Appointment as Executor of a Will Solicitors


Executors are the people who you appoint in your will to deal with your affairs after you have died – in particular, to implement the terms of your will. You only need one executor. Any number of executors can act together, but since they must act unanimously it could prove unwieldy to appoint a very large number of executors – and there would normally be no reason to do so. In our experience it is rare to appoint more than three executors.

You nominate your executors when you write your will. Before you actually produce your will it would be normal to confirm with them, that your choice of executor actually consents to act for you.

Your choice of executor is not effective until you actually die; before then you could change your choice by altering your will.

After you have died, your executors who are then willing and able to act, would apply for Probate of your estate, and once they obtain your Probate they would use its authority to administer your estate according to your will.

You should choose someone whom you know and trust. If you wish, then we would normally be pleased to act as your executor for you – either alone, or jointly with your other choices of friends or relatives. We are commonly elected by many clients as their professional executor, because:

1. Families and friends may carry ‘hard to handle’ relational baggage, that could make their administration of your affairs relatively more painful and difficult. In contrast, we are likely to be ‘personality neutral’.

2. Your lawyer is likely to have greater experience and expertise dealing with your affairs than most lay-people, particularly if there is anything complicated in your affairs, for example, in terms of your property, and/or the background of your estate (e.g. where family issues or disputes are possible).

3. We offer stability and continuity: it could be many years before your will is proven, and other appointments you might make could themselves fail before then, e.g. if your appointees were to die before you die. As a Trust Corporation we are going to be around, permanently. Similarly, people and the nature of their relationships might change in the future, so individual appointments could prove volatile – whereas a Trust Corporation like us is entirely stable and constant.

Executor duties and responsibilities:

  • Ascertain the whereabouts of the Will.
  • Inform all institutions where the deceased held assets of the death. All accounts will then be frozen until a grant of probate is issued or letters of administration where there is no Will.
  • Obtain proper valuations of all assets held by the deceased as at the date of death. Also obtain accurate assessments of all debts and liabilities of the deceased as at the date of death.
  • Take all proper steps to protect the assets of the deceased and to manage any business of the deceased.
  • Complete the inheritance tax returns on the basis of the information obtained, pay any inheritance tax due, obtain receipt if requested from HMRC and then apply to the Probate Registry for a grant of probate or of letters of administration.
  • When the grant of probate or letters of administration is issued, collect in the assets of the deceased, pay the debts and liabilities of the estate, transfer particular assets to the beneficiaries, pay the relevant legacies and distribute the residue to the beneficiaries.
  • Prepare detailed estate accounts.
  • Prepare and file any necessary income tax returns.

Where there is no Will, the people who are responsible for the distribution of that person’s estate (called the intestate) are usually their next of kin. They are called administrators, and their responsibilities are effectively the same as those of the executors. Instead of following what is written in a Will, they must follow rules laid down by parliament – the same rules cover who is entitled to be the administrator.


How long will it take?

The appointment is made as part of your will drafting (e.g. see our wills products Simple willTrust Will) – or another firm could draft your will for you, appointing us – or you might do so yourself. The nomination takes no time at all, and does not need to be registered, formally, anywhere.

Money Matters

Your supplier is unregulated Hargreaves Mounteney Trustee Company Limited, that does not charge VAT.

Provided there is an appropriate professional charging clause included in the will, we make no charge for agreeing to be appointed as an executor in a will as such. For carrying-out our duties under that appointment, when they arise, we would charge our standard time rates – that are currently outlined in our Price List

There is more about our fees on our website here

If you have any questions or require any further information, please don’t hesitate to Contact Us.