Choosing the right executor for your will

For most people it is common knowledge that having a last will and testament is a must, but so is choosing the right person to be the executor of that will to ensure your wishes are carried out after your death.

Your executor can be anyone you want to help manage those wishes and distribute your assets accordingly to your heirs. Choose the wrong person and it could lead to delays and other consequences, which could be costly.

The executor’s job can become difficult, as they may have to make tough decisions such as when to sell your property so that those who will inherit will receive the best outcome. They also have to:

  • Submit yourwill to probate (if probate is required)
  • Inform all institutions where you held assets of your death
  • Obtain valuations of all assets
  • Ensure the correct amount of Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax is paid
  • Ensure any debts are cleared
  • Distribute the estate in accordance with your will

It can be a complicated process so choosing someone you can trust that is organised and you know will follow your instructions and find fair solutions, especially in cases of disputes, is important.

Anyone over the age of 18 can be named as an executor, including those who are named in the will, and it is advisable that at least two people are named in case one becomes unable to act.  A maximum of 4 executors can be appointed.

Most people will choose a member of their family together with a professional, for example,  the Partners in the firm of Birkett Long.

Before naming a member of your family or a friend as an executor in your will, ask if they are happy to do it. It is a big job not to be taken lightly and can be very stressful, especially if that person is related to the deceased and is therefore dealing with their own grief simultaneously.

If a member of your family is not the right person for the job, choosing a firm such as Birkett Long will help ease the situation. Here at Birkett Long we are experienced at dealing with the legal, tax and property matters associated with wills.

Remember you won’t be around to make these decisions so it is important that you choose the right person who you feel can make these choices for you and follow your wishes.

Contact Caroline Dowding, Partner and head of Birkett Long’s Wills Trust and Probate team on 01206 217394 or email

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.