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Advantages and Disadvantages of Appointing Lanyon Bowdler to act as Executors in your Will

Published on 22 Jul 2022

Lanyon Bowdler are often asked by clients to act as executors in their Will.

It is important you are aware of both the advantages and disadvantages of appointing a professional executor, in order to make an informed decision about the appointment and its related costs. Below is a non-exhaustive list of the advantages and disadvantages.

You have a choice of appointing either a professional, a lay person (such as a family member or friend), or a professional executor. A beneficiary in your Will may be an executor. It is not compulsory to appoint Lanyon Bowdler as your executor when you instruct the firm to prepare your Will.

A lay executor may engage the services of a professional to assist with the administration of the estate.

However, there are often circumstances where a professional executor is in the best interest of both you and your estate. This will depend on the constitution and complexity of your estate and those who will benefit under the terms of your Will.

Advantages

  • Your estate will be dealt with professionally in accordance with the law. The team at Lanyon Bowdler have years of experience in administering estates in an efficient manner.
  • Your executors will act impartially between all beneficiaries. Any family conflict can be managed fairly, as Lanyon Bowdler are not personally involved. An appointment of a less robust lay executor may be problematic where there is an overbearing beneficiary or where one executor is likely to dominate and overrule the other.
  • If the estate is contested, Lanyon Bowdler have a specialist Contentious Probate team who can advise the executors.
  • The role of an executor can be complex and time consuming at what can be a very difficult time for family and friends. Lanyon Bowdler can remove the worry and strain from lay executors.
  • An executor is personally liable for any negligence in an estate. This may cause concern for a lay executor about getting something wrong. If something goes wrong, your beneficiaries would be insured against any financial loss due to Lanyon Bowdler’s professional indemnity.
  • The team at Lanyon Bowdler would have worked with you drafting your Will. You can be assured that we will carry out your wishes in your Will.
  • The team have years of experience which will mean the executors understand the “legal jargon” in the Will.
  • The administration of an estate involves the consideration of tax implications in an estate, such as income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax. Lanyon Bowdler can advise any tax planning opportunities to ensure your estate is distributed in the most tax efficient manner.
  • The team would be able to offer advice to beneficiaries on Deeds of Variations if they wish to vary their entitlement in the estate. This can be used as a tax planning strategy for the beneficiary
  • If a Trust is created in your Will, the trustees can obtain up to date advice from the firm’s specialist Trust team on whether the Trust needs to be registered at HM Revenue & Customs, along with their ongoing legal responsibilities.
  • The executors will have access to Lanyon Bowdler’s panel of trusted professionals to assist in the administration of an estate; such as accountants, independent financial advisers, tracing agents, genealogists, estate agents and clearance companies.
  • If a lay executor dies before you, who deals with your estate may be out of your control.

Disadvantages

  • Where a professional executor acts they will be entitled to charge for services under the terms of your Will. Generally, a lay executor would not charge. However, Lanyon Bowdler provide clear and transparent information on their charging structure. The charging structure does vary from time to time. Our costs for probate and administration services are advertised on our website and we encourage you to review these before making a decision on the appointment of executors in your Will.
  • Circumstances may have changed from when you prepared your Will. The reasons why you appointed a professional executor at the time of your Will may no longer be relevant, eg. the size and nature of your estate, family dynamics or locality. Under these circumstances, your family may ask Lanyon Bowdler to renounce as executors. A professional executor is not required to do so. However, Lanyon Bowdler will consider whether, at the date of death, circumstances have changed and what is now in the best interests of the estate.
  • Professional executors are often not personally involved in your affairs prior to date of death. They may not be aware of your financial affairs and family situation. However, Lanyon Bowdler do recommend you leaving a comprehensive asset and information schedule with your Will. Lanyon Bowdler would also work together with your family, friends and attorneys to ensure they have this information at the outset of the administration of the estate.

With some executorships, there may be a continuing role for the executor to act as a trustee. This could lead to ongoing trustee fees.

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