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Among the many good reasons for appointing a professional executor in your Will, having a complex estate of properties, investments, pensions, businesses or having young children rank amongst the highest.

Executors are the people you appoint in your Will to deal with the administration of your estate after your death. Typically surviving spouses and children are appointed to the role but choosing professionals, such as lawyers and accountants, to take up the role either by themselves or with others can make all the difference to your wishes being carried out properly.

Problems can arise when beneficiaries disagree or perhaps where a family member disputes the estate’s administration after death. This was highlighted recently in the courts where three brothers argued over the division of their mother’s estate, when one brother claimed he should be entitled to more for acting as a carer for his mother. All three brothers were executors and the administration of the estate stalled. In an ideal world the mother would have updated her Will as her circumstances changed to perhaps reflect the level of care that one of her sons was providing.

A similar conflict often arises where one party relies on the promise that they will be provided for on a person’s death and they act in reliance of that promise to their detriment. This is particularly common in farming families. The results of such conflicts can be costly and in the recent case referred to, costs exceeded £25,000.

Appointing a family member in the role of an executor could inflame the situation whereas appointing a professional, who can adopt a neutral position, may be the best way forward.

Professional executors will charge an estate for their services, but there can be very real and practical reasons why a professional is preferred and often the best option to take in the long term.

For more information on appointing professional executors please contact us and one of our team can help you.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.