Can a solicitor be an executor of a will

Can a solicitor be an executor of a will

‘Can a solicitor be an executor of a Will?’ is a common question, and the short answer is yes.

The testator may have already appointed a solicitor as the executor in their Will.

However, appointing a solicitor can be wise if lay executors feel they need professional support.

Whilst it can be tempting for friends and family to deal with an estate for cost-saving purposes, the risk of letting a non-legal professional handle the estate can be even more costly.

This can be costly, both financially and in terms of family relationships. Appointing a solicitor to handle the administration can mitigate this risk, as they understand the law and provide an impartial estate distribution. 

Why Choose a Solicitor as Executor to Support You?

The reasons to choose a solicitor as a professional executor depend on how comfortable the current executors are with administering the estate, the risks they take, and the complexity of the estate.

Undoubtedly, being an executor is also very hard work, and private individuals give up their time for free, even though the risks to their liability are significant.

Beneficiaries might not want to sacrifice some of their inheritance to pay a professional. On the other hand, asking a family member or friend to do the work for free can be unfair.

So, appointing a solicitor can be a wise move for several reasons:

  • Support During a Difficult Time: Losing a loved one is hard. A solicitor can handle the estate while your family grieves.
  • Handle any conflict of interest: If an executor has a conflict of interest, a solicitor can ensure decisions in the best interests of the beneficiaries are made at all times.  We have written a post about avoiding executor conflict of interest that might be of interest.
  • Complex Estate: A large or complex estate can be overwhelming. Solicitors have the legal knowledge to handle it smoothly.
  • Specialist Probate Solicitors: Can reduce the liabilities for personal representatives and other lay executors because of their professional expertise. Not all solicitors specialise in probate, so it is essential to choose one that does. They will follow the right processes, such as ensuring tax is paid correctly, identifying and resolving problems early, and administering the estate compliantly.  
  • Expert mediators: Solicitors can mediate between family members or deal with third parties in the event of a dispute.
    • This helps keep you as the Executor out of the ‘firing line’ and can make it easier to resolve conflicts quickly.
  • Reduce claims against the estate: A probate solicitor can ensure that claims such as for Will disputes and lack of financial provision by disappointed parties not benefitting under a Will are monitored and insured against.
  • Distribution of estate funds: They will ensure that the identity of beneficiaries is appropriately established and that there are no impediments to handing over funds, such as a bankrupt beneficiary.

If you are wondering about how much a solicitor costs check out our post, ‘How much do Solicitors Charge for Probate?‘.

You can find a solicitor on the Solicitors Regulation Authority Website. But make sure they specialise in probate, as not all solicitors provide the same service and expertise.

ConclusionCan a solicitor be an executor of a will?

Choosing a solicitor as a professional executor offers valuable peace of mind for all involved.

They can ensure your wishes are carried out efficiently and minimise the burden on the family during a difficult time. Consider discussing this option with a solicitor specialising in probate law to determine if it’s the right fit for your situation.

But don’t also forget to ensure that suitable insurance is arranged. If the solicitor isn’t doing this as part of their service, the other executors need to.

If an unoccupied property is in the estate, the existing insurance is usually insufficient and may leave the executors open to liabilities for underinsurance. It is advisable to arrange specialist probate house insurance as soon as possible.

To understand all liabilities for the executors and risks to the beneficiaries, plus the insurance policies available to you, check out our executor insurance guide.

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About the Author

Rob Faulkner CEO of Insuristic

Hi, I'm Rob, CEO and Founder of Insuristic. My mission is to make insurance easier to understand and buy online.

I hold an Advanced Diploma in Insurance (ACII) which demonstrates I have a solid technical understanding of Insurance and have committed to continuous professional development. I am also a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute and hold the a Chartered Insurance Broker status.

Over the last 27 years, I have worked for insurers, insurance brokers and insurance technology businesses, specialising in product, sales and marketing.

You can find out more about me on my author page.

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