person you appoint to carry out the wishes in your will. They are responsible for handling the practicalities after your death and ensuring your estate is distributed according to your wishes. This role often includes tasks such as;
- Gathering and valuing a deceased person’s assets
- Paying any debts, bills or taxes owed
- Distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries in the will
Being an executor is a significant responsibility and it can be quite stressful, especially when there are disagreements about assets following a person’s death. This role requires time, effort and a good understanding of legal and financial matters.
Common Choices for Executors
When writing your will, you can choose who you want your executor to be and there is nothing in the law that dictates who an executor should be. Typically, people will choose someone they wholeheartedly trust to act as their executor. Commonly, this person is a spouse, adult child or close relative. On some occasions, close friends will also be chosen, especially when they have the skills or background to manage a complicated will effectively.
It’s worth noting that you can also appoint professionals, such as lawyers or accountants to be an executive, and this can be a popular choice. Having an experienced professional manage your estate when you pass away offers several benefits and we will go into these in more detail.
Having Multiple Executors
Many people don’t realise that you can actually appoint up to four executors. Having more than one executor allows responsibilities to be distributed when handling post-death matters and it takes the pressure off just one person. For instance, one executor can ensure the assets are correctly valued while another deals with inheritance tax. Having multiple executors can be particularly useful for large or complex estates.
However, if you decide to appoint more than one executor, it’s important to choose people who can work well together. When executors don’t get along or have different opinions, it can cause unnecessary frustration and upset when you pass away, making the process of handling your estate much more complicated than it needs to be.
Appointing Professional Executors
While friends and family are common choices, there are some compelling reasons to consider professional executors like law firms. Our expert team at Gillhams are frequently asked to be executors of a will and our clients trust us to handle their will when they pass away. Lawyers can manage complex legal and financial matters efficiently, relieving the emotional burden from family members. Here are some key benefits;
- Expertise – Professionals are knowledgeable about estate administration, probate laws and tax regulations. They will ensure the estate is handled correctly and efficiently.
- Impartiality – Probate lawyers can act as neutral third parties, which is particularly useful if family conflicts arise during the probate process. They can focus on ensuring your estate is distributed in line with your wishes at this difficult time.
- Time and Effort – Being an executor of a will can be time-consuming. A professional can devote the necessary time to manage the process diligently.
If you’re considering appointing a professional executor, Gillhams offers specialised services tailored to your needs. We will ensure that your estate is handled with utmost care and professionalism, and our experience will add real value.
Speak to a Probate Lawyer in London
All in all, choosing the right executor is an essential aspect of creating your will. Whether it’s a trusted family member, friend or a professional lawyer like the team Gillhams, it’s essential to make an informed decision. Remember, you can appoint up to four executors and you can discuss your thoughts and opinions with those closest to you before making your decision. Take your time, consider your options and choose wisely to ensure that your wishes are honoured.
If you would like to speak to a probate lawyer in London about writing a will in more detail, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team at Gillhams. Our experienced probate team can provide comprehensive assistance when you’re writing a will, making it easier and less stressful to make the right decisions. You can have peace of mind that in addition to providing expert legal advice, we also offer sound guidance. We understand the importance of a will that clearly states your wishes and we can ensure even the most complex wills are correctly drafted.